Americans are tired of quitting

And more of the week's best financial insight

Person walking out of the office with a cardboard box.
(Image credit: Anchalee Phanmaha | Gettyimages)

Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:

The great SPAC robbery

Insiders profited to the tune of billions of dollars before their SPAC deals went bust, said Tom McGinty, Shane Shifflett and Amrith Ramkumar in The Wall Street Journal. SPACs, or special-purpose acquisition companies, are shell firms that go public for the sole purpose of merging with a hot startup, which then replaces the SPAC in the stock market. SPAC creators are given a unique incentive: They are allowed to buy 20% of the company at a deep discount. A review of SEC filings found 232 SPACs with insider sales, and "on average, insiders sold about $22 million of shares each" — for a total of $22 billion in sales. Some of the biggest winners, like Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson and convicted Nikola founder Trevor Milton, made hundreds of millions of dollars before shares in their companies plummeted. Branson sold 75% of his holdings for more than $1.4 billion; Virgin Galactic shares are down more than 90% from their high.

Americans are tired of quitting

The "Great Resignation" era appears to be over, said Greg Iacurci at CNBC. Though the labor market remains tight, "the rate at which Americans quit their jobs has steadily declined" during the past year. The "quits rate" dropped to 2.4% in April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — that's back to being "roughly on par with the monthly pre-pandemic average." A record 50.5 million people voluntarily left their positions in 2022 to either take a better gig or wait for something else. That's because many workers — thanks partly to a savings boost from the pandemic stimulus packages of 2020 and 2021 — felt they had unprecedented leverage to demand higher wages or leave unfulfilling jobs. This year, "workers appear more nervous."

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The downside of the exurban exodus

The average annual commute costs $2,000 and takes 39 hours longer than it did before the pandemic, said Chloe Berger in Fortune. An analysis of government data by real estate matching service Clever Real Estate found that "the average American is shelling out $8,466 and spends 239 hours" simply getting to and from the office. Many workers who moved out of cities to work remotely during the pandemic are now being called back to the office, "making the commute a bit longer (and more expensive)." The cost of commuting is a big reason why "many workers are so resistant" to returning to their desks.

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