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.

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18 mins ago - Health

Top business leaders urge White House to develop mandatory mask guidelines

A man walks past a Ramen restaurant in Los Angeles, California on July 1. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The heads of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, National Retail Federation and other top business organizations wrote an open letter on Thursday urging the White House coronavirus task force to work with governors to make face coverings mandatory in all public spaces.

Driving the news: An analysis led by Goldman Sachs' chief economist found that a national mandate requiring face coverings would "could potentially substitute for lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP," the Washington Post reports.

22 mins ago - Podcasts

Lots of jobs, lots of questions

America added 4.8 million jobs in June, easily exceeding economist expectations, while the unemployment rate fell from 13.3% to 11.1%. But the jobs picture remains very murky, particularly as some states pause or roll back economy reopenings.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the jobs picture right now and where it's headed, with The Washington Post's Catherine Rampell.

Updated 49 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 10,763,604 — Total deaths: 517,667 — Total recoveries — 5,522,094Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 2,715,124 — Total deaths: 128,439 — Total recoveries: 729,994 — Total tested: 32,827,359Map.
  3. Public health: What we know about the immune response to coronavirus and what it means for a vaccine.
  4. Politics: Herman Cain hospitalized for COVID-19 after attending Trump Tulsa rally — Biden downplays jobs number, rebukes Trump for ignoring health crisis.
  5. States: Florida reports more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases — 5 states saw 27% spike in heart-related deaths in first 3 months of coronavirus pandemic.
3 hours ago - Health

Cash can't fix the economy's problems until the coronavirus is curbed

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

There's plenty of money. It's just not moving to where it's needed.

Driving the news: Thursday's jobs report showed 4.8 million jobs created in June, but those were overwhelmingly people beginning to return to places where they had been temporarily laid off. The number of "permanent job losers" went up, not down, rising 25% in just one month to 2.8 million from 2.2 million.

When fintechs outpace regulators

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Wirecard is a prime example of a company that fell between the regulatory cracks — until it was too late.

The state of play: The story of Wirecard, a fraud-ridden German payments giant, is well known at this point; it's best told by the Financial Times' Dan McCrum, who broke most of it. Along the way, Wirecard used its inflated valuation in Germany to buy legitimate if not particularly profitable card processing businesses in the U.S. and U.K.

The Trump administration tries to take on sustainable investing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The case for sustainable investing — or ESG, for environmental, social, and governance — is a pretty simple one: Long-term investors have a clear financial incentive to back companies that will thrive over the long term. Such companies need to be well governed, have good relations with their stakeholders, and be well positioned to help humanity minimize our onrushing environmental catastrophe.

Why it matters: While the Obama administration was well disposed towards such investing, the Trump administration isn't. To sum up the thesis in three letters: ESG, for environmental, social, and governance.

Why advertisers mistrust Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than 400 major advertisers, including Unilever, CVS, and Verizon, have pulled their ads from Facebook and Instagram as part of the #StopHateForProfit campaign organized by advocacy groups including Color for Change, NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, and Sleeping Giants.

Why it matters: The ease with which the campaign has signed up advertisers is only in part a function of its intrinsic merits. It's clear that brand advertisers and their agencies kinda wanted to make this move anyway.

Biden downplays jobs number, rebukes Trump for ignoring health crisis

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday called June’s jobs report “positive news,” but warned that the worst is yet to come and accused President Trump of "giving up" on addressing the root public health causes of the coronavirus.

Driving the news: The Labor Department reported Thursday morning that the economy added 4.8 million jobs last month and that the unemployment rate dropped to 11.1% — down from 13.3%.

Updated 6 hours ago - Economy & Business

Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell indicted and arrested

Epstein and Maxwell in 2005. Photo: Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The FBI on Thursday arrested Ghislaine Maxwell, a close associate of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, on charges linked to Epstein's sex crimes, NBC New York reports.

The big picture: Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire and is expected to appear later in federal court in New York. She is charged with conspiring with Epstein, who died in an apparent suicide in prison last year, to sexually abuse minors. "The six-count indictment in Manhattan federal court alleges that Maxwell helped Epstein groom girls as young as 14 years old, going back as far as 1994," per NBC.

Kansas trucker secures largest non-airline stimulus loan from Treasury

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

YRC Worldwide (YRCW), a Kansas-based commercial trucker, secured a $700 million loan from the U.S. Treasury Department, in exchange for a 29.6% equity stake.

Why it matters: This is by far the largest stimulus loan for any non-airline company, and the first from a $17 billion allocation for companies deemed critical to national security. The loan is also controversial, given that YRC was struggling long before the pandemic.

China's security law reins in private equity hopes in Hong Kong

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The romance between private equity and Hong Kong may be over, before it even had a chance to begin.

The state of play: Hong Kong officials in February announced plans to introduce a new carried interest tax scheme that is expected to be one of the world's most generous. This came on top of Hong Kong's existing effort to implement a limited partnership fund regime — all of which could make the city a more viable alternative to the Cayman Islands, particularly for Asia-focused funds.

Why going electric makes sense for ride-hailing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Deploying electric vehicles instead of gasoline-powered models for services like Uber and Lyft provides outsized climate benefits compared to emissions cuts from electric vehicles for only personal use, per a peer-reviewed study in Nature Energy.

Why it matters: The analysis, based on California data, follows explosive growth in ride-hailing in recent years — and evidence that it's cannibalizing more climate-friendly mass transit.

U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs last month, while the unemployment rate dropped to 11.1% from 13.3% in May, according to government data released Thursday.

The state of play: While the labor market showed more signs of recovery when the government’s survey period ended in early June, the lag means that more recent developments, like the surge in coronavirus cases and resultant closures in some states, aren't captured in this data.

1.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week

Photo: Wang Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Another 1.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, the Department of Labor announced Thursday.

Why it matters: New applications for unemployment remain historically high, suggesting layoffs are still widely prevalent. However, they remain well below the all-time record seen when the coronavirus pandemic first hit.

People of color and those with the lowest incomes are most likely to be relying on unemployment

Photo: John Sommers II/Getty Images

Workers of color, women and the lowest-income people are more likely to be relying on unemployment benefits this month, according to projections released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The weekly unemployment claims report doesn't have a demographic breakdown of who's receiving unemployment aid.

Corporate earnings may recover from coronavirus slump by end of 2021

By the end of next year, corporate earnings may have recovered from the anticipated pandemic-induced slump — at least if analysts are right.

What's going on: EPS forecasts for this year have plunged to $128 per share from the $161 expected before the pandemic hit, according to FactSet.

10 hours ago - Technology

As boycott grows, Facebook juggles rights groups and advertisers

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As an advertiser boycott of Facebook over its tolerance of hate speech continues to snowball, the company has begun making small, incremental changes to mollify activists while it tries to buy time to evolve its content policies.

Driving the news: Sources tell Axios that the product and policy changes sought by the #StopHateForProfit campaign were long under discussion both inside Facebook and with some external groups. Meanwhile, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly told employees that the boycotting advertisers will be back before long.

11 hours ago - Health

Amgen wins Enbrel drug patent appeal

Photo: Lewis Geyer/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

A federal appeals court has upheld Amgen's patents tied to its blockbuster arthritis drug Enbrel, a decision that will block biosimilar competition until 2029. The FDA approved the first biosimilar to Enbrel in 2016.

The big picture: Amgen is heavily reliant on Enbrel, which brings in more than $5 billion in revenue per year. Now, the company — which has spent more money on stock buybacks than drug research since 2016 — has almost another decade of monopoly control over the drug, which has a net price of roughly $44,000 for a year of treatment.

Go deeper: Biosimilars are barely a thing

Updated 17 hours ago - Health

Michigan the latest state to order more coronavirus restrictions

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmerat the Detroit- Hamtramck assembly plant in Detroit in January. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed an executive order closing indoor service at bars in south and central parts of the state "to protect the progress Michigan has made against COVID-19," she said in a statement Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's the latest state to readjust or pause reopening plans as COVID-19 cases soar across the U.S. Daily coronavirus case numbers surpassed 50,000 for the first time on Wednesday.

20 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: Twitter removes photo from Trump tweet after NYT copyright complaint

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Twitter has removed a picture from a tweet by President Trump on Tuesday after it received a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint from the New York Times, which owns the rights to the photo.

Why it matters: This is the second time in two weeks that Twitter has had to take down content from Trump's account due to a copyright violation.

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