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The death of brick-and-mortar retail

Rebecca Zisser / Axios

First, it was Main Street. Americans stopped going to their neighborhood diners, grocers, haberdashers and five-and-dimes, shifting their business to big malls, and blighting the central business districts of towns and cities across the country. Now it's the malls' turn: Americans are snubbing them, and flocking to shop on-line, mostly at Amazon. Will brick-and-mortar retail survive?

More than 8,000 U.S. brick-and-mortar stores could close this year, twice the number as 2016, analysts say, because of plunging sales. Among the chief victims are retail workers: Amazon says it's adding 100,000 employees, but a multiple of that number have lost their jobs in recent years. One in 9 Americans work in bricks-and-mortar retail, almost 16 million people in all.

We asked five experts to weigh in on whether anything can stop the wiping out of brick-and-mortar retail and the jobs they support:

Steve LeVine 14 hours ago
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U.S. panics over China tech threat

A prototype C919, China's foray into civilian aviation. Photo: Qilai Shen / Bloomberg / Getty

The U.S. is experiencing a revival of Japan syndrome, harking back to the late 1970s when "Made in Japan" abruptly stopped being a source of mirth, Americans began to snap up Toyotas and Nissans in big numbers, and Detroit sank into a profit-and-jobs bloodbath.

The big picture: Five years ago, American technologists sneered at China's Baidu and its new search engine. But "they aren't laughing anymore," says Gregory Allen, an AI expert at the Center for a New American Security. "Now they are marveling at Baidu's advances in artificial intelligence."

Steve LeVine 15 hours ago
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Cars could save the TPP

VWs in Wolfsburg, Germany. Photo: Alexander Koerner / Getty

A deal on automobiles could help change Trump's mind on a key Obama policy for confronting China: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal with 11 Pacific nations, according to trade experts surveyed by Axios.

What's going on now: Trump is at Mar-a-Lago with Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, a cornerstone signatory of TPP, who is struggling politically at home and would love to pull the U.S. back into the deal.