Sunday's economy & business stories

Flexport CEO warns supply chain crisis isn't getting better

America's supply chain crisis isn't getting much better, despite getting lots of attention and federal funding, Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen tells "Axios on HBO."

Behind the scenes: Petersen and Axios' Dan Primack took a boat ride through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and saw idle terminal cranes, packed container yards and dozens of cargo ships anchored offshore.

Nebraska records lowest unemployment rate in U.S. history

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Nebraska's unemployment rate fell to 1.9% last month — the lowest for any state since data collection began in 1976, AP reports.

The big picture: The number is in sharp contrast with the national, seasonally adjusted rate of 4.6% in October. Nebraska had maintained the lowest unemployment rate among the states throughout the pandemic.

Updated Nov 21, 2021 - Economy & Business

COVID smashes office architecture

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The huge, decked-out corner office for executives was already dying. The pandemic may have delivered a final blow.

The big picture: As hybrid and remote work become more common, the office is transforming from a place for focused work to a destination for collaboration. Meeting rooms and open plan café-like seating areas are replacing offices — and where you sit and work no longer denotes your place in the hierarchy.

Canned or fresh: The great cranberry sauce debate

Expand chart
Data: Instacart; Map: Sara Wise/Axios; Illustrations: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are divided over whether to have fresh or canned cranberry sauce at their Thanksgiving table, according to data from Instacart.

By the numbers: Fresh cranberry sauce has a slight edge, winning 26 states to canned cranberries' 24 states.

Big media strikes back at Substack

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Pressure from new publishing platforms has finally pushed newsrooms to create programs that give writers more pay, autonomy and flexibility. Those changes are attracting some independent writers back to traditional news companies.

Why it matters: The Substack threat to newsrooms was overblown. Newsrooms have been quick to react to the idea of the independent-operator model while journalists have been sharing its challenges or detailing why they decided to return to newsrooms.

The great yacht, plane shortage

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Rich people's toys — mansions, yachts, watches, private jets — are in short supply, forcing the superrich to cough up even more cash for exclusive activities — if they can get in on them at all.

Why it matters: The richest Americans are experiencing a version of the shortages and price hikes that define the pandemic economy for the rest of us. But while you may be having trouble finding what you need at the grocery, the super wealthy are having trouble getting a yacht.

Updated Nov 21, 2021 - Technology

How to hit the top on each social media platform

Data: Axios Research; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The creator economy has produced thousands of social media entrepreneurs who have built mega-audiences in the millions — larger than many media companies. Often, they operate in parallel universes, with little overlap between platforms.

Why it matters: What differentiates social platforms is no longer their features, but their values and communities. What makes one person popular on one platform may not make them remotely interesting or influential on another.

TSA screens highest number of air travelers since start of pandemic

Transportation Security Administration workers screen passengers Nov. 8 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Transportation Security Administration screened nearly 2.24 million airline passengers on Friday, marking the highest number of air travelers since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Why it matters: The milestone comes after experts anticipated significantly more people would travel this holiday season.

The beauty industry overlooks rising Latina demand

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Latinas are a growing segment in the beauty and self-care industries, outspending non-Hispanic buyers in the past few years.

Why it matters: Many companies have yet to market to them, while brands aimed at Latinas or have Latina founders struggle to attract investors.

Meet the modern crypto venture capital

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Crypto venture capital is a different game than traditional venture capital, which isn't something that every participating firm has yet to fully appreciate.

Why it matters: The key is matching the asset class in which you're investing.

Nov 20, 2021 - Podcasts

The decline of business travel

A new Morning Consult poll found that nearly 40% of people who traveled for business pre-pandemic predict they'll never take a business trip again. If that's true, it would be a massive blow to the airline industry, which has long used business travel to essentially subsidize fares. 

Axios Re:Cap host Erica Pandey is joined by Morning Consult travel and hospitality analyst Lindsey Roeschke to discuss what this poll tells us about the future of air travel.

Plus, a news update on the verdict in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse.

Ex-Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes testifies in her own fraud trial

Elizabeth Holmes. Photo: Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taking the stand to close out the first day of her trial’s defense, ex-Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes highlighted to jurors some of the due diligence her early investors performed.

Why it matters: Though Holmes was included on her defense’s list of potential witnesses, it was unclear whether she would actually testify.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Nov 20, 2021 - Economy & Business

A billionaire's crypto win

People take pictures of a copy of the U.S. Constitution during an auction at Sotheby's last night. Photo: Yuki Iwamura/AFP via Getty Images

The story of a group of cryptocurrency traders failing to buy a copy of the Constitution shows just how much of a gulf there still is between the real world and the crypto world.

Driving the news: Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin outbid a group of 17,437 donors in an auction at Sotheby's last night, promising to pay $47.4 million for the document.