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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Updated 50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 a.m. ET: 18,540,119 — Total deaths: 700,647 — Total recoveries — 11,134,715Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 a.m. ET: 4,771,087 — Total deaths: 156,801 — Total recoveries: 1,528,979 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. States: New York City health commissioner resigns in protest of De Blasio's coronavirus response — Local governments go to war over schools.
  4. Public health: 59% of Americans support nationwide 2-week stay-at-home order in NPR poll.
  5. Politics: Trump's national security adviser returns to work after coronavirus recovery Republicans push to expand small business loan program.
  6. Sports: Indy 500 to be held without fansRafael Nadal opts out of U.S. Open.

Ex-Uber engineer gets 18-month sentence for trade secret theft

Anthony Levandowski. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Anthony Levandowski, the engineer at the center of a year-long legal battle between Waymo and Uber, was sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of stealing trade secrets, per media reports.

Why it matters: The case, which the companies settled despite still landing Levandowski with criminal charges, made headlines as two of Silicon Valley's best-known companies fought to win the race to build self-driving cars. The exact start date of his prison sentence is delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unemployment benefits aren't creating a disincentive for job seekers

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The extra $600 a week of unemployment insurance isn't creating a disincentive for job seekers, per a new study by Yale economists.

Why it matters: Even with that extra help, millions of Americans are barely making ends meet. Now it has expired, and congressional Republicans' argument against extending it — that it rewards unemployment — isn't backed by the data.

The coronavirus could set back a generation of women

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The coronavirus' disproportionate impact on women workers is eroding years of progress.

Why it matters: In the long run, the pandemic could chip away at women's representation in the workforce and widen the gender pay gap, experts say.

Tech jobs aren't immune to the coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's not just lower-wage service jobs in retail and at restaurants anymore. The effects of the coronavirus are beginning to reach the seemingly impervious tech industry.

By the numbers: New data from the jobs site Indeed shows that tech job postings were down 36% in late July, compared with the same time last year. That's even worse than the overall year-over-over drop in job postings of 21%.

"Mulan" will head to Disney+, home to more than 60 million subscribers

An outdoor ad for Disney's "Mulan" in Hollywood, California. Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images

Disney announced Tuesday that its most highly-anticipated blockbuster of the year, the live-action remake of "Mulan," is heading to Disney+ on Sept. 4 for consumers to purchase for a premium access fee of $29.99. The movie's theatrical debut had previously been delayed four times.

Why it matters: It's a huge blow to movie exhibitors across the country that were relying on the Disney hit to come exclusively to theaters for at least a few months before being made available to consumers at home via streaming.

Updated 9 hours ago - Economy & Business

Ford names James Farley as new CEO amid ongoing turnaround effort

Jim Farley will take over as Ford CEO on Oct. 1. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Ford Motor Co.'s new CEO, Jim Farley, is taking the reins from his predecessor, James Hackett, at a critical time.

Why it matters: The global auto industry is shifting quickly toward electrification, automation and transportation services, but Ford has been unable to keep pace. Hackett's $11 billion global transformation, launched in 2017, was slow to materialize, frustrating investors as Ford's stock dropped almost 40% during his tenure.

Virgin Atlantic declares bankruptcy after cutting over 3,000 jobs

Virgin Atlantic Airline planes in Manchester Airport on June 8. Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

British airline Virgin Atlantic filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy on Tuesday as a result of the economic disruption set off by the coronavirus pandemic, Business Insider reports.

Why it matters: This is the second airline belonging to billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Group to file for bankruptcy protection this year, following Virgin Australia's filing in April.

11 hours ago - Podcasts

The debate over COVID-19 liability protections

Stimulus talks continue to move slowly, with Democrats and Republicans unable to agree on whether or not to include coronavirus-related liability protections for businesses, health facilities and schools.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the debate, which could reset the cost-benefit analysis for businesses thinking about reopening and employees thinking about returning.

Editor’s note: This episode has been updated to clarify that McConnell said a "second pandemic" of litigation could be coming, not legislation.

Republicans push to expand small business loan program

Senators Marco Rubio and Susan Collins. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Tuesday filed two big amendments to legislation introduced last week that would extend the deadline to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans and permit some recipients to apply for new PPP loans.

Why it matters: The current program expires on Saturday, despite more than $100 billion left over from the CARES Act.

15 hours ago - Health

Attorneys general ask feds to use march-in rights for remdesivir

Gilead helped develop remdesivir, an IV coronavirus treatment, with federal funding. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Thirty-four state and territory attorneys general sent a letter today to federal health agencies asking the federal government to exercise march-in drug rights for remdesivir as a way "to help increase the supply of this drug and lower the price so it is accessible to our state residents."

The big picture: March-in rights — which would allow a patented drug developed with federal dollars to be licensed out to third parties — have never been exercised before. Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer and patent holder of remdesivir, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump's new TikTok threat

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump said twice Monday that the U.S. Treasury would need to get a portion of the sale price of TikTok, as a condition of regulatory approval.

Why it matters: This is akin to extortion — the sort of thing you'd expect to hear on a wiretap, not from the White House in front of reporters.

Farmers Business Network raises $250 million at $1.75 billion valuation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Farmers Business Network, a farmer-to-farmer information network, financing and e-commerce platform, raised $250 million in Series F funding led by BlackRock at a reported $1.75 billion valuation.

Why it matters: The pandemic has caused great hardship for many independent farmers, particularly those who sell into food-service segments or who grow commodity crops, so even marginal savings on things like seed can go a long way.

Elon Musk's Cybertruck escape hatch

Elon Musk at the Kennedy Space Center on May 27. Photo: Saul Martinez/Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk appears to be open to the idea that the blocky, sci-fi looking Cybertruck might not light the pickup truck market on fire.

Driving the news: Musk, in an interview with Automotive News, said building a more conventional-looking pickup is a "fallback strategy" if things don't work out for the Cybertruck that's slated to begin production next year.

Maria Bartiromo rings in 25 years of Wall Street reporting

Maria Bartiromo greets Nelson Mandela in 2002. Photo: NYSE

Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo will virtually ring the bell of the NYSE on Tuesday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of her historic first report from the trading floor for CNBC, at age 27, on Aug. 4, 1995.

What she's saying: "It was a Wall Street boys' club, and I turned up there, a young woman with a camera, and they had to get used to it," Bartiromo recalled for the N.Y. Post. "I'm proud to have had the courage to go down there and face this sea of suits."

Traffic to job-searching sites is down

Data: SimilarWeb; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Traffic to career sites like Indeed.com, Careerbuilder.com, Monster.com and others is down during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new half-year traffic report from SimilarWeb.

Why it matters: The CARES Act may have made it easier for job seekers to delay employment searches, according to SimilarWeb. Record unemployment could also suggest that people are hiring less.

Scoop: Bloomberg and The Athletic to bundle subscriptions

Bloomberg Media will launch a bundled subscription with The Athletic beginning this month, sources tell Axios.

The big picture: Bloomberg Media sees value in partnering with niche media outlets that it thinks can compliment its coverage.

Construction spending falls for 4th straight month

Construction in New York. Photo: John Lamparski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Outlays for construction projects fell 0.7% in June, the fourth straight month spending outlays have fallen, according to the Commerce Department.

By the numbers: Residential construction fell 1.5%, while spending on public construction projects dropped 0.7%.

Best Buy continues to defy the retail apocalypse

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

One company bucking the woeful news from the world of retail is Best Buy, which saw its stock price hit a record high Monday.

What's happening: Last week Best Buy announced that sales have increased from last year despite the coronavirus pandemic. It also has promised permanent wage increases for employees.

U.S. manufacturing activity hits highest level since March 2018

Data: Investing.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

A gauge of U.S. manufacturing activity jumped to its highest level in nearly a year and a half last month as manufacturing firms said orders increased despite a resurgence in new coronavirus infections.

Yes, but: Job losses continue to mount in the industry and economists note that manufacturing surveys like this one from the Institute for Supply Management largely measure how much sentiment has increased rather than an actual tracking of revenue or new orders.

Mergers and acquisitions make a comeback

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A slew of high-profile headlines led by Microsoft's expected acquisition of social media video app TikTok helped bring the Nasdaq to another record high on Monday.

Why it matters: The mergers-and-acquisitions market looks like it's bouncing back, joining the revived credit and equity markets as well as the market for new public companies through IPOs and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).

U.S. Chamber of Commerce warns of racial inequality for small businesses

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Attitudes and beliefs about racial inequality are changing quickly as protests and media attention have helped highlight the gaps in opportunity between white- and minority-owned businesses in the United States.

Driving the news: A new survey from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife provided early to Axios shows a 17-point increase in the number of small business owners who say minority-owned small businesses face more challenges than non-minority-owned ones.

73% see bias in news reporting as "a major problem"

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo. Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

73% of Americans see bias in news reporting as "a major problem," according to a study out Tuesday from the Knight Foundation and Gallup.

Why it matters: That's up from 65% in 2017, indicating "the gap between what Americans expect from the news — and what they think they are getting — is growing," the Knight Foundation writes.

Women-focused non-profit newsrooms surge forward in 2020

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Women are pushing back against the gender imbalance in media by launching their own news nonprofits and focusing on topics many traditional news companies have long ignored.

Why it matters: "The news business is already gendered," says Emily Ramshaw, co-founder and CEO of The 19th*, a new nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom reporting at the intersection of women, politics and policy.

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