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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Updated 12 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
14 mins ago - Podcasts

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek does a podcast on the future of podcasts

Spotify on Wednesday reported significant ad revenue growth from its podcast business, as part of its quarterly earnings disclosure.

Take a listen: Company founder and CEO Daniel Ek appeared on the Axios Re:Cap podcast to discuss how the podcast business model is changing, why he's spending big on exclusive shows and his personal favorites in both podcasting and music.

Fed acknowledges economic progress, maintains supportive policy

Jerome Powell. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that the economy has made progress, but reiterated its commitment to keep monetary policy loose and stimulative.

Why it matters: The rapid economic recovery has caused the prices for some goods and services to jump, causing measures like the core PCE price index to rise above the Fed’s target for an average of 2%.

Ubisoft workers demand company accountability in open letter

Photo: Frederic Brown / Getty Images

Close to 500 current and former employees of “Assassin’s Creed” publisher Ubisoft are standing in solidarity with protesting game developers at Activision Blizzard with a letter that criticizes their company's handling of sexual misconduct.

Why it matters: Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard workers are framing the actions as part of a bigger movement meant to have lasting change in the industry and its culture.

Google offices to mandate vaccines

Photo: Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images

Google announced Wednesday it would require all in-office workers and visitors to be vaccinated and that employees could continue working from home through Oct. 18.

Why it matters: It's another sign that the Delta variant's spread is upending corporate plans for a quick and steady resumption of in-office work.

5 hours ago - Health

Pfizer raises estimate of COVID-19 vaccine sales by 29%

Pfizer anticipates manufacturing 4 billion doses of its vaccine next year. Photo: Chet Strange/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Pfizer expects revenue from the COVID-19 vaccine, co-developed by BioNTech, will reach $33.5 billion this year — a 29% jump from the previously estimated $26 billion.

Why it matters: This vaccine, which has dramatically slowed the coronavirus pandemic, is on pace to be the world's top-selling drug of all time, by far. And now Pfizer is pushing for people to get a third "booster" shot of its vaccine to combat the growing Delta variant.

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

Lenders aren't repeating their past private equity mistakes

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Bankers have a reputation for being coin-operated — eager to bend reality on behalf of high-paying clients. Unlike in past boom times, however, they're currently holding the line on contortion.

Why it matters: Private equity-owned businesses are more likely to weather an economic downturn than they were before the Great Recession, which protects both jobs and limited partner investments.

Tesla alum raises $700 million for battery recycling startup

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Redwood Materials, a Reno, Nevada-based battery recycling startup founded by Tesla alum JB Straubel, has raised $700 million at a $3 billion pre-money valuation led by T. Rowe Price.

Why it matters: Battery supply chains are coming under pressure from growing public acceptance of electric vehicles and automaker promises to switch away from gasoline engines.

The "remarkable" business investment recovery

Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Businesses are investing in themselves.

Why it matters: Core capital goods orders, or those for durable goods that aren’t aircraft or defense-related, are a proxy for business investment.

Apple needs more chips

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Apple reported quarterly sales and earnings that were far better than what analysts were expecting. But these numbers could’ve been even better if the company had access to more chips.

Why it matters: Over the past year, automakers have been the focus of the global chip shortage as these supply constraints have led to explosive prices in used cars.

Job market optimism among Americans hits 21-year high

Data: The Conference Board; Chart: Axios Visuals

American workers are increasingly optimistic about their options.

Why it matters: Employers are scrambling to find workers as demand for goods and services has been booming.

10 hours ago - Economy & Business

The rise of digital detox dining

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A growing cohort of restaurants around the world are offering a respite for tech-addicted diners: a digital detox at the table.

What's happening: Cafes and fine dining establishments alike are taking away phones to encourage customers to unplug, enjoy the meal and actually talk to one another, as if it were the 1990s or something.

Lordstown Motors buys itself some time with rescue deal

Dustin Franz/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Lordstown Motors just announced an apparent rescue deal in a gambit that layers more financial engineering into the pre-revenue electric truck maker that last year merged with a SPAC.

Catch up quick: The company is now under federal investigation for misleading investors about its preorders, and in June it said it may not be able to begin vehicle production or continue as a going concern.

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