📈 U.S. stocks finished the week essentially unchanged as the market digested a mix of economic data and corporate earnings.
One of the biggest storylines last week: rocky relationships between employers and employees.
Since the end of the pandemic, employers have been trying their best to get employees back in the office. The first tactic was to implement strict “back to work” mandates with harsh consequences for those who didn’t comply. Since these tactics haven’t quite worked, employers have started offering relocation bonuses to new employees willing to move and work in person.
On top of the power struggle of where employees should work, many companies are still trimming their workforces. Last week, Disney, BuzzFeed, and Meta all announced major layoffs. Notably, Meta has started laying off engineers and tech workers.
💼 Economic Data
Last week, jobless claims rose higher as layoffs continued to mount.
Unemployment claims for the week ended April 15th rose by 5,000 to 245,000 — higher than expected, and well above than the 2019 average of 218,000.
This data signals that the labor market is cooling as more companies continue to let go of employees. The total number of tech layoffs through the three months of 2023 is already up to 168,243, more than all of the layoffs in 2022.
👀 What to Be on the Lookout for This Week
This week will be jam-packed with earnings announcements, as most of the Dow Jones companies are set to offer investors updates.
Here are just a few of the companies reporting:
Tech: Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Spotify, Roku, Meta Platforms
Defense: Honeywell, Boeing, Raytheon
Oil: Chevron, Exxon Mobil
Other: 3M, Chipotle, McDonald’s, UPS, Coca Cola, Caterpillar, Colgate-Palmolive
In particular, keep an eye out for Microsoft and Google as they provide updates on the closely-watched AI arms race.
In non-earnings news, the Q1 growth rate for America’s GDP will be released Thursday. During the last quarter of 2022, the American economy expanded by 2.6%.
⛽ 3 Tips To Keep In Mind as Gas Prices Rise
According to travel website AAA, the national average for a gallon of gas is sitting at $3.62. This might sound manageable compared to the almost-apocalyptic prices we saw last year, when gas shot past $5 per gallon.
That said, the price of gas has still crept up over the past few weeks. And it’s not expected to drop anytime soon.
Why Are Prices Rising?
In early April, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, surprised most of the world by unexpectedly deciding to cut back on the amount of crude oil they export by about 500,000 barrels per day. This will reduce the global amount of crude oil which, in turn, will increase the cost of gas prices.
In addition to this lower supply, US oil refineries are operating at a lower rate than normal, a by-product of the pandemic. These refineries are needed to turn crude oil into gas that can be used in cars.
Both of these events are occurring at a bad time, as we head into the summer months, when demand for gas typically surges. Historically, gas prices tend to peak around Memorial Day weekend.
With all that in mind, experts expect gas to hit $4 at some point this spring or summer. Meanwhile, higher-cost states like California will probably see closer to $5.
3 Ways to Save at the Pump
There’s nothing you can do to slow these gas price increases. But you can offset them by reducing the number of times you fill up per month. You can do this by trying to increase your car’s gas mileage.
One of the best ways to do this is by cleaning out your car’s trunk. Car trunks, just like closets or the spare chair in your room, are known to turn into makeshift storage units over time. There’s a good chance that you’re lugging around excess weight at any given moment.
A few of the most common culprits include golf clubs, cases of water or other beverages, and boxes of junk you keep meaning to throw out. By removing these from your trunk, you’ll lighten your car’s load and help it get better gas mileage.
Once you’ve removed any non-essential items from your car, make sure your tires are inflated up to the recommended PSI in your owner’s manual. Not only can driving around on underinflated tires reduce your mileage by about 0.2% per pound — it’s also dangerous.
Finally, do your best to consolidate trips when you’re out running errands. Cutting down on just one excess car ride per day can compound over the months. It might not feel like much at the time, but your wallet will thank you later.
✈️ Adventuring on a Budget: How Gen Z Is Prioritizing Travel
Growing Up Social
If you’re part of the Gen X or Baby Boomer generations, you may only plan on gassing up for a vacation about once a year. Meanwhile, members of the younger generation are tripling this travel rate — over 50% of Gen Z adults took 3 or more leisure trips in the past year. Millennials also show a strong preference for travel and, on this issue, are less likely to side with Gen X than Gen Z.
One likely culprit for Gen Z’s travel bug? Social media.
Most millennials have been on social media for the majority of their lives. But Gen Z was the first generation to truly grow up with Instagram and Facebook. For this generation, scrolling timelines, commenting on friends' trips, and discovering new places to travel are second nature.
Making It Work
Despite their lofty travel ambitions, most Gen Zers plan trips on a shoestring budget.
According to a study by Morning Consult, only 11% of Gen Z travelers make $100,000 or more per year. The majority, 61%, earn less than $50,000. This is likely why some two-thirds of Gen Z prefer to go with the cheapest travel option when booking a flight or hotel room. But being short of cash hasn’t stopped Gen Z so far.
In order to fund trips, Gen Z has no problem cutting back on non-essential items to make room for travel. In a study conducted from 2021 to 2022, Gen Z’s spending on fashion, tech, and food decreased by 7%, 6%, and 12% respectively. Meanwhile, their spending on travel surged by 60%.
Notably, this study was conducted amid some of the highest cost of living increases in the past few decades. Gen Z is showing time and again that traveling is a higher priority than almost any other expense.
(Tip: You can use Allio to save up for short-term goals like travelling!)
Not only is Gen Z traveling more than their older peers — they’re also doing it for slightly different reasons.
Granted, the top three reasons for traveling stayed the same across all generations: relaxing, getting away, and spending time with family. But 68% of Gen Z also stated they want to experience a new culture when traveling.
It might be easy to assume the real reason 20-somethings want to visit other countries is to party until the break of dawn. But that appears not to be the case either. Only 21% of respondents stated “nightlife & clubbing” was a priority for them while overseas.
Since each generation grows up under a different set of circumstances, there are almost always small quirks that separate kids from their parents. When it comes to Gen Z, it’s becoming apparent they want to book flight tickets, see the world, and experience other cultures — even if they’re flying economy.
Social media giant Meta agreed to pay a settlement of $725 million to its users for misusing their data. If you've had a Facebook account within the last 15 years you may qualify for a payout.
More than half of Americans are not on track to retire comfortably. This may be because roughly 50 million Americans work for small businesses or gig employers, which generally do not offer retirement plans.
Due to inflation and higher interest rates, a record 69% of Americans feel negative about the economy. Accordingly, a recent survey showed President Joe Biden’s approval rating slipped 2 points to 39%.
Target is doubling down on its partnership with plant stylist Hilton Carter to expand its home décor line. In doing so, the retailer hopes to better compete with Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Apple just opened its first store in Mumbai, generally considered the economic center of India. The iPhone maker is hoping India will become its next big growth market and reduce dependence on China.
Lululemon’s most recent shirt was made using microorganisms, not fossil fuels. This is part of the athleisure brand’s goal to make 100% of its products with sustainable materials by 2030.