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  • Tuesday's Scoop: Floating 🌤️

Tuesday's Scoop: Floating 🌤️

General Mills racial discrimination & Facebook brings back youths

 
Hey friend - welcome back to your daily scoops on the economy and companies impacting your life.
Here’s what you need to know today to inform your work, spending, and investments…

 

🌎 Big picture

  1. The excess supply of job openings has nearly dried up.

  2. Nationwide landlord collusion may be to blame for skyrocketing rents.

  3. Europeans are getting free electricity thanks to solar and wind power surpluses.

How are you feeling about the economy?

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 💼 Work trends

Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Still near the lowest rate in 50+ years

The excess supply of job openings has nearly dried up. Companies have dramatically reduced their hiring plans but aren’t letting their workers go. The Labor Department’s April Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) revealed open roles dropped to 8.1 million, their lowest since February 2021. This decline means there are now fewer job openings for each job seeker, down from 1.3 to 1.24 openings per unemployed person. It’s much closer to the ~7 million openings pre-pandemic. Despite the decrease, layoffs remain at the lowest level since December 20202, and the number of people quitting their jobs is stable, suggesting the job market is normalizing rather than collapsing.

 

 🌊 Climate trends

Global Energy Emissions: 37.4 billion tonnes of CO2
An all-time high, up 1.1% from 2022. (IEA)

Europe experienced an unusual surge in free electricity thanks to a significant oversupply of solar and wind power last month. This surplus led to negative electricity prices, benefiting over a million consumers who could charge their vehicles and heat their homes at no cost. While this is great when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, it indicates that there is not enough energy storage yet in the system to collect the power in times of excess and redistribute it when natural energy slows. Ironically, the strength of wind and solar power could also slow investment in renewable energy projects, as frequent negative pricing diminishes financial returns. The solution lies in expanding energy storage capabilities to balance supply and demand, ensuring the continued growth of renewable energy without destabilizing the market.

 

🏠 Housing trends

30yr Mortgage Rate: 7.1%
That’s up from 6.7% a year ago. (MBA)
Median Home Price: $407,600
That’s up from $386K a year ago. (NAR)

Rents have surged over 30% in the past four years, partly due to corporate landlords allegedly conspiring to inflate prices. The FBI recently raided Cortland Management, a prominent Atlanta landlord, as part of a broader investigation into this potential conspiracy. At the center of the probe is RealPage software, which supposedly helps landlords fix prices by sharing detailed rental data. This practice has led to artificially high rents, affecting millions of tenants nationwide. The outcome of this investigation could have significant implications for rental markets nationwide.

 

 📈 Investment trends

The Market: ⬆️ +0.2%
S&P 500: 5,291.34
1Mo: +2% | 1Yr: +24% | 5Yr: +84%

The market drifted sideways again today without much major news to shift the narrative that the economy is slowing but not enough to encourage policymakers to reduce the cost of borrowing money. The hiring market has dried up significantly since last year.

 

 🤓 Inside Scoop: How much should I have in my savings account?

Building savings is a core aspect of budgeting, and it always starts with a thorough review of our expenses. Once we know how much we’re spending, we can figure out a target savings account balance.

We can’t have too much savings. The important thing to watch is how much we have in cash versus other investments. If we have enough to cover our short-term expenses with a buffer for emergencies, we will often consider investing that extra long-term savings in assets like stocks that could grow more over time.

Finding the right amount for our emergency cash savings isn’t an exact science. We’re planning for an unexpected emergency, such as a health issue or getting laid off. The average length of unemployment is roughly 4-5 months, so 3-6 months offers a rough estimate of the cash we might need to cover our expenses if we lose our job. The more expenses or dependents we have, the more savings we should consider building.

🏭 Companies worth watching

👍👎 APPROVAL RATINGS

How are these companies doing? Judge their decisions. Investing starts with an opinion. (+2 pts)

General Mills

Serial Discrimination

General Mills faces a racial discrimination lawsuit from Black employees at its Georgia plant alleging White workers were prioritized for promotions while Black workers faced racial intimidation and harsher criticism.

The food company may owe potential damages to hundreds of employees if found to violate civil rights laws.

Tell General Mills' CEO how you feel

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Amazon

Racial Bias

Amazon must face a discrimination lawsuit from a Black employee alleging that the company conspired to push her out by sidelining her work based on racial bias.

The tech giant will have to navigate an evolving legal environment that has made grounds for discriminatory lawsuits less clear.

Tell Amazon's CEO how you feel

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Meta Platforms

Youth Resurgence

Meta reported the highest number of young adults on Facebook in three years, with more than 40 million US and Canadian adults aged 18 to 29 checking the platform daily.

The social giant has focused on attracting younger users amid fierce competition from platforms like TikTok.

Tell Meta's CEO how you feel

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Citigroup

Supporting Parents

America's third-largest bank enhanced its parental leave benefits in the US by providing up to 24 weeks of paid leave for birth parents, aligning with industry leaders.

Citibank hopes to attract and retain skilled employees amidst heightened competition from other Wall Street firms.

Tell Citigroup's CEO how you feel

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 💭 Broader perspectives… (+2pts)

How much paid parental leave does your company offer?

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Intel

AI Chip Wars

Intel unveiled new artificial intelligence chips to compete with Nvidia and AMD, aiming to regain lost ground in the AI industry with improved performance and lower prices.

The chipmaker aims to regain its dominance across the chip design and manufacturing industry, spending billions on new facilities.

Tell Intel's CEO how you feel

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