Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The fourth quarter is a major inflection point. The U.S. economy is moving out of its bounce-back recovery from the coronavirus depression and could be returning to slower growth and recovery or it could be moving toward a recession.

The state of play: We are about to see a second wave of job losses — this one more likely to permanently push millions out of the labor force, lower wages and leave long-lasting scars on the economy.

On one side: The coming October jobs report is expected to show employers added 625,000 jobs last month — demonstrating a labor market continuing to slow but still moving in a positive direction.

On the other side: Layoff announcements picked up at the end of October, with ExxonMobil, Chevron, Charles Schwab and Raytheon all announcing the elimination of thousands of white-collar jobs.

  • Those followed major layoffs from Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Salesforce, Allstate and WarnerMedia.

The intrigue: Rather than a panic-driven effort to cut costs and stay above water, these job losses are largely a result of companies reducing headcount after mergers and acquisitions or as part of a longer-term strategy.

  • Businesses have been positioning themselves for an increasingly competitive landscape by boosting productivity and reducing costs, so they've been cutting jobs and investing in new technology, as I wrote in September.
  • "Almost every client that we deal with, irrespective of sector, is trying to drive cost down and make their products and services more affordable," Tim Ryan, U.S. chair and senior partner at PwC, said during a September call with reporters.

By the numbers: In the first half of 2020, more than 3,600 companies filed for bankruptcy, according to legal services provider Epiq, and the pace has picked up since.

  • In June, just over 600 companies filed for bankruptcy protection, up 43% from June 2019.
  • In September, 747 companies filed, a 78% increase over September 2019.
  • “These commercial filings are primarily small businesses that do not have access to capital or stimulus," Deirdre O’Connor, managing director of corporate restructuring at Epiq said last month. "Unfortunately, those bankruptcies will continue to rise in the current economic environment."

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Dec 1, 2020 - Economy & Business

The broken pipeline for Latino executives

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Latino professionals have the widest gap between representation in the labor force and executive positions — bigger than that of any other minority group.

Why it matters: Latinos will make up a quarter of the U.S. population by 2050, and scores of U.S. firms profit off of Latino consumers, but this group is absent from the business world's highest and most impactful decision-making positions.

3 hours ago - Science

The "war on nature"

A resident stands on his roof as the Blue Ridge Fire burned back in October in Chino Hills, Calif. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP

Apocalyptic weather is the new normal because humans are "waging war on nature," the UN declared on Wednesday.

What they're saying: "The state of the planet is broken," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, reports AP. “This is suicidal.”

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Nursing homes are still getting pummeledU.S. could hit herd immunity by end of summer 2021 if Americans embrace virus vaccines, Fauci says.
  2. Politics: Pelosi, Schumer call on McConnell to adopt bipartisan $900B stimulus framework.
  3. World: U.K. clears Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for mass rollout — Putin says Russia will begin large-scale vaccination next week.
  4. Business: Investors are finally starting to take their money out of safe-haven Treasuries.
  5. Sports: The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight.