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Trump country is winning again, "at least for now," according to a new Brookings Institution report that shows counties that voted for Donald Trump are adding jobs at a faster rate than Clinton counties.

Expand chart
Adapted from a Brookings analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data; Chart: Axios Visuals

The big picture: "The 490 counties that voted for Clinton continue to massively predominate in the sheer volume and productivity of their economic activity. Together they accounted for two-thirds of the nation’s employment growth and three-quarters of its GDP growth.

  • "But during the first 21 months of the Trump administration, as people and jobs once again begin to spread out and sprawl, job growth rates in the 2,622 Trump-voting counties have gone from lagging behind those in Clinton counties to outpacing them."

The other side: "That growth hasn’t translated into pay gains," Bloomberg notes.

  • "After inflation, average weekly earnings in Trump country fell at a 0.3 percent annual rate, down from 0.6 percent growth in Obama’s final years."
  • "Workers in Democratic-leaning areas did better, with pay rising at a 0.1 percent rate, down from 0.9 percent annual gains during Obama’s last two years. Still, national data point to stronger wage gains under Trump beyond 2018."

The bottom line: Rural, red America's big picture issues — population loss, brain drain and economic reliance on commodities — are still here, waiting for the next recession to poke back up.

  • The Trump trade war threatens agriculture, rural areas and related sectors. [Map]
  • A downturn or recession would hammer sectors such as construction and fossil fuel extraction.
  • Robots are coming for the jobs thriving in Trump country. [Chart]

Go deeper:

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.