Economy & Business

Why it matters: After a record economic expansion, the coronavirus pandemic sent the U.S. economy into a recession as unemployment soared to staggering heights. The country now faces urgent questions about how much stimulus is needed for reeling consumers and businesses, and what a recovery might look like.

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Behind GameStop's latest stock surge

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Back in focus: The meme stock trade.

By the numbers: GameStop finished up 19%, after a wild day that saw shares spike as much as 80%.

Used car prices soar

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Don't be surprised if used cars are harder to find and more expensive for years to come, auto industry experts are warning.

By the numbers: The average price of a used vehicle surged nearly 14% between January and December of 2020 — roughly 10 times the rate of inflation — to over $23,000, AP reports.

DoorDash, Airbnb beat revenue expectations in first post-IPO quarter

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Both DoorDash and Airbnb beat analyst revenue expectations on Thursday in their first quarter as public companies. Both also have significant losses, which they attribute mostly to IPO-related costs and stock-based compensation.

Why it matters: The two companies became Silicon Valley darlings amid the pandemic as they capitalized on resulting consumer trends.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
54 mins ago - Health

Sears stores find new life as COVID-19 vaccination sites

A former Sears store in Leesburg, Florida. LPhoto by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

A number of abandoned Sears locations have gotten a second life as COVID-19 vaccination centers, converted from community blights to community saviors.

Why it matters: Empty department stores can be ideal locations for mass vaccinations, given their size, central location and available parking.

AT&T spins off U.S. video business via deal with TPG

Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

AT&T is spinning off three of its video services, including its satellite TV brand DirecTV, to create a new standalone video company called New DIRECTV.

Details: The company will be jointly owned by AT&T and private-equity giant TPG. AT&T will retain a 70% stake and TPG will own 30% of the firm.

Twitter debuts subscription products to help double revenue by 2023

Photo: Cole Burston/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Twitter said Thursday that it plans to increase the amount of money it makes off of its users by allowing them to pay creators directly for content they like.

Why it matters: The company is trying to broaden its revenue stream away from being dependent mostly on ads, and particularly on ads from big brands.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Podcasts

Former presidential candidate John Delaney on his giant robot SPAC deal

Berkshire Grey, a maker of robots for e-commerce warehouses, on Wednesday agreed to go public via a SPAC led by former presidential candidate John Delaney and affiliated with the VC firm of AOL founder Steve Case.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Delaney about what the deal tells us about the future of e-commerce, low-skilled labor and SPACs.

Scoop: Insider to raise minimum salary for full-time U.S. employees to $60,000

CEO Henry Blodget. Photo: Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Insider Inc. will boost its minimum salary to $60,000 annually for U.S. employees, while increasing its minimum severance package to eight weeks, according to a memo from company executives obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: Insider has been able to dodge many of the financial headwinds from the pandemic that plagued other media businesses.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
5 hours ago - Economy & Business

America's creaky payments infrastructure is showing cracks

Federal Reserve building. Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Modern capitalism runs on a smooth global electronic payments system that works in an efficient and predictable manner. That system is beginning to show cracks.

Driving the news: The majority of the U.S. payments infrastructure came to a shuddering halt on Wednesday when a "Federal Reserve operational error" caused a whole slew of services to stop working.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
5 hours ago - Economy & Business

Carlyle snares Roger Cozzi to lead new property debt business

Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Alternative investment firm The Carlyle Group has hired Roger Cozzi from Alliance Bernstein to lead a new real estate credit business, according to an internal memo obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: This reflects how Carlyle, founded in 1987, is seeing both increased opportunity and investor interest in the asset class.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: How data and the pandemic have democratized the "high-performance lifestyle — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: Pfizer begins study on 3rd vaccine dose as booster shot against new strains — Republicans are least likely to want the coronavirus vaccine
  3. U.S. news: California surpasses 50,000 deaths COVID-19 deaths, more than any other state — Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter return to church after receiving COVID-19 vaccines
  4. Local: Public transit ridership in Twin Cities dropped 53% amid pandemic — Data firm predicts "complete chaos" in next phases of Florida's vaccine rolloutAlaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy tests positive for the coronavirus

Costco will raise minimum wage to $16 per hour

Photo: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Costco will raise its minimum wage to $16 per hour, CEO Craig Jelinek told lawmakers Thursday at a Senate Budget Committee hearing, per CNN.

The big picture: The move places Costco's base pay above competitors like Target and Amazon, CNN reports. Jelinek said more than half of the company's in-store workers are paid more than $25 per hour.

Public transit plummets in Twin Cities amid pandemic

Reproduced from Metropolitan Council; Chart: Axios Visuals

Public transit use across the metro plummeted amid the pandemic, as remote work and fear of enclosed spaces kept people from boarding buses and trains.

By the numbers: Overall ridership dropped 53% in 2020, per new figures from the Metropolitan Council.

New delivery fees hit Twin Cities customers

New fee alerts on DoorDash (left) and UberEats (right). Photos: Doordash/UberEats

At least two major food delivery apps have added new fees for customers in the Twin Cities.

Driving the news: DoorDash users might notice a $1.50 "regulatory response fee" added to their total, while UberEats is charging a $1 "temporary local fee." The increases come after Minneapolis and St. Paul temporarily capped what the companies can charge restaurants for using the platform.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
9 hours ago - Economy & Business

SEC to push companies to disclose more about climate risks

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Securities and Exchange Commission is planning to push companies to disclose more info about risks that climate change poses to their business — and signaled that tougher policies could be in the offing.

Driving the news: Allison Herren Lee, the regulator's acting chair, said Wednesday that the SEC would bolster its focus on how companies are responding to its 2010 guidance on the topic.

DoorDash says delivery drivers are earning more after Prop. 22

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Food delivery company DoorDash says that in January, its couriers in California netted on average 30% more in hourly earnings than they did in 2020 prior to the passage of Prop. 22 in November.

Why it matters: Much of the companies' pitch to voters was that Prop. 22 — which allowed gig economy firms to treat workers as contractors rather than employees — would translate to higher earnings for workers, but has faced skepticism from some drivers and critics of the industry.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
9 hours ago - Economy & Business

The digital dollar is now high priority for the Fed

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. is starting to get serious about a central-bank-backed digital currency, with recent comments from top officials laying out the strongest support yet.

Driving the news: On Tuesday Fed chair Jerome Powell told Congress that developing a digital dollar is a "high priority project for us," but added that there are "significant technical and policy questions."

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
9 hours ago - Economy & Business

Powell remains unbothered by inflation despite yields surging

Data:; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. Treasury yields rose to fresh highs on Wednesday, as Fed chair Jerome Powell made clear during his second day of Congressional testimony that the central bank had no plans to step in and put a lid on rising rates.

By the numbers: Yields on the benchmark 10-year note rose above 1.4% for the first time since February 2020 and the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond hit 2.28%, the highest since January 2020.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
9 hours ago - Economy & Business

The meme stock rally returns

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Shares of GameStop rose by more than 100% on Wednesday, with almost the entirety of the gain coming near the close of trading.

Details: Shares were halted less than 30 minutes before the market closed and the stock ended the day up 104%, the most since Jan. 29, when trading platform Robinhood restricted buying in it and 49 other stocks at the height of a market frenzy.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
10 hours ago - Economy & Business

Coinbase files to go public via direct listing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase on Thursday filed to go public via a direct listing. It includes a placeholder figure of $1 billion, but that's likely to change.

Why it matters: Coinbase could go public at a higher initial valuation than any other U.S. tech company since Facebook.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
12 hours ago - Economy & Business

Speculative crypto art market takes off

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Move over, GameStop. The newest speculative game in town is NFTs — digital files that can be owned and traded on a plethora of new online platforms.

Why it matters: Most NFTs include some kind of still or moving image, which makes them similar to many physical art objects. Some of them, including a gif of Nyan Cat flying through the sky with a pop-tart body and rainbow trail, can be worth more than your house.

Facebook says it will pay news industry $1 billion over 3 years

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Dublin with the tech giant's global affairs vice president Nick Clegg. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images

Facebook announced Wednesday it plans to invest $1 billion to "support the news industry" over the next three years and admits it "erred on the side of over-enforcement" by banning news links in Australia.

Why it matters: Facebook is following in Google's footsteps, after last October the company pledged to pay publishers over $1 billion during the next three years to create and curate high-quality journalism for its Google News Showcase.

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