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.

All economy & business stories

Companies turn to pay hikes to lure workers

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

More hourly workers are getting a pay bump. Thank the new war for employees.

Why it matters: To meet the demand that's only expected to get more ferocious as reopening continues, companies are having to bid up to attract workers.

Disney stock slips following Q2 subscriber miss

Photo Illustration by Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Disney's stock was down nearly 5% in after-hours trading Thursday after the entertainment giant said it brought in 103.6 million subscribers for Disney+ last quarter, versus the 109.3 million expected by Wall Street.

Why it matters: It's the first time Disney disappointed on subscriber growth since launching the service in November 2019. Disney+ grew very quickly in 2020. The company said in March it surpassed 100 million subscribers worldwide.

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Beyond Bezos, with "Amazon Unbound" author Brad Stone

Amazon today announced plans to hire 75,000 more workers, most of whom will sign on after Jeff Bezos officially steps down as the tech giant's CEO.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper with Brad Stone, author of a new book called "Amazon Unbound," about how Amazon may change, how he found the woman who voices Alexa and what Bezos will do next.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

The gender divide in remote work

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Women prefer remote work at a higher rate than men, according to a new study by the jobs platform FlexJobs.

By the numbers: About 68% of women said their preferred post-pandemic workplace would be remote, compared with 57% of men. And 80% of women ranked remote work as a top job benefit, compared with 69% of men.

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

States' fiscal windfall during the coronavirus pandemic

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Remember the massive fiscal crisis that was about to befall the states, unable to print their way out of the recession? Well, it's over before it even really began.

Driving the news: California's catastrophic $54 billion anticipated budget deficit has become a $75 billion budget surplus over this fiscal year and next.

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

ExxonMobil is perceived as more ethical than Google

Data: Axios Harris Poll 100; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Every year, Axios and Harris Poll gauge the reputation of the most visible brands in America — part of which is a survey of how ethical companies are perceived to be.

The big picture: Pfizer, unsurprisingly, has led the gainers over the course of the pandemic, seeing its ethics score rise from 58.9 in 2019 to 77.4 in 2021.

Ships stuck in Mississippi River after Memphis bridge cracks

Photo: Dukas/Christian Heeb/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

More than 700 barges are stranded on the Mississippi River after inspectors discovered a large crack in a bridge near Memphis, Tennessee, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The blockage, which closes off the biggest route for U.S. agriculture exports when at its busiest, comes as President Biden is pushing Congress to pass his $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, which seeks to improve the country's infrastructure.

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

Coinbase announces changes to employee pay policy

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The transition from fast-growing crypto service provider to mature multi-billion-dollar public company is not an easy one.

Why it matters: Coinbase is the first big company to make that transition, and has already changed dramatically as a result.

Microsoft rolls out test to improve buyers' access to consoles

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Christoph Dernbach/picture alliance via Getty Images

Microsoft is testing a better way to sell its Xbox Series X and S consoles in an attempt to make the process of buying a next-gen gaming machine less ridiculous.

Why it matters: Six months since their release, the new Xbox and rival PlayStation 5 remain extremely difficult to find, and shoppers have had few options but to frantically refresh online retail websites.

Eva Longoria to help with farmworkers mental health project

Eva Longoria speaks at the 26th Annual Critics Choice Awards. Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images for the Critics Choice Association

Actor and filmmaker Eva Longoria Bastón is lending her name to help bring mental health services to farmworkers in the U.S.

What's happening: A new program called "Healing Voices," launching this month in California and Florida, will study the needs of 100 farmworkers and determine how to bring more services to workers in the fields.

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

Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore start venture capital firm

Alex Rodriguez. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Alex Rodriguez and former Walmart e-commerce boss Marc Lore have formed a venture capital firm called Vision/Capital/People (VCP).

Why it matters: The strategy, not the people. VCP plans to build a concentrated portfolio, acquiring between 40% and 80% stakes in startups. It's antithetical to VC conventional wisdom, particularly at the earlier stages when success is tough to guarantee.

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

Pennsylvania's $64 billion teachers pension misstated investment returns

illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Pennsylvania's $64 billion teachers pension fund is under fire for misstating its investment returns.

Why it matters: The dispute impacts whether or not around 100,000 active Pennsylvania teachers need to increase their annual pension contributions.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
9 hours ago - Sports

Conor McGregor tops Forbes' highest-paid athletes list

Photo: Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Major U.S. sports leagues took a $13+ billion revenue hit in 2020, but that didn't stop the world's top athletes from earning historic sums of money.

Driving the news: A record four athletes earned more than $100 million in the past year, per Forbes' 2021 calculations, which includes endorsement deals, business ventures and salaries.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
9 hours ago - Technology

Buzzer signs with NBA, NHL and PGA Tour in quest to reinvent live sports landscape

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Buzzer, a mobile platform that wants to reinvent how fans consume live sports, has signed deals with three sports leagues — the NBA, NHL and PGA Tour — in the last several weeks.

  • In addition, the startup has hired Shirin Malkani, the former senior VP of global media distribution for the NBA, as its chief commercial officer.
  • Malkani, who helped broker the NBA's TV deals with ESPN and Turner, is an important hire for Buzzer as it navigates the complex world of live sports rights.

McDonald's raising hourly wages at company-owned restaurants

Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

McDonald's on Thursday announced it will be increasing hourly wages for current employees at company-owned restaurants, with entry-level staff eligible to earn up to $17.

Why it matters: The company said it hopes the move will attract new applicants as it looks to hire 10,000 new employees ahead of the "busy summer season."

Hertz shareholders in line for $8 recovery under bankruptcy plan

Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/Getty Images

Hertz was the original meme stock we couldn’t make sense of. A Robinhood-fueled stock frenzy after the car rental giant's May 2020 bankruptcy filing spawned finger-wagging and ridicule — but it turns out the day traders were right.

What's new: Hertz's latest bankruptcy plan, in which Knighthead Capital Management and Certares Management will buy the company for $7.4 billion, calls for equity holders to receive about $8 per share, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

Travel bookings are surging as vaccines unleash pent-up demand

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Multiple indicators now show how pent-up travel demand is playing out, as the U.S. exits lockdown mode.

Why it matters: Close to half of all Americans have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, enabling a growing economic recovery in the hard-hit travel and leisure sectors.

Exclusive: Stephen and Ayesha Curry join One Million Black Women initiative

Stephen Curry and Ayesha Curry. Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images

Stephen and Ayesha Curry are joining the advisory council for Goldman Sachs' One Million Black Women initiative, Axios is first to report.

Why it matters: The initiative has committed to invest more than $10 billion in Black women over the next 10 years. It comes as banks and large companies are increasingly putting money behind rhetoric about advancing racial equity.

12 hours ago - Health

Health care giants team up on hospital-at-home

Photo: AaronP-Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente announced Thursday they've teamed up to scale the use of hospital care in patients' homes, starting with a shared investment in Boston-based company called Medically Home Group.

Why it matters: After seeing hospital capacity strained to the max amid the pandemic along with the simultaneous rise of telehealth, more patients could find themselves getting acute care in their own beds in the future.

12 hours ago - Health

Axios Harris Poll 100: Pfizer, Moderna reputations soar post-vaccine

Data: Harris Poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

America's affections have shifted away from the companies that helped us manage pandemic life and toward the vaccine manufacturers that are helping to end it.

Driving the news: Moderna and Pfizer shot up the ranks this year in the Axios/Harris 100, our annual survey of corporate reputations. Moderna is Americans' third-favorite company this year, and Pfizer came in at seventh — up from No. 61 a year ago.

12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The 2021 Axios Harris Poll 100 reputation rankings

This survey is the result of a partnership between Axios and Harris Poll to gauge the reputation of the most visible brands in America, based on 20 years of Harris Poll research. From the Patagonia to SpaceX, here's how this year's class stacks up.

Methodology: The Axios Harris Poll 100 is based on a survey of 42,935 Americans in a nationally representative sample conducted April 8-21, 2021. The two-step process starts fresh each year by surveying the public’s top-of-mind awareness of companies that either excel or falter in society.

  • These 100 “most visible companies” are then ranked by a second group of Americans across the seven key dimensions of reputation to arrive at the ranking. If a company is not on the list, it did not reach a critical level of visibility to be measured.

There's an ETF for everything, except bitcoin

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Happiness. Weed. Robots. Water. Whatever the theme, there's probably an ETF promoting a basket of stocks related to it.

Why it matters: Thematic ETFs are an investment mania side effect. There's newfound retail investor interest in narrow exposure to hot corners of the stock market. More are launching to meet the moment.

A divided nation flocks to partisan brands

Data: Harris Poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Americans are leaning into companies that have strong political positions, in the wake of one of the country's most divisive election years.

Driving the news: New rankings from the Axios/Harris 100 poll — an annual survey to gauge the reputation of the most visible brands in the country — show that brands with clear partisan identifications are becoming more popular.

Boeing: FAA has approved 737 MAX electrical fix

A Boeing 737 Max at Miami International Airport in 2020. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Boeing gained approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for a "fix" to an electrical issue that sidelined roughly 100 of its 737 MAX planes worldwide, Reuters first reported Wednesday night.

Why it matters: Wednesday's approval paves the way for a swift return of the flights that were removed from service early last month.

Ina Fried, author of Login
20 hours ago - Technology

Apple parts ways with employee amid backlash

Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Apple has severed ties with recent hire Antonio García Martínez, a former Facebook employee and author of the book "Chaos Monkeys," Axios has learned, following an uproar from employees upset over García Martínez' past writings demeaning women and others.

Why it matters: Employees had circulated a petition Wednesday calling for Apple to explain its hiring of García Martínez. While petitions aren't uncommon at Google and some other companies, it is rare for Apple employees to organize publicly on any issue, let alone an individual hiring.

More economy & business stories