November 12, 2021

Hello! Hope King here — how are you? TGIF! 😎

Today's newsletter is 673 words, a 2½-minute read.

🔔 The dashboard: The S&P 500 closed up 0.7%.

  • Biggest gainer? Etsy (+7.4%) shares climbed higher again this week following the company's strong earnings and outlook issued last week.
  • Biggest decliner? Hewlett Packard Enterprises (-8.2%) fell after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to sell and cut its price target, citing slowing IT spending in the U.S.

🚨Situational awareness: Judge Brenda Penny has freed Britney Spears from her 13-year-plus conservatorship.

1 big thing: Mothers make their way back to work

Prime-age employment to population ratio for parents
Data: Current Population Survey/Indeed; Note: Younger children defined as kids aged 13 and below; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

As the pandemic-era circumstances that drove a million American mothers out of work start to dissipate, that huge population of workers is coming back in greater numbers, Axios' Erica Pandey writes.

  • Employment for working-age moms rose at a faster rate than any other group of prime-age workers (those between the ages of 25 and 54) in October, according to new Current Population Survey data analyzed by Indeed Hiring Lab.

Why it matters: Working parents make up a third of the U.S. workforce, and employers need the mothers who left their jobs to come back amid the current marketwide labor shortage.

By the numbers: The prime-age employment to population ratio for mothers with young kids (defined as those aged 13 and below) is now 2.9% below what it was pre-pandemic.

  • That's still a lower recovery than fathers (–1.0%), and women without young kids (–2.3%) — but working moms are closing the gap.

What's happening: The Delta variant is receding, and school-age kids are finally able to get the vaccine, notes Alicia Modestino, an economist at Northeastern University.

  • That means more schools will be able to fully reopen and stay open, and the child care constraints that are keeping parents — usually mothers — at home will fade.
  • Wages are also increasing, which could be playing a role in bringing working moms back, Modestino says.

What to watch: Whether employment among moms keeps rising as pandemic-era conditions move further behind us.

  • "This is one month of positive data, but it is just one month of data," says Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed.

2. Charted: "I'm quitting" hits new record

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

Workers split from their jobs at another record pace in September.

  • 4.4 million people, or 3% of the labor force, in the U.S. quit — up from 4.3 million in August.

Why it matters: Workers have been feeling more empowered than ever to leave positions amid a tight labor market that can reward job hoppers with higher pay and better benefits.

3. What's happening

💻 President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold a virtual summit Monday. (Axios)

🛍️ Alibaba’s yearly “Singles Day” or 11-11 online shopping campaign generated a record 540.3 billion yuan ($84.5 billion) in sales, but annual growth fell to 8.5%, its slowest pace ever. (WSJ)

✂️ Johnson & Johnson will split in two next year — with one division focused on consumer products including Band-Aid and Johnson’s Baby Powder, and the other on advanced pharmaceuticals and medical devices. (Axios)

  • Toshiba plans to split into three companies by March 2024, similar to GE. (WSJ)

🎮 EA’s “Battlefield 2042” advance release and Take Two’s “Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy” stumbled in their release this week. (Axios)

4. Heading out and tuning out

Photo Illustration: Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Disney’s streaming business stumbled last quarter.

  • The company added 2.1 million new Disney+ members, down from 12.6 million added in the previous three months.
  • Concurrently, production and marketing costs rose — pushing Disney+ operating losses higher.

Why it matters: This was the smallest gain in subscribers since Disney+ launched two years ago, a worrying marker for a business unit described as the company’s bet on the future.

Yes, but: Pandemic factors applied forces that were unforeseen when the service first launched 

  • Streaming businesses received a huge initial boost in popularity during lockdowns but now across the board have seen a slowdown in growth as the health crisis wanes and out-of-home options return.

Go deeper

5. Another big day (Taylor's Version)

Taylor Swift accepts The BRITs Global Icon award in London, England. Photo: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

“Red (Taylor’s Version)” landed on streaming services at midnight.

  • This is the re-recording of Taylor Swift’s album "Red," plus 14 extra tracks.

Context: Swift, who owns her songs' copyrights, is using the new releases to regain fuller control over her music.

  • Scooter Braun’s private equity firm acquired her old music label in 2019, and last year it sold Swift's masters to another firm.
  • “Red (Taylor’s Version)” is her second re-release, following “Fearless.”

Chart beat: The album is already No. 1 on Apple Music in the U.S.

6. What they're saying

"I hope they’re able to achieve high production & breakeven cash flow. That is the true test."
— Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Twitter taking a shot at newly public electric truck maker Rivian, a pre-revenue company already worth $110 billion.

Have a good one, and remember to take care of yourself.