1. The great American job machine continues to chug along: The number of jobless workers filing for new unemployment claims fell to a seasonally-adjusted rate of just 235,000, well below economists' expectations of 260,000, an indication that the job market remains strong. Look for a solid jobs reports tomorrow in light of strong data this week.
  2. Macy's Department Stores is shutting down almost 70 stores and cutting 10,000 jobs following a disappointing holiday season. Though the American economy may be on the rebound, the best days of retailers like Macy's are well behind them.. While Macy's has performed better than rivals Sears and J,C. Penney, it is not immune to the twin killers of e-commerce and the hollowing out of the American middle class.
  3. Bitcoin rose to a nearly all-time high on Wednesday of $1153.02 before crashing nearly 30%. The rapid rise in recent months was seen as evidence of investors in China attempting to evade their countries capital controls. Despite Chinese regulations against moving wealth out of the country, more than $750 billion fled last year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. The subsequent crash shows that many investors are in the currency for purely speculative reasons.

What to watch today: Everybody on CNBC is still breathlessly awaiting Dow 20,000.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
57 mins ago - Economy & Business

Coronavirus surge is sinking consumer confidence

Data: Hamilton Place Strategies, CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

The rise in coronavirus cases in certain parts of the U.S. is stunting confidence across the country, a crop of new reports show.

Driving the news: After stalling during the previous two-week period, overall economic sentiment declined for the first time in two months, according to the Economic Sentiment Index, a biweekly survey from data firm CivicScience and Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS).

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage."
  2. Health: Mask mandates help control the rise in coronavirus hospitalizations. Hospitals face a crush.
  3. Business: Coronavirus testing is a windfall. Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. World: Putin mandates face masks.

The GOP's monstrous math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Republicans, win or lose next week, face a big — and growing — math problem.

The state of play: They're relying almost exclusively on a shrinking demographic (white men), living in shrinking areas (small, rural towns), creating a reliance on people with shrinking incomes (white workers without college degrees) to survive.