Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

A woman carries a box of food as others wait in line at a food bank in Van Nuys, Calif., in April 2020. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

In one of the worst years ever for the economy and labor market, America's poverty rate dropped, per one measure that takes into account pandemic-era aid, the government said Tuesday.

Why it matters: It underscores the colossal impact stimulus checks, expanded unemployment payments and other benefits had on households in 2020 — even as millions lost jobs. Without them (and other safety nets, like Social Security), the poverty rate jumped for the first time in five years by one percentage point to 11.4%.

The big picture: The poverty rate typically cited each year focuses solely on cash income. But an alternate rate that includes major aid programs took on new significance given the flood of pandemic-era stimulus injected into the economy.

  • That measure fell to 9.1% — the lowest rate since the government started publishing this estimate in 2009.

By the numbers: Stimulus checks lifted nearly 12 million Americans out of poverty, while expanded unemployment benefits lifted over 5 million.

Of note: There was no statistically significant change in the uninsured rate last year from 2018, the data shows. If someone lost their job, they were able to get coverage through Medicaid or other heavily subsidized individual health insurance.

Go deeper

Murders up nearly 30% nationwide in 2020

Photo: Dylan Bouscher/MediaNews Group/East Bay Times via Getty Images

In 2020, the U.S. experienced its biggest increase in murders since it began keeping a record in 1960, according to reporting by the New York Times.

Why it matters: Reasons for the spike may vary, however, analysts point to heightened pandemic-induced stresses, higher rates of domestic violence and increased distrust of law enforcement, per the Times.

Fears grow for the financially vulnerable, index shows

Data: Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index; Chart: Axios Visuals

Inequality widened in September, driven by income losses and fears among the most financially vulnerable, according to the latest Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index released today.

Why it matters: As COVID continues to spread, expanded pandemic-era unemployment benefits expired this month, removing a financial safety net for 7.5 million Americans.

Warehouses boom, offices lag in Northwest Arkansas

Construction cranes over downtown Bentonville. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

Despite the pandemic, NWA's commercial real estate market is healthy. That's thanks to the demand for warehouse space for all the stuff we're buying online.

Driving the news: The vacancy rate for all commercial real estate fell to 8.9% for the first half of 2021, according to the biannual commercial Skyline Report released yesterday. Compare that to 10.8% at the end of 2020.

  • This is the first time the rate fell below 10% since the second half of 2017.