Materials for the early new mRNA vaccines are becoming harder to get, and they are hard to manufacture and store. But there’s another vaccine on the horizon that could solve some of those problems, and keep vaccination efforts moving. A vaccine created by Maryland-based biotech company, Novavax, showed 89.3% efficacy in a Phase III UK trial with 15,000 participants. The company is anticipating receiving emergency-use authorization from the FDA in May, and is set to expand vaccine trials in Q2 to include children and teens, and to begin crossover trials that will ensure all participants, including U.S. study participants, receive an active vaccine candidate.
Stripe has soared past SpaceX and pushed past Instacart to become the most valuable startup in the country. Earlier in the month, the company announced a new $600 million round of funding that included investors like Sequoia Capital, Fidelity Management, and Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency and puts Stripes current valuation at $95 billion. For those keeping track, the figure has nearly tripled since Stripe’s previous valuation of $36 billion last year. With this most recent round of funding Stripe, which builds software that allows businesses to process payments online, has become the most valuable private company to come out of Silicon Valley–and it’s little wonder why.
Given the positive news of late and the broader trends around the pandemic, it’s tempting to start this post by noting that things seem to be slowly but surely starting to return to normal. But of course, that’s an entirely absurd notion. I’m not sure normal is still a thing. And in any event, the world is just about as bat-shit crazy as ever and the best that can be said is that maybe, just maybe, we’ve let up ever so slightly on the accelerator as we barrel down the highway toward the cliff of irreversible insanity. There’s a decent chance, in fact, that we drove off that cliff years ago and still have no idea.
While the past year has made good news a rarity, we’re happy to say we’ve found a bright spot: job listings in the U.S. are back to pre-covid levels. (We’ll pause here for a collective ‘woo hoo!’). Make no mistake, with the pandemic still far from over, we remain in historic and uncharted territory. Unemployment was still at 6.2% in February, and we are in the midst of a female recession with countless women now missing from the labor force. However, when little feels familiar or certain, it is encouraging to see good news in the job listings numbers. We anticipate employment numbers will also continue to rise, as job listings are generally predictive of future hires. We saw job demand continue to rise since the pandemic crash witnessed last spring, and 2021 has largely seen that growth continue.
The pandemic has tested businesses across all industries, but it seems some are emerging stronger than ever. One example of this may be Salesforce. Job listings at the customer relationship management (CRM) software giant have drastically increased lately. Jobs listings are up 622% since beginning their climb in June of 2020. Prior to this rise, jobs had been relatively steady since 2018.
In our recent Energy Sector Jobs Report, we explore an industry in transition. The shift from traditional fossil fuels to renewable energy sources continues to gain momentum on the heels of a record-breaking year for clean energy installations and acquisitions. The report gives an overview of how job listings in the sector are changing, as well as which companies are growing and which are declining. To expand on this analysis, we decided to take a deep dive into a few standout companies identified in the report to see how their job listings and share prices have changed amid recent growth initiatives.
Over the past few years the number of Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) going public has exploded. A number of those have completed an acquisition and are now trading as that target company. Using SPACtrack.net, we took a look at a subset of these companies hoping to determine whether the hiring patterns of these SPACs could tell us something about their future performance. In our analysis, we separate our SPACs into groups by performance, and dig deeper into each group’s hiring practices to determine what differentiates them.
With fossil fuels on their way out and renewable energy gaining an ever greater foothold, the energy sector is in transition. Recent events like the winter storms in Texas, and their impact on the state’s power grid, have brought conversations about renewable energy to the forefront. Add these new conversations to ongoing concern over climate change, and it is apparent that public sentiment around traditional vs. renewable energy is shifting.
The United States recently hit a grim milestone, with more than 500,000 lives lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. As that number continues to climb, the federal government is stepping up its vaccination push, increasing the number of vaccines it distributes to states. Last week, the government said states were on track to receive 14.5 million doses. This marks a substantial increase from 13.5 million vaccines received the previous week, and 8.6 million in President Biden’s first week in office.
While we’ve had a solid track record over the years with our non-farm payroll forecasts, it’s not often that we’ve actually written in advance the Bloomberg Chyron for jobs Friday, so it’s hard to pass up on the opportunity to start with the images below from last month – starting with our NFP forecast email alert and the Bloomberg screenshot the following day. And unfortunately, our job market data is giving strong indications that February’s jobs report will be equally as disappointing.
Private companies go public for many reasons; to pay off debts, to provide exits for founders, to generate publicity or to fuel growth. Often companies on the verge of growth will increase their expenses, hiring employees to fuel that growth. LinkUp jobs data can provide a unique insight into the type of roles these companies are willing to spend money to fill.
Upon going public last week, America’s No. 2 dating app gained 63% on the day to close at an $8+ billion valuation. The company is trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the symbol “BMBL.” Bumble founder and CEO, Whitney Wolfe Herd, launched the app in 2014 with the intent of creating an online dating space that puts women in control. Bumble has since expanded beyond dating to friendship with their Bumble BFF service and professional networking with Bumble Bizz.
We start the year on a familiar trajectory with job listings increasing in the month of January, just as they did last year. (Here’s hoping this is where the similarities to 2020 end.) Nationwide, job listings are up 4.6% overall, with created job listings up 17.8%. January saw an impressive 82% of states’ job listings grow, with the most substantial increases in Alabama (9.73%), Alaska (8.55%), and Texas (8.44%). States with the most decline in job listings last month were Maine (-13.79%), Montana (-7.25%), and Vermont (-3.64%).
We just published LinkUp’s 2020 Jobs Report, within which we explore the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on labor market conditions, as well as how jobs and industries have shifted in response and how far we’ve traveled on the road to recovery. In this new report we also showcase our S&P 500® LinkUp Jobs Index and share a graph of how each sector index changed last year.
DIY destination Lowe’s has announced plans to hire at least 53,000 new employees ahead of the upcoming spring home improvement season. The retailer plans to hold hiring events in all of its more than 1,700 U.S. locations over the next three months in hopes of filling both full and part time openings for cashiers, stockers, loaders and merchandising associates.
Before we jump into our data for January, which is generally positive, there are some particular patterns related to how companies manage their job openings on their own company website that have a material impact on our data every January. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen anyone write about ADP’s Purge Effect where HR departments clean up their payroll systems at year-end and remove people that are no longer employed at the company because they left or were let go during the year, but the increase in activity around job openings in January is quite similar.
Shares of GameStop ($GME) skyrocketed this week, spurred by a coordinated effort by investors on Reddit. The hugely popular subreddit r/WallStreetBets (WSB) has over 2 million members, composed largely of Millennial and GenZ men. Its recent focus on the old school video game retailer has blown up into an epic battle between individual investors and traditional hedge funds–and one recent calculation shows these hedge funds down a collective $25 billion short-selling $GME.
In the most recent edition of our quarterly Economic Indicators Report, we see promising signs of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The fourth quarter of 2020 saw an increase in active job listings and a decrease in volatility. Overall, total active job listings increased more than 6% in Q4. This is almost an exact flip from the same period in the previous year–Q4 2019 saw active job listings down 5%. At the state level, the quarter showed widespread positive movement. An impressive 49 states saw gains over the quarter, leaving South Dakota as the only state with a loss in active listings.
2020 saw nationwide job listings down 2% year-over-year. Surprisingly, given the overall economic turmoil incited by the pandemic, just 5 months last year saw decline, while 7 months showed growth. At the lowest point job openings were down 27%, but by the end of 2020 jobs were back up to 67% of pre-COVID levels.
2020 had one last dance move to bust out, and it will change the way you look at robotics, and think about the future. Boston Dynamics robots are dancing like no one is watching (though we know Elon Musk is keeping close tabs). The company’s fleet of robots are specializing and mastering new skills, and they are starting to sell. Their intimidating Spot the dog robot is currently up for grabs for $74,500 (with 400 already sold).