Morning Brew - ☕️ Disappointing

Recapping Apple's wild week...
September 04, 2021 View Online | Sign Up

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Cometeer

Good morning. As a means of normalizing “not having plans” on holiday weekends, I'd like to declare that I do not have any plans this weekend.

Well, besides going to the US Open today. If you’re also heading over to Queens, give me a shout. We can shake hands, wave from a distance...whatever people do these days.

Neal Freyman

MARKETS

Nasdaq

15,363.52

S&P

4,535.43

Dow

35,369.09

Bitcoin

$50,099.03

10-Year

1.326%

Ethereum

$3,930.64

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 6:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

Markets: Stocks broadly fell after a big jobs report whiff, but tech companies lifted the Nasdaq higher. With the stock market closed for the next three days, let’s check in on crypto, where bitcoin is on a nice little run and ethereum briefly topped $4,000 for the first time since May.

ECONOMY

Delta Crashes the Jobs Party

Crashing through a window

Giphy

The August jobs report fell flatter than a high schooler’s rendition of “Defying Gravity.”  

US employers added just 235,000 jobs last month, compared to the 720,000 expected. Hiring was expected to fall from the 1.1 million jobs added in July and 962,000 in June, but nowhere near this much. It was the smallest employment gain in seven months.

What happened: All our fears that Delta would slow the labor market’s recovery came true. 

  • Leisure and hospitality, a sector that falters when Covid anxieties are higher, reported no job increases last month. It was averaging 350,000 new jobs a month over the past six months.
  • Other industries that require in-person interaction also suffered. Restaurants lost 42,000 jobs, and retailers lost 29,000.

So which parts of the economy added jobs? Professional and business services, manufacturing, and transportation—industries that are not nearly as affected by the pandemic as those in hospitality.

In total, there are 5.6 million fewer workers holding jobs in the US now than before the pandemic hit.

What happens next?

This jobs report whiff will reverberate around DC. 

  • The Biden administration will use it to show the economy still needs more support from the government, while urging the passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion spending package.
  • It also could delay the Fed’s plan to wind down its pandemic-era stimulus measures, which Chair Jerome Powell indicated would begin this fall.

Looking ahead...the extra $300/week in federal unemployment benefits will expire this weekend for all the states that hadn’t ended them early. Studies show that it’s not likely to bring about major hiring increases, so don’t get your hopes up for a huge jobs rebound in September. 

        

COVID

Boosters Turn Into a Three-Shot Circus

Vaccine tracker

When it comes to rolling out Covid-19 vaccine booster shots, the Biden administration may have put the cart before the horse, counted its chickens before they hatched, ran before it—you get the point.

Federal health officials, including the acting commissioner of the FDA and the director of the CDC, have reportedly told the White House to scale back its plan to offer third vaccine shots later this month until they can review more data.

The backstory: President Biden announced that Americans who received Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccine could begin getting their third shots the week of Sept. 20, as long as it had been at least eight months since they got their second shot.

But in a meeting at the White House this week, health leaders said those initial boosters might need to be limited to just those who got Pfizer’s vaccine, per reports. 

Big picture: The necessity of third shots is still dividing the scientific community. While Dr. Fauci said this week that a third shot is “very likely” needed for a full regimen, other experts say there isn’t enough evidence yet to justify launching boosters. 

        

TECH

Apple's Crazy Week

Gold Apple

Francis Scialabba

While many companies tried to make as little news as possible this week, Apple had one of the busiest stretches of the year. Let’s do this Memento-style and work backward. 

Yesterday: Apple said it would delay the rollout of its new software that scans devices for child sexual abuse content so it can make improvements. The tech had come under fire from privacy advocates.

Thursday: A legal double whammy. 

  • A judge refused to throw out a lawsuit that accuses Apple’s Siri of recording private conversations and sending them to third parties. 
  • The Financial Times also reported that the US National Labor Relations Board is investigating allegations that Apple retaliated against a senior engineer who complained about a harmful workplace.

Wednesday: Apple offered its second App Store concession in less than a week, allowing companies like Netflix and Spotify to direct users to payment methods outside of the App Store. It also announced the beginning of the end for the physical wallet.

Zoom out: Apple is trying to minimize damage to its lucrative App Store as it looks to the bigger picture—the expected launch of its newest iPhone model this month. 

        

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GRAB BAG

Key Performance Indicators

BADEN-BADEN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 04: Banksy's

Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images

Stat: Remember in 2018 when Banksy’s famous “Girl With Balloon” painting self-destructed after being bought at auction for $1.4 million? That half-shredded painting, now known as “Love is in the Bin,” will be sold by Sotheby’s on October 14. Experts estimate it could sell for up to $8.3 million, or six times its previous selling price. 

Quote: “Just bought my first ETH! Let’s do this #cryptotwitter”

Reese Witherspoon is the latest celeb/business mogul dipping her toe into cryptocurrencies. 

Read: They saw a YouTube video. Then they got Tourette’s. (Wired)

        

ENTERTAINMENT

Sugar, Butter, and Flower Returns to Broadway

Sara Bareilles performing in Waitress on Broadway

Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

Finally, some hopeful news to all of us who ate our high school lunches in the band room: Musicals Waitress and Hadestown returned to sold-out Broadway theaters Thursday night. 

Big picture: Covid has been more damaging for the musical theater industry than Russell Crowe’s turn as Javert. Broadway shut down its 41 theaters on March 12, 2020, devastating those who work in the sector as well as the Midtown Manhattan businesses supported by them.

Which is why Broadway’s return is so critical for NYC’s recovery, both economically and emotionally. In fact, the crowd was so overwhelmed with joy at Waitress that they gave a standing ovation to a prerecorded message telling them to keep their masks on, per the NYT.

Looking ahead...Broadway’s return will really pick up steam on September 14, when heavyweights The Lion King, Hamilton, Wicked, and Chicago will restart performances. 

        

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • Bumble and Match Group are creating relief funds for people affected by Texas’s new abortion law. The rest of corporate America has stayed mostly silent on the issue.
  • Democrats are planning several new tax schemes to pay for their $3.5 trillion budget bill, targeting firms with outsized CEO pay and companies that buy back lots of their stock.
  • Meat giant Tyson Foods is offering frontline workers paid sick leave for the first time as part of its deal with a union.
  • Remington, the gunmaker being sued by families of victims killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, has subpoenaed the records of nine of those victims.
  • The US will admit at least 50,000 Afghans for resettlement following the Taliban’s takeover of their country, per Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

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BREW'S BETS

The only “One”: To celebrate Keanu Reeves’s birthday this week, watch one of his training sessions for the fight scenes in The Matrix

Weekend Conversation Starters:

GAMES

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Written by Neal Freyman

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