🐤 Mo money, mo problems

You might think that earning more is the key to a good life, but not necessarily in this economy.

Wednesday | November 8th, 2023
Early Chirp

Happy Wednesday, chirpers! We’re deep into another pumpkin spice season when lattes, cookies, and even macaroni and cheese (yes, really) start sporting the ubiquitous flavor of fall.

But if you’re not on board with the infusion of pumpkin spice into every product imaginable, you’re actually in pretty good company. Hospitality icon Martha Stewart recently weighed in with her thoughts of the flavor, asserting: “In a pie, I love it. In anything else, I do not love it.”

-Chris Agee

$121.08 (0.90%)
Dow Jones
$56.74 (0.17%)
S&P 500
$12.40 (0.28%)
-$0.00 (-0.02%)
$364.70 (1.04%)
-$0.73 (-6.67%)
*Market data for this issue is from November 7th, 2023 at 6:25pm EST

🏦 Markets: A winning streak continued on Wall Street yesterday, led by the Nasdaq’s gain of nearly 1%.

Investors seem bolstered by a belief that interest rate hikes might be coming to an end, since signs of a cooling economy indicate efforts to bring down inflation are starting to show results. But the Federal Reserve hasn’t ruled out future increases, so we’ll see if these market gains are sustainable in the long term.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown Giphy

🚗 Remote control: As automobiles become more technologically advanced, there’s also growing privacy concerns regarding access that people other than a vehicle’s owner might have. That issue came to light recently when a Tesla owner realized that his car’s remote access feature could be turned off and on. This is a seemingly small, but nonetheless significant, step toward addressing privacy complaints about a company that was recently ranked dead last for protecting customer data.

🚭 No smoking: Laws against lighting up a cigarette in public have been increasingly strict over the past several decades, but one’s own vehicle has generally been a refuge for those who need to feed their nicotine habit. That changed in Delaware recently … at least for motorists who have a minor in the car with them. A new bill signed into law by Gov. John Carney prohibits smoking statewide inside of automobiles with an occupant under the age of 18.

💸 We(Don’t)Work: It’s been the subject of widespread speculation, but now it’s official. WeWork, the company that sought to revolutionize the way companies look at office space, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. After peaking at an estimated value of $47 billion in 2019, the pandemic and mounting concerns about its business structure have led to massive losses. Most recently, its assets were listed at just over $15 billion with debt totalling $18.65 billion.

🗳️ Election day: While most pundits are looking ahead to next year’s presidential race, plenty of candidates and policies were on the ballot across the United States during yesterday’s off-year election. In addition to gubernatorial races in Kentucky and Mississippi, ballot initiatives related to the hot-button topic of abortion were put to a vote in Ohio and Virginia. Oh, and Ohio also allowed voters to decide whether it would become the 24th state to legalize recreational weed.

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Here’s Why One Particular Group Of High-Income Folks Are Struggling

They're not quite rich, and they might not ever get to be.

Here’s Why One Particular Group Of High-Income Folks Are Struggling Giphy

For many people who aren’t born into extravagantly wealthy families, scoring a high-paying job is an aspiration that can fuel their educational pursuits and justify a lot of hard work.

But just earning a big salary isn’t the same thing as becoming rich … and a growing number of people are learning that fact the hard way as current economic conditions take their toll.

Who is HENRY?

You might not be familiar with the acronym HENRY, but the words it stands for (high-earning, not rich yet) probably make sense to you. And there are more people in this category than you might realize.

In some ways, these people are more susceptible to economic uncertainties than those who bring home substantially less income. Here are some reasons why:

  • They’ve often become accustomed to a higher standard (and cost) of living.
  • Their positions generally offer slower wage growth than those that pay less.
  • These jobs are usually found in industries that have been hit by widespread layoffs.

So while the employment market still looks pretty strong for many blue-collar careers, a growing number of HENRYs are living in precarious and stressful times.

“The anti-2000s”

It wasn’t that long ago that workers were eager to break into the tech industry or other hot sectors that offered big salaries and what appeared to be a nonstop pathway to wealth.

But economist Aaron Terrazas said that things have changed substantially across the economy over the past couple of decades, explaining: "If the early 2000s were this economy where there were booming white-collar jobs and a lot of headwinds to blue-collar jobs, it feels like all of those wins have almost reversed, and we're seeing the opposite of what we saw in the early 2000s."

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Is Vegas A Make-Or-Break Factor For Formula One Racing?

It's a big gamble ... even for Sin City.

Is Vegas A Make-Or-Break Factor For Formula One Racing? Shutterstock

Formula One racing has built a legendary reputation across much of the world, but it hasn’t really caught on in the United States. That could be changing due to a major investment by Las Vegas — but those who want to see the sport take off (literally and figuratively) here in the States might end up being disappointed.

Sin City sports

Las Vegas has been working overtime to bring a host of professional sports events to the city in recent years. And in addition to plans for pro basketball, baseball, and football, the city has also pursued an interesting strategy to introduce locals and visitors alike to F1 racing.

The racing organization and city leaders reached an agreement to allow the speeding cars to race along the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. F1 executive Stefano Domenicali touted the partnership as “the biggest postcard that we can present to the world,” and it seemed to really boost interest in the Grand Prix-style races … at least for the Saturday night event debuting later this month.

An uphill battle

Like other sports that are popular in Europe and try to make a go in the U.S. (ahem, soccer), it could take a while before F1 races achieve the kind of success that folks like McLaren team CEO Zak Brown are envisioning.

Nevertheless, he and others who have been integral in the Las Vegas race and other domestic events remain cautiously optimistic.

“We were a European sport that dabbled in America,” he said. “What channel it was on and what city it was in changed every two, three years.”

With some newfound stability and publicity, however, he thinks the sport might really gain a foothold with American audiences.

That remains to be seen, but Vegas should give it the best shot yet.

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Airlines Have Finally Hired A Bunch Of Pilots … But It’s Not All Good News

Experts have some serious concerns about the recent trend.

Airlines Have Finally Hired A Bunch Of Pilots … But It’s Not All Good News Giphy

Commercial air travel hasn’t been a lot of fun in recent years as several issues — most notably, staffing shortages — have caused widespread delays and cancellations at airports.

If you’ve experienced some of that frustration, you might be pleased to know that airlines have been on a hiring spree lately and a host of new pilots are sitting behind the controls in jet cockpits. But there’s more nuance to this story than simple stats would suggest.

Some important context

Although the increase in pilot acquisition among major airline carriers started in 2021, it really kicked into high gear last year. While 2020 was an anomaly since COVID-19 essentially shut down most non-essential airline travel, we might dismiss the paltry 2,398 pilots hired that year.

But let’s take a look at how the the three years since have stacked up against earlier trends:

  • 2021 was the first year in decades that more than 5,000 pilots were hired
  • In 2022, the number more than doubled from the previous year … increasing from 5,426 to 13,128
  • So far in 2023, nearly 10,000 new pilots have gotten their wings

So what happens when all these inexperienced pilots get behind the controls? That’s what a lot of industry insiders — and nervous passengers — want to know.

The underlying risk

The airline industry simply hasn’t ever seen the rapid addition of so many new pilots, which has some folks understandably worried. While there haven’t been any crashes, there have been a number of near misses. And when you’re talking about air travel, there’s really no room for error.

Republic Airways CEO Bryan Bedford noted that “there’s tremendous experience within the industry” but admitted that he has “a concern over the experience in seat,” adding: “I think we should at least ask those questions.”

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Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

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