Morning Brew - ☕️ Jiminy cricket

Inside the surprising jobs report...
June 08, 2024 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew


Good morning. On this hot summer Saturday, if you’re able, try to get yourself to a body of water. Science says it’s good for you, plus you don’t actually have to go in to benefit from its healing properties. Research from UC Davis found that gazing at bodies of water can help lower blood pressure and heart rate while increasing feelings of relaxation. For anyone not near a lake or ocean, a clogged sink should do the trick.

—Sam Klebanov, Molly Liebergall, Matty Merritt, Adam Epstein, Neal Freyman














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*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 5:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Stocks dropped ever so slightly to end the week as investors tried to make sense of the big jobs report. Lots of jobs = good, but lots of jobs also = interest rates likely staying the same for awhile longer (more below). AMC had a rough day, tumbling 15% as the latest meme stock craze started to fizzle.


No one expected this many jobs

Graphic of a surprise jobs report Francis Scialabba

People whose job it is to watch the economy are shocked at how many jobs the economy added last month: Payrolls added 272,000 more jobs in May, according to employer stats the government dropped yesterday, vastly exceeding the 190,000 increase that analysts predicted.

  • The biggest job gains were in healthcare (68k jobs), government (43k), and hospitality (42k).
  • The average hourly pay increased by 0.4% from the previous month and 4.1% over the year, also exceeding analysts’ predictions.

The surprisingly strong employment gains are prompting some head-scratching since they come amid slowing economic growth as consumers pull back on spending. The job market’s resilience has dashed hopes among investors and anyone planning to take out a loan that the Fed will lower interest rates soon.

The puzzling piece

For the wonks who dug into it, the jobs report gave more mixed signals than a broken traffic light.

  • The unemployment rate ticked up to 4% from 3.9% in April, breaking its historic streak of 27 months under 4%.
  • A survey of households revealed that the number of Americans working dropped by 408,000 from April to May.

Some economists claim the household survey fails to properly account for immigrant workers, who have been the main driver of working population growth in recent years. But others say it checks out given the general cooldown vibes in the labor market: Job openings were at a three-year low in April, and many recent college grads have struggled to find work.

Still, big job gains mean high rates…almost no one expects a rate cut before the fall, and investors are split nearly 50/50 over whether there will be one in September. Realtors anticipate mortgages will remain at 7% on average for at least a month.—SK



If we could do it all over again…


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Tour de headlines

Graphic of a thermometer showing a very high temperature Francis Scialabba

It’s too hot. Parts of the US Southwest and California are experiencing record-breaking temperatures as a heat wave from Mexico blazes north. Phoenix hit a daily record high of 113 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday, while Las Vegas reached a record 111, and Needles, California, hit a never-before-seen 115. Nearly a dozen people at a Donald Trump rally in Phoenix were hospitalized due to the heat. Weather experts predict the wave will move further north into Oregon and Washington. The unprecedented temps come a week after India recorded its hottest-ever temperature of 126. Scientists say that climate change is making heat waves more intense and more frequent.

Your in-flight ads know where you live now. The commercial that plays in between episodes of The Office or before a movie you didn’t want to pay to see in theaters will henceforth be personalized on United Airlines flights, the Wall Street Journal reported. The ads will reportedly be based on data United has collected from its passengers, including where they’re from, how old they are, and what class of seats they’re sitting in. United says that customers can opt out of the tailored ad experience. The move is part of a growing trend of companies attempting to monetize the heaps of customer data they possess.

Clarence Thomas officially disclosed his luxury trips. The Supreme Court justice finally acknowledged what ProPublica reported last year: He secretly accepted several vacations to Bali in 2019 paid for by Texas billionaire and GOP megadonor Harlan Crow. Thomas made the admission by amending a previous financial disclosure statement that omitted the trips. The annual disclosures are required by law and are one of the only ways the public can learn about Supreme Court justices’ private lives. The report of Thomas’s getaways set off a firestorm of criticism of the court’s ethics, forcing it to adopt its first formal code in November.


The kitty finally roared…and GameStop plunged

Roaring Kitty aka Keith Gill with GameStop stock chart in background Morning Brew/Getty/Yahoo Finance

Welp—number doesn’t always go up when meme king speak. Keith Gill, aka Roaring Kitty, returned to YouTube yesterday for his first signature livestream in three years. And despite how much his public passion for GameStop has helped lift the stock in the past, the video game retailer—which also surprise-released earnings yesterday morning—might wish he hadn’t picked up the mic.

“No real game plan here—just wanted to hop in and see what’s popping,” Gill said to an audience of about 600,000 viewers of the livestream, which started around 25 minutes late.

  • GameStop stock sank from about -20% to -30% on the day as people waited for Gill. The descent chipped away at gains made after he scheduled the livestream on Thursday.
  • For ~50 minutes, Gill didn’t say much of anything—he mostly reiterated his confidence in GameStop’s future and vibed (beer in hand) with the comments section.
  • He ended the stream when $GME reached -40% intraday after several volatility halts, laughingly hinting he didn’t want to sink it any further (it ended the day at -39%).

How’s GameStop doing? The retailer made $1 billion by selling 45 million shares after Gill’s buzzy return to social media last month, and it’s planning to sell another 75 million. But first-quarter sales also fell 29% compared to last year, the company reported yesterday.—ML




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US cricket just shocked the world

Cricket match US vs. Pakistan. Matt Roberts-ICC/Getty Images

It takes a lot to entice US sports fans who already have their brains stuffed with batting averages and passing yards. But this week, the US cricket team beat Pakistan in a match during the Twenty20 World Cup, an upset heralded as one of the biggest in the sport’s history.

Most of the US didn’t even see it. The match on Thursday wasn’t broadcast in the US (and streamed only on obscure services) and took place in a Grand Prairie, TX, stadium that holds just 7,000 people. But the win was still historic: Pakistan’s cricket team is a three-time T20 World Cup finalist, and the players are celebrities in their country.

  • This is the US’ first time playing in the tourney, and there’s still a lot of tough matches ahead. The finals aren’t scheduled until June 29.
  • Team USA players all have day jobs, including Saurabh Netravalkar, who went viral after fans learned he’s a principal engineer at Oracle.

Big picture: The win only adds to the sport’s momentum in the states. The first Major League Cricket season in the US concluded last year, thanks to investments from Big Tech CEOs. A highly anticipated game will take place Sunday in New York between India and Pakistan—the cheapest tickets are already hovering around $700 on resale sites.—MM



Prime number

Zyn cans Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Resources where demand outstrips supply: parking spaces, Taylor Swift concert tickets, and, now, upper decky lip pillows. Zyn, the brand of flavored nicotine pouch that’s skyrocketing in popularity with young people, is increasingly hard to find on store shelves, Bloomberg reports. The company said sales were up 80% in the first quarter to 132 million cans and could reach 560 million by the end of the year. Shops across the US now say they’re out of the pouches. Swedish Match, Zyn’s parent company, was acquired by tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI) in 2022 for $16 billion. On an earnings call earlier this year, PMI’s CFO was evasive when asked about the Zyn shortages, but admitted demand is “creating some tensions on the supply chain.”


What else is brewing

  • The Port of Baltimore is expected to fully reopen this weekend after the last piece of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge is removed from the water.
  • Microsoft reversed course, announcing that after widespread backlash, an AI feature that takes screenshots on new PCs will be turned off by default.
  • Rivian is redesigning its R1 electric vehicles in an effort to cut manufacturing costs and improve performance.
  • Kohl’s, the retail giant based in Milwaukee, said it will not sponsor anything related to the Republican National Convention when the event comes to the city next month.
  • X placed ads in the search results for at least 20 racist hashtags, including #whitepower, according to NBC News.


Saturday To-Do List graphic

Watch: Good Work investigates why CEOs make so much money now.

Read: An in-depth essay on mocktails, boozeless bars, and going alcohol-free.

Learn: How every type of bridge works.

Laugh: A list of rejected UK company names, such as “Super Sonic Booty Bangers Ltd.”

Ship it: Do you work from home but somehow keep finding yourself spending more time at the post office than at your home office? Try for a free, no-risk trial to ship more and wait less. Try now.*

*A message from our sponsor.


The puzzle section

Brew Crossword: For Jack’s first 15x15 crossword, he just wants to say hello. Play it here.

Open House

Welcome to Open House, the only newsletter section that lives in constant fear of Kimmy Gibbler. We’ll give you a few facts about a listing and you try to guess the price.

“Full House” property in San FranciscoGoogle Maps, Coldwell Banker Realty

Today’s home is in San Francisco, CA, and if you don’t recognize it, you must have been more of a Saved by the Bell kid. The 3,737-square-foot house served as the exterior for the Tanner family’s residence in the sitcom Full House. The actual show was filmed at Warner Bros. Studios in LA, but you can pretend you didn’t know that. Amenities include:

  • 4 beds, 3.5 baths
  • Two-car garage
  • The attic where Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky raised their two beautiful boys

How much for a part of Olsen twin history?


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Word of the Day

Today’s Word of the Day is: henceforth, meaning “from this point on.” Thanks to Cathy from Denver, CO, for suggesting a word no one uses anymore. Submit another Word of the Day here.


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