The first jobs report of the Trump era shows the U.S. economy adding 227,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate edging up slightly to 4.8%.

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Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

The most important thing: The labor force participation rate is the share of Americans over the age of 16 who have a job or are actively looking for work. This number has been falling for decades, partly as a result of an aging population. The smaller the labor force participation rate, the lower the American potential growth rate.

  • Good for Trump: This measure rose by 0.2% to 62.9% — a good start for the President.
  • Bad for Trump: The measure has bounced around near all-time lows for years now, and boosting the rate, or at least slowing its decline is one of the thorniest policy goals of the day. To make matters worse, research shows that even when looking at workers below the age of 65, the U.S. lags behind peers like France and Germany in labor force participation.

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The rise in coronavirus cases in certain parts of the U.S. is stunting confidence across the country, a crop of new reports show.

Driving the news: After stalling during the previous two-week period, overall economic sentiment declined for the first time in two months, according to the Economic Sentiment Index, a biweekly survey from data firm CivicScience and Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS).

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage."
  2. Health: Mask mandates help control the rise in coronavirus hospitalizations. Hospitals face a crush.
  3. Business: Coronavirus testing is a windfall. Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. World: Putin mandates face masks.

The GOP's monstrous math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Republicans, win or lose next week, face a big — and growing — math problem.

The state of play: They're relying almost exclusively on a shrinking demographic (white men), living in shrinking areas (small, rural towns), creating a reliance on people with shrinking incomes (white workers without college degrees) to survive.