Thursday's economy & business stories

Thanksgiving air travel doubles 2020 level

Travelers wait in a long queue at the security checkpoint of Orlando International Airport on Nov. 24. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Transportation Security Administration said it screened more than 2.3 million airline passengers on Wednesday — the highest number since the start of the pandemic and more than double the number of people who passed through TSA security checkpoints on the same day last year.

Driving the news: TSA said last week it expects to screen about 20 million air passengers during the Thanksgiving travel period this year.

In photos: Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade returns

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City was back with fanfare on Thursday, after last year's festivities were scaled back due to the pandemic.

The big picture: The 95th annual parade featured new floats, marching bands, music stars, Santa and others, who made their way through the 2.5-mile route lined with cheering crowds. Last year's parade route was reduced to just one largely spectator-less block.

Updated Nov 25, 2021 - Economy & Business

How America's turkey supply chain brings birds to your table

A turkey farm in Pennsylvania. Photo: Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The route that your turkey took on its way to your table this year was beset by extreme weather, global supply-chain issues and labor shortages — many of the same factors contributing to the "Everything Shortage."

The big picture: Our Axios Local teams have turned their eye to each piece of the turkey supply chain — from Iowa, one of the top producers of animal feed nationwide; to Minnesota, the biggest turkey producer; to Arkansas, home of Walmart, the country's largest retailer.

Hope King, author of Closer
Nov 25, 2021 - Economy & Business

Post-Thanksgiving shopping looks to make up for lost time

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are itching to get back into their holiday traditions this year — including the traditional post-Thanksgiving shopping blitz.

Why it matters: Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren't the seismic economic and cultural events they used to be, and supply-chain issues have put a damper on things this year, but retailers expect shoppers to come back after a year of isolation — and to spend big.

Updated Nov 25, 2021 - Economy & Business

America's most vegan Thanksgiving ever

A vegan "turkey" Thanksgiving meal. Photo: Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Vegan bakers and chefs across the country are facing unprecedented demand as households prepare to cater to a growing number of vegans, vegetarians and "flexitarians" at Thanksgiving this year.

Why it matters: With the continued rise of plant-based meat sales and more meat-eaters opting for alternative meat products, this year's Thanksgiving is set to be America's most vegan-friendly yet.

Biden administration approves second major offshore wind project

Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Image

The Biden administration approved Wednesday plans for a major offshore wind farm to supply power to New York.

Why it matters: The approval for the installation of a dozen turbines near Rhode Island marks a major step in the administration's goal of reaching 30 gigawatts of offshore wind-generating capacity in U.S. waters by 2030, powering more than 10 million homes.

Nov 25, 2021 - Health

U.S. to mandate COVID vaccines for all border crossers in January

President Biden speaks during an event at the South Court Auditorium at Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

The Biden administration will begin requiring essential travelers crossing U.S. borders to be fully vaccinated starting Jan. 22, a White House spokesperson told Axios Wednesday.

Why it matters: The move comes after the U.S. opened land borders with Canada and Mexico to non-essential travel in November, but only to those fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

In photos: Thanksgiving travel nears pre-pandemic levels

A long line of people awaiting rides after arriving at Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

People are journeying across the U.S. en masse this week to commemorate the Thanksgiving holiday, with air travel closing in on pre-pandemic levels after more than a year of COVID.

Why it matters: Last Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans not to travel because of the pandemic. One year later, the total number of people traveling for the holiday by car, bus, train or plane is expected to cross 53 million, or 95% of 2019 levels.

Fast food's celebrity strategy is working

Photo: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Fast-food giants are tapping stars with huge social media followings to hype menu items that already exist.

Why it matters: There are signs that it's invigorating sales — and every hot celebrity could soon try to lock down these deals.

Hope King, author of Closer
Nov 24, 2021 - Economy & Business

Charted: The return of holiday travel

Expand chart
Data: TSA; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Air travel is closing in on pre-pandemic levels.

  • What to watch: The total number of people traveling for Thanksgiving this year — by car, bus, train or plane — could reach 53 million, according to AAA, or 95% of 2019 levels.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Nov 24, 2021 - Economy & Business

Scoop: Red Sox owner wants to buy an NBA team

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Fenway Sports Group wants to buy an NBA team once it's done acquiring the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: FSG is pioneering a new sort of corporate sports ownership, buying up marquee franchises in different geographic markets.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Nov 24, 2021 - Economy & Business

For Toshiba, breaking up may be hard to do

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

3D Investment Partners, the second-largest Toshiba shareholder with a 7% stake, is objecting to the Japanese conglomerate's plan to split into three companies, per a letter obtained by Reuters.

Why it matters: This could set up a takeover battle for all of Toshiba, which was the target of a failed $20 billion bid earlier this year from CVC Capital Partners.

JPMorgan CEO walks back joke about Chinese Communist Party

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon in Paris in June 2021. Photo: Michel Euler/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon walked back a recent critique of the Chinese Communist Party on Wednesday, saying he regrets joking that the bank will outlast the party in China.

Driving the news: Speaking at the Boston College Chief Executives Club Tuesday, Dimon noted that JPMorgan's Chinese operations and the CCP were both celebrating their 100th year anniversary in 2021 and said he would bet that the bank would outlive the party, according to Bloomberg.

Brazen shoplifting schemes sweep the U.S.

San Francisco's Union Square. Photo: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images

As the holiday season gets underway, groups of thieves have undertaken brazen shoplifting exploits at stores across the U.S.

Why it matters: Organized retail crime costs retailers on average $700,000 per $1 billion in sales annually, per estimates from the National Retail Federation, and companies are blaming store closures and profit dips on the shoplifting scourge.

Weekly jobless claims fall to lowest level since 1969

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Approximately 199,000 Americans filed initial claims for unemployment insurance‌ last‌ week, a 71,000 decrease from the week before.

Why it matters: The Labor Department said Wednesday it was the lowest level of initial claims since Nov. 15, 1969, when claims reached 197,000.

Nov 24, 2021 - World

New Zealand to reopen to vaccinated foreign travelers from April

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a news conference at Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, on Monday. Photo: Mark Mitchell - Pool/Getty Images

New Zealand will reopen to most international travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 next year, in a gradual lifting of border restrictions that have been in place since March 2020.

Why it matters: NZ imposed some of the world's toughest pandemic measures and largely contained the virus to managed hotel quarantine facilities for returning New Zealand residents. Its economy had rebounded before Delta arrived in August and domestic restrictions returned.

FAA: 8 unruly passengers face more than $160,000 in fines

Photo: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Eight airline passengers are facing fines totaling more than $160,000 for violations of alcohol and face mask rules aboard planes — including an individual penalty of over $40,000.

Why it matters: There have been more than 5,000 unruly passenger reports this year — including nearly 3,800 mask-related incidents, according to the latest figures from the Federal Aviation Administration, which proposed the latest fines.