Axios Closer

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⏰ Good luck with daylight saving time this weekend!

Today's newsletter is 699 words, a 2½-minute read.

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

  • Biggest gainer? Etsy (+5.7%), the e-commerce site. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Biggest decliner? Costco (-7.6%), the warehouse club, disappointed on revenue for the last quarter, it's fiscal Q2.

1 big thing: Making EVs is easy... profiting from them is not

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If the last few years have taught us anything about electric vehicles, it's that they're easy to design but hard to manufacture at scale — and even harder to do so profitably, Nathan writes.

Why it matters: Rivian revealed three additional new vehicles yesterday, but like many other EV makers before it, the company is still burning cash at a breathtaking pace.

Between the lines: Shortly after the glitzy event arranged to draw attention to its new, more affordable EVs, Rivian dropped an SEC filing saying that it was suspending plans for a $5 billion factory in Georgia.

  • The company — which Reuters reported lost about $43,000 per vehicle in its most recent period on its current lineup — said it will instead make the new R2 initially more affordably at its current facility in Illinois.

The big picture: Rivian's growing pains are reflective of a broader problem for EV companies — that designing and engineering EVs is a lot easier than making them at a profit.

Yes, but: You have to spend money to make money.

  • The R2 and R3 could be Rivian's version of Tesla's Model 3 and Model Y — the vehicles that brought Tesla to the masses and turned the company into a profit machine.
  • "Why we think R2/R3 can have a similar effect for RIVN is because it marks the shift from small volume, premium units to potential SCALE," Evercore ISI analyst Chris McNally wrote today.

What we're watching: "We're tracking towards and focused on both rapidly achieving a scale that ... we're accomplishing, but also doing it in a way that gets us to profitability as fast as possible," Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe told Axios' Joann Muller.

Go deeper

2. Charted: Quiet labor force boom

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

There's an important feature that distinguishes the job market from years past: a booming share of prime-age workers in the labor force, Axios' Courtenay Brown writes.

  • The labor force participation rate of those aged 25–54 — that is, the share who are employed or looking for work — was 83.5% in February, the government said today.

That's the high of this economic cycle, last reached in June 2023. Before that, you have to go back more than 20 years to find a similar participation rate for this cohort.

Why it matters: Prime-age workers have entered the workforce in droves as the economy recovered from the pandemic shock — helped by plentiful jobs, strong wage growth and remote work, among other factors.

  • That's particularly the case for women, whose participation rate was just 0.1% below the highest on record in February.

More on the February jobs report

3. What's happening

💊 The FDA wants to take a closer look at an Eli Lilly drug that would treat Alzheimer's, likely delaying it. (WSJ)

🥒 HelloFresh shares plunged 33% after the meal-kit company released a disappointing outlook. (CNBC)

4. Bitcoin highs are complicated

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Bitcoin broke $70,000 today... or did it?

Why it matters: It's been a week of all-time highs and round-number milestones for fans of the world's oldest cryptocurrency — but declaring these numbers in the first place can be more art than science.

Between the lines: At what price bitcoin peaked depends on the platform — numbers vary across exchanges, writes Axios' Crystal Kim.

Go deeper: Sign up for the Axios Crypto newsletter with Crystal Kim and Brady Dale.

5. Reader reaction: Gerbils on wheels

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Earlier this week, we asked you for feedback on our big internal debate about weights vs. cardio amid signs that Americans are losing interest in the latter.

  • The response nearly crashed our inboxes!

The verdict: Closer readers haven't abandoned good old-fashioned cardio — you like a mix of both.

Here's a selection:

Carolyn: "I would not consider myself having 'worked out' if I didn't do both things, and on days when I don't go and only walk for exercise, I feel like I'm cheating."

Caleb: "Every ounce of muscle you build with weights is more calories burned doing cardio. Better cardio fitness makes lifting more effective."

Erin: "Cardio without weights = gerbil on a wheel."

6. What they're saying

Jimmy Kimmel at the 2018 Academy Awards. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

"The show will be starting an hour early. And ending just as late as ever."
— Oscars host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel, to CNN, on the notoriously long Academy Awards broadcast starting at 7pm ET Sunday.

Today's newsletter was edited by Pete Gannon and copy edited by Sheryl Miller.

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