Economy & Business

Why it matters: Despite murmurs of an impending economic crash, the U.S. has seen strong job growth and record low unemployment as trade wars, sweeping technological change and new media consumption habits are changing the American economy.

All economy & business stories

Updated 50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 21,056,850 — Total deaths: 762,293— Total recoveries: 13,100,902Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m ET: 5,306,215 — Total deaths: 168,334 — Total recoveries: 1,796,309 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: CDC: Survivors of COVID-19 have up to three months of immunity Fauci believes normalcy will return by "the end of 2021" with vaccine — The pandemic's toll on mental health — FDA releases first-ever list of medical supplies in shortage.
  4. States: California passes 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.
  5. Cities: Coronavirus pandemic dims NYC's annual 9/11 Tribute in Light.
  6. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  7. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.

What we're driving: 2020 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T SEL

Photo: Volkswagen

This week I'm driving the 2020 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T SEL, which sadly feels like a neglected child.

The big picture: In China and Europe, the Passat is built on VW's new MQB architecture, the automaker's modular new engineering platform. But the 2020 Passat sold in the U.S. still rides on a platform introduced in 2012.

Michigan plans 40-mile corridor for autonomous vehicles

Source: Cavnue

Michigan plans to develop a 40-mile stretch of highway dedicated to connected and autonomous vehicles between Detroit and Ann Arbor.

Why it matters: The corridor would be the first in the nation, improving transit access for people who live and work along the route.

Impossible Foods raises $200 million at estimated $4 billion valuation

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Impossible Foods, a Silicon Valley company known for its plant-based meat alternatives, has raised $200 million in Series G funding led by Coatue, with XN, Mirae Asset Global Investments and Temasek also participating.

The big picture: The funding comes just months after the company raised $500 million in March. Prime Unicorn Index estimates the new valuation at about $4 billion.

Elon Musk is channeling Henry Ford in auto manufacturing

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has spent more than a decade trying to disrupt the traditional auto industry, is sounding more and more like the man most closely associated with it: Henry Ford.

Why it matters: In his quest to build affordable electric cars for the masses, Musk is starting to embrace many of the ideas pioneered by Ford's founder — things like vertical supply chains and an obsession with manufacturing efficiency. A century ago that approach helped to popularize the American automobile by lowering the cost of the Model T.

Unemployment starts moving in the right direction

Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits is finally coming down in a meaningful way and dropping across the board.

By the numbers: Claims for traditional initial jobless claims last week fell by more than 156,000 to 832,000 while initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program declined to below 500,000 for the first time since April 18.

How small businesses got stiffed by the coronavirus pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The story of American businesses in the coronavirus pandemic is a tale of two markets — one made up of tech firms and online retailers as winners awash in capital, and another of brick-and-mortar mom-and-pop shops that is collapsing.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has created an environment where losing industries like traditional retail and hospitality as well as a sizable portion of firms owned by women, immigrants and people of color are wiped out and may be gone for good.

Survey: Fears grow about Social Security’s future

Data: AARP survey of 1,441 U.S. adults conducted July 14–27, 2020 a ±3.4% margin of error at the 95% confidence level; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Younger Americans are increasingly concerned that Social Security won't be enough to wholly fall back on once they retire, according to a survey conducted by AARP — in honor of today's 85th anniversary of the program — given first to Axios.

Why it matters: Young people's concerns about financial insecurity once they're on a restricted income are rising — and that generation is worried the program, which currently pays out to 65 million beneficiaries, won't be enough to sustain them.

SoftBank posts $12 billion in quarterly profits

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Yoshikazu Tsuno/Getty Images

SoftBank and its Vision Fund made a comeback this past quarter. But chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son has already moved on to a new project: a $550 million vehicle for investing in blue-chip public tech stocks like Facebook, Amazon and Apple.

Why it matters: This is part of Son’s ongoing plan to transform SoftBank Group into an investment company.

More economy & business stories