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Source: Boat International; Chart: Axios Visuals

Superyacht builders are entering the new year with more boats on order than ever before.

Driving the news: The mega-rich (whose wealth ballooned during the pandemic) sought out giant yachts at record rates for a private refuge from the virus — and there are fresh signs it isn't letting up, per Boat International's annual report out this week.

  • "The lack of travel and the desire to isolate has been universally good for the boat industry," Princess Yachts' Will Green says in the report.

The intrigue: Companies have all but stopped building yachts on "spec" because of the wild demand. The number of boats built without owners hit the lowest level on record.

  • Those with the means will be hard-pressed to find a semi-custom yacht available for purchase before 2024 — a historic wait time as demand soars and component shortages bite.

Between the lines: The "Octopus" — one of the world's biggest yachts, first commissioned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen — was the priciest yacht sale of the year: about $260 million.

The new yacht hurdle: dwindling places to park them.

What they're saying: "We have lost sales because people could not find anywhere to keep the boat," Issy Pereira, a Florida-based yacht dealer, told Miami Today this week.

Go deeper

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.

Why 401(k) rollovers are so annoying

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you happened to change jobs recently, you may have tried to transfer your retirement account from your former employer into an Individual Retirement Account or your new employer's 401(k) plan. If so, you probably encountered a bureaucratic gantlet — and you're not alone.

Why it matters: Kludgey processes around retirement account transfers result in people losing track of their funds, giving up important tax advantages, or otherwise disadvantaging themselves and being less prepared for retirement.

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.