Mar 7, 2017

The U.S. trade deficit is close to a five-year high

The U.S. trade deficit reached a near five-year high in January, with the U.S. importing $48.5 billion more than it exported. The trade deficit tends to expand when the economy grows more quickly, so it's not surprising that we're seeing higher deficits amid brisk hiring and higher corporate profits.

Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Why it matters: Both exports and imports are on the rise, but imports are rising more quickly, reflecting a rebound in domestic demand. The White House has made shrinking the trade deficit a high priority, but it's difficult to see how it can slow the growth of imports without a significant intervention, like the border-adjusted tax, that will anger companies and customers who facilitate and demand those imports.

Go deeper

Private companies cut 2.8 million jobs in May

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Private companies shed 2.8 million U.S. jobs last month, according to a report from payroll processor ADP and Moody’s Analytics.

Why it matters: It's way less than the nearly 9 million private sector jobs economists estimated would be lost in May, suggesting layoffs during the coronavirus crisis could be slowing sooner than Wall Street expected.

The growing focus on environmental justice could influence Biden's platform

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The killing of George Floyd in police custody and protests against systemic racism are prompting many green groups to declare their support for racial justice, and one thing to watch now is how this all might influence Joe Biden's platform.

Driving the news: Even before the recent mass upheaval in response to Floyd's death, Biden said he was expanding outreach and eyeing wider plans around environmental justice, or the disproportionate pollution burdens facing poor communities and people of color.

4 hours ago - Technology

The slippery slope of protest surveillance

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump's call to treat antifa supporters like terrorists could be a green light for high-tech surveillance of dissidents.

Why it matters: It's unlikely the Trump administration can designate antifa as a terrorist group in any legally meaningful way, but the declaration gives law enforcement tacit approval to use a plethora of tech tools to monitor protesters and left-leaning activists.