U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is unaware that many U.S. companies are having difficulties finding enough skilled workers to fill open positions, based on comments he made this week at the Milken Global Conference.

Reality check: Almost anywhere you look, companies of all types report sharp difficulty finding skilled workers. Dallas, Washington State, Shreveport, Prescott, wherever. They are turning to measures they have not taken in years — hiring teenagers and convicts, and paying big signing or moving bonuses.

  • One of the most demanded skills is cybersecurity technician. But there is also a dire shortage of construction workers and truckers. One problem is that companies are a lot less willing than they used to be to train workers so they *become* skilled.

Why it matters: The White House has been laser focused on growing the economy and cutting unemployment, while also proposing cuts to legal immigration. One obvious consequence of that strategy could be even further shortages of skilled labor, which is troubling if the current shortage isn't even acknowledged.

This also isn't the first time that Mnuchin has expressed an inexplicable blind spot when it comes to labor. This is from 2017:

The Treasury Department later walked back those comments, after they were met with incredulity by the tech community. But a Treasury spokesman did not respond to an Axios inquiry on his Milken Conference appearance.

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Trump's new TikTok threat

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump said twice Monday that the U.S. Treasury would need to get a portion of the sale price of TikTok, as a condition of regulatory approval.

Why it matters: This is akin to extortion — the sort of thing you'd expect to hear on a wiretap, not from the White House in front of reporters.

Ford names James Farley as new CEO amid ongoing turnaround effort

James Hackett, left, is retiring as Ford CEO. Jim Farley, right, takes over Oct. 1. Photo: Ford

Ford announced Tuesday that James Farley will take over as its next CEO, replacing James Hackett, 65, who is retiring after three years in the job.

Why it matters: It leaves Farley to complete the company's ongoing turnaround effort. The transition will be that much harder as the industry tries to navigate the coronavirus-induced economic slowdown which shuttered Ford plants for two months on the eve of some of its most important vehicle launches.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Watch the full "Axios on HBO" interview with President Trump

In this episode of “Axios on HBO”, President Trump discusses his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the upcoming election and much more with National Political Correspondent Jonathan Swan.

The interview was filmed on Tuesday, July 28 and aired Monday, Aug. 3 on HBO.