October 21, 2022

👋 TGIF!

🚨 Situational awareness: Wall Street ended a roller-coaster week sharply higher, boosted by mostly encouraging earnings and hopes that the Fed's rate hike campaign may be closing.

🔔 The dashboard: The S&P 500 rallied by 2.4%.

  • Biggest gainer? Schlumberger (+10.3%), an oilfield services company, which popped on its best quarterly earnings showing in seven years.
  • Biggest decliner? SVB Financial (-24%), plunging on dour Q3 results.

Today's newsletter is 659 words, a 2½-minute read.

1BT: WFH hitting support jobs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As the economy adapts to a new era powered by remote work, some jobs are at risk of not coming back at all, Nathan writes.

Why it matters: We're still grappling with the ramifications from the seismic economic changes wrought by the pandemic.

Driving the news: Facebook parent Meta is reducing contract positions at several transportation firms that shuttled workers to its offices, CNBC reported today.

Threat level: Jobs that relied on people coming to the office regularly are most at risk.

What they're saying: The trend is especially acute at offices in sectors that have bet big on remote work, Lightcast senior economist Rucha Vankudre tells Axios.

  • "It's jobs like surveillance officer, mailroom worker, office technician, office manager, administrative assistant — all of the jobs that make these large tech and finance offices work are really where we think remote work is going to work against us," Vankudre says.

Zoom in: Many of these positions do not require a college degree, meaning their elimination tends to hit folks with lower incomes the hardest.

  • The number of employed civilians 25 and up with only a high school diploma fell by 3.5% from pre-pandemic September 2019 to September 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The bottom line: Remote work is rattling support staff that previously relied heavily on people commuting to the workplace.

Read more.

2. Charted: Rent market cools... kind of

Median rent fell for the first time in 2022 on a month-to-month basis as shelter inflation cools off, Nathan writes.

By the numbers: Rent fell by 2.5% from August to September, according to a new report by Rent.com, which called it "a hopeful sign that the rental market is stabilizing" after a run of steep increases.

  • Yes, but: Prices were still up 8.8% year over year, though that's the smallest such increase since October 2021.

3. What's happening

💸 The IRS is raising the contribution limits for 401(k) plans. (Axios)

📉 The dollar fell compared with the yen as traders brace for Japanese intervention. (Reuters)

🎵 Taylor Swift's "Midnights" album release briefly crashed Spotify. (Bloomberg)

4. Pfizer's sticker shock

Photo Illustration: Nikos Pekiaridis/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Pfizer plans to charge $110–$130 per dose for its COVID-19 vaccine once government purchases end next year, Axios senior health care editor Adriel Bettelheim reports.

The big picture: Weak demand for the shots and private market pressures were expected to cost manufacturers billions once government purchases end. Price increases, while expected, could lead to higher insurance premiums.

  • The government now pays about $30 a dose to Pfizer and its partner BioNTech.

Catch up quick: Next year, Americans will lose free access to government-funded COVID tests, treatments and vaccines. The cost will begin to be transferred to patients through premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

What we're watching: While vaccines will continue to be available to virtually anyone with public and private insurance in a private market, it's not clear how much access the uninsured will have.

Go deeper.

5. A different kind of "Black" Friday

A group in "Shazam Family" cosplay at New York Comic Con, Oct. 8. Photo: Javier E. David

All eyes are on "Black Adam," the DC Comics-inspired vehicle starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the titular antihero, which officially opens today.

Why it matters: The stakes couldn’t be higher for Warner/Discovery, which has alienated legions of DC fans by canceling and postponing several high-profile projects, Axios’ Javier E. David writes.

The intrigue: Current projections expect the movie to pull in something north of $60 million this weekend, Deadline reported, but that’s below other major tentpoles.

What they’re saying: Some of the more unforgiving reviewers use words like “humdrum,” “clumsy,” and “brainless” (ouch). Still, the comparatively higher audience scores may yet give “Black Adam” an unexpected box office boost.

Read more.

6. What they're saying

"Musk cannot cut his way to growth with Twitter, and a number in the 75% zip code would be way too aggressive ... and potentially set back this core platform for years."
— Wedbush analyst Dan Ives on reports that Elon Musk plans massive cuts to Twitter's headcount.

Today's newsletter was edited by Javier E. David and copy edited by Sheryl Miller.

📅 It's almost here: The Axios BFD is next Wednesday, Oct. 26. If you can’t join us in person, you can stream main stage interviews by registering here.