May 16, 2017

Only people who earn more than $150k prioritize doing important work

Ross D. Franklin / AP

In a swipe at the much-ballyhooed "gig economy," Americans say they care less about how much they earn than that their salary is predictable. And, while they want to enjoy what they do, Americans mostly aren't fixated on their job's importance, per a new study by Bloomberg and New America, a Washington-based think tank.

One quick thing: Uncertainty was a thread running through focus groups held as part of the study. "There was a palpable feeling of hopelessness throughout all our focus groups — and especially a lack of control over schedule," the study said.

Why it matters: Americans are not fretting over the largest long-term threats of the dual age of automation and Amazonization, which are wiping out manufacturing and retail employment. Instead, most worry about earning a predictable income — something that is unlikely if they are making ends meet by working at more than one job.

The results dovetail with the results of the 2016 presidential election, which seemed to turn on broad unease with the fast-changing economy and culture. "I was most surprised that automation or job loss may not be the questions most important to know the answer to," said Roy Bahat, head of Bloomberg Beta, the venture capital firm, who co-led the study.

More takeaways:

  • Income was a key factor in attitudes: Americans earning $150,000 a year or more want to work at "things I feel are important." Those earning less prioritize "earning as stable and secure an income as possible."
  • The emphasis on stability is understandable: 53% said their incomes vary at different times of the month, and about 25% said it varies by the week.
  • Even more reason for the results: fully 81% said they would be unable to cope with an unexpected expense of $1,000 or more; 48% said they couldn't manage an unexpected expense of $100; 28% said a $10 expense would be too much.

Go deeper

LATAM Airlines files for U.S. chapter 11 bankruptcy

A LATAM air attendant aboard one of the company's planes in March. Photo: Kike Calvo/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

LATAM Airlines Group SA said in a statement early Tuesday the firm and its affiliates in in the United States, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S.

Why it matters: Latam is Latin America's largest airline and its shareholders include Delta Air Lines. CEO Roberto Alvo noted in the statement the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the airline industry.

Novavax starts human trials for coronavirus vaccine

Novavax's Nita Patel with a computer model showing the protein structure of a potential coronavirus vaccine at the lab in Gaithersburg, Maryland in March. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Novavax began clinical trials of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus in Australia on Tuesday, per a statement from the Maryland-based biotechnology firm.

The state of play: 131 volunteers in the Australian cities of Melbourne and Brisbane will undergo injections as part of the study, the company’s research chief Gregory Glenn said during a briefing, per Australian Associated Press.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 5,495,061 — Total deaths: 346,232 — Total recoveries — 2,231,738Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 1,662,302 — Total deaths: 98,220 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy