The daily business briefing: February 2, 2022
The national debt surpasses $30 trillion for the first time, 4.3 million people left their jobs in December, and more
National debt rises above $30 trillion
The U.S. national debt surpassed $30 trillion for the first time on Tuesday, according to the Treasury Department. The coronavirus pandemic has fueled a $7 trillion increase since the end of 2019. The U.S. government owes more than $6 trillion of the debt to itself through government trust funds, but nearly $8 trillion of the total is owed to Japan, China, and other foreign creditors. Deficit concerns were a factor in stalling negotiations over President Biden's $2 trillion Build Back Better proposal, which sought to expand the social safety net and increase spending to fight climate change. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), one of two Democratic moderates who kept Biden's package from clearing the evenly divided Senate, said one reason he couldn't back the bill was that it would increase the nation's "staggering debt."
4.3 million people quit jobs in December, down slightly from record
About 4.3 million people quit or changed jobs in the United States in December, down slightly from the record 4.5 million resignations in November, according to the Labor Department's latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover report, released Tuesday. The data provided further evidence that the labor market is in flux as the economy recovers from earlier coronavirus pandemic damage while employees struggle to adjust as schools, workplaces, and day-care centers close or alter their operations due to the COVID-19 surge fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant. Employers reported 10.9 million job openings, far above pre-pandemic levels. "All of this is uncharted territory," says Rucha Vankudre, a senior economist at labor market analytics firm Emsi Burning Glass.
Stock futures rise as strong earnings lift Google-parent Alphabet
Nasdaq futures jumped early Wednesday after the tech-heavy index posted its third straight day of gains. Nasdaq futures were up by 1.4 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up by 0.1 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively. Alphabet gave the market a boost, rising by more than 10 percent in pre-market trading after the Google parent reported quarterly results that beat analysts' expectations. Alphabet also announced a 20-for-1 stock split. Shares of Advanced Micro Devices also rose after the microchip maker reported strong earnings. The Nasdaq and the Dow rose by about 0.8 percent on Tuesday. The S&P 500 rose by 0.7 percent.
Graham Nash, India Arie latest singers to leave Spotify over Joe Rogan
Graham Nash and India Arie on Tuesday became the latest artists to pull their music from Spotify in protest of what Nash called podcaster Joe Rogan's COVID-19 "disinformation." "The opinions publicized by Rogan are so dishonest and unsupported by solid facts that Spotify becomes an enabler in a way that costs people their lives," the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young singer said. Arie, who hosts the podcast "SongVersation," said she also objected to Rogan's "language around race." Rogan recently faced a backlash for saying "the term Black" is "weird" unless used to describe a person who is "100 percent African, from the darkest place, where they're not wearing any clothes all day."
Ex-Dolphins coach Brian Flores accuses NFL, 3 teams of hiring discrimination
Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing the NFL and three teams — the Dolphins, the Broncos, and the Giants — of racial discrimination in their hiring practices, against him and other Black coaches. Flores alleges that the owner of the Dolphins, who fired him last month after he led the team to its first back-to-back winning seasons since 2003, tried to get him to intentionally lose games so the team would get better draft picks. He also says the Broncos and the Giants interviewed him for head coaching jobs just to comply with the NFL's Rooney Rule requiring teams to interview minority candidates for open jobs, which both teams denied. The lawsuit seeks damages on behalf of all Black coaches.