☕️ Not so transitory

Inflation rockets even higher...
November 11, 2021 View Online | Sign Up

Morning Brew


Good morning. On Veterans Day, we want to express our deep gratitude to all those who have served in the US military.

  • Here's one quick factoid: Gulf War-era veterans now make up the largest share of US veterans, having passed Vietnam-era veterans in 2016.
  • And another: The share of veterans who are women is projected to increase significantly, from 11% currently to 18% in 2046.

On a logistical note, most banks are closed today but the stock market is open.

Neal Freyman, Jamie Wilde, Matty Merritt














*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 6:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: It was an eventful day on Wall Street after the government dropped a red-hot inflation report. Tech stocks got clobbered and bond yields spiked, while inflation hedges like gold also jumped.
  • Covid: After declining for weeks, the number of Covid-19 cases in the US has leveled off at an average of more than 74,000/day. 1,200+ people/day are dying from Covid, a slight increase from last week.

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We put our knowledge of options into practice in the latest episode of Fresh Invest, our podcast with Fidelity. Listen now.


Inflation Right Now

Vin Diesel saying "I like it here"


Inflation said it just needed a place to crash while it got back on its feet, but now it's officially moved in.

Consumer prices rocketed higher than expected last month, jumping 6.2% annually for their biggest increase in 31 years, the Labor Department reported yesterday.

Everything from your gas bill to your breakfast is getting more expensive:

  • Fuel oil prices climbed 12.3% last month and are now up 59.1% compared to last year.
  • Meat, poultry, fish, and eggs increased 1.7% last month and have climbed 11.9% for the year.

There is good news for anyone planning a Miami vacation: Prices for alcohol and airline tickets fell.

How did we get here? To make a long story short, the economic reopening from the pandemic caused all sorts of disruptions, from labor shortages to supply chain bottlenecks, which have contributed to rising prices.

This is now becoming a political issue

With inflation coming in above 5% for five straight months now, many Americans are getting a little freaked out, and they are looking to policymakers for answers.

Officials are also frustrated—inflation was supposed to be a summer fling, not a serious relationship. "I had expected to see more progress by now," Chicago Fed President Charles Evans acknowledged this week.

The Fed now believes that inflation will run hot well into next year, which has bolstered its plan to hike rates and cool down the economy. It's already planning to reduce its monthly bond purchases that propped up markets during the pandemic.

Zoom out: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stressed on Tuesday that officials won't let inflation get as out of control as it did during periods of the '70s and '80s. "That isn't happening now and the Federal Reserve wouldn't permit that to happen," she said. But it's being put to the test.—NF



Starbucks Union Effort Gains Steam

Starbucks coffee cup with steam coming out of it

Francis Scialabba

Approximately 100 baristas at three Starbucks locations around Buffalo, NY, began voting yesterday on whether to unionize.

It'd be historic. The coffee chain has dodged previous unionization efforts by offering pay increases and venti-sized benefit packages. But Buffalo-area employees say they deserve a bigger piece of the chain's record-breaking revenue ($29 billion last fiscal year), especially after the pandemic put a spotlight on the safety risks of their jobs.

Starbucks really doesn't want a second Bills Mafia. The company has urged employees to vote "no" on unionization and has sent what seems like every top exec on an upstate New York vacay.

  • It even pulled some out of retirement. Howard Schultz, the former CEO, flew to Buffalo on Saturday to give a 45-minute speech about Sbux's incredible company culture.

Big picture: Whether or not your PSL is part of labor activism history, the outcome of this union vote could reverberate across the rest of the restaurant industry, where recently empowered workers are fed up with mistreatment.—MM



On 11/11, Make a Wish and Instantly Gratify It

Before Amazon Prime Day, there was Alibaba's Singles Day—a mega Chinese shopping event that starts on Nov. 1 and culminates with a grand finale today.

Last year, Singles Day generated nearly three times as much in sales for Alibaba as Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, and Black Friday combined did across the US.

But China's biggest shopping holiday has been decidedly less hyped this year. The Chinese government has been bearing down on tech giants and pushing companies toward achieving "common prosperity," which Alibaba added to its "core corporate responsibilities" list in September.

  • Earlier in the year, Alibaba was fined a record $2.8 billion for antitrust violations, and cofounder Jack Ma has largely stayed out of the public eye for about a year (not his style).

Since the government's new groove doesn't jibe with Alibaba raking in billions on luxury goods, this year the company's been playing down Singles Day marketing and instead playing up its sustainable growth initiatives and support for small businesses.

Looking ahead...analysts expect this Singles Day to top last year's sales, possibly because a record number of merchants are participating. But it'll only set a record by a slim margin, in part due to supply chain disruptions related to the pandemic.—JW



Sorry, but That's a Sexy Goat


Might be a weird thing to say, but just look at that goat and tell us he isn't a bodacious barnyard bleater. 

You can't. 

But you can exude the same animal magnetism by scooping up some of the cozy clothes he's modeling for Naadam

Naadam makes the world's fairest cashmere. They go straight to the source of the planet's best cashmere—Mongolia's Gobi Desert. They work with herders to get you high-quality, sustainable, and scrumptiously soft knitwear. 

What that means is Naadam's prices are fair—for them and for you. 

The best part? For Singles Day, Naadam is offering 30% off sitewide (some exclusions apply) with code FORYOU. So you can get something soft for you (though if you want to get some holiday gifts for a partner or a pal, we won't tell). 

Naadam is ready to ship in 48 hours or less—get shopping here


Key Performance Indicators

Stat: What have y'all been getting up to while working from home? Sales of pregnancy tests have increased by an annual average of 13% since June 2020, Bank of America wrote, which may indicate a "millennial baby boom." It's a bullish sign for retailers like Target, Walmart, and Costco, BofA said.

Quote: "We consider Portugal one of the best places in the world for these digital nomads and remote workers to choose to live in."

Portugal has made it illegal for your boss to send you a text after work hours. Ana Mendes Godinho, Portugal's Minister of Labor and Social Security, said that the law is intended to improve work-life balance and attract more fully remote workers.

Read: A scientist on the myth of ugly produce and food waste. (Vox)



Tuvalu Not Interested in Being the Next Atlantis

Tuvalu's foreign minister gives an address standing in water

Tuvalu Ministry of Justice

Here's a riddle: If a country becomes completely submerged by water...is it still a country?

Tuvalu wants to know. The tiny nation of 12,000 people in the Pacific Ocean is exploring ways to retain its legal status as a country, as rising sea levels encroach on its land mass. On average, the country sits just 6 feet, 6 inches above sea level.

  • Tuvalu's Foreign Minister Simone Kofe told Reuters, "We're looking at legal avenues where we can retain our ownership of our maritime zones, retain our recognition as a state under international law" if its population were forced to leave.
  • But international law requires a state to have a permanent population and a defined territory, as the WaPo notes.

Big picture: Kofe went viral earlier this week for addressing the COP26 climate summit while standing knee-deep in water. He meant to highlight the growing threat of climate change to low-lying island nations, which have pleaded with industrialized powers to cut emissions and limit warming.

"Frankly speaking, there is no dignity to a slow and painful death," the president of Palau, another Pacific island nation, said. "You might as well bomb our islands instead of making us suffer."—NF



  • Elon Musk sold about $5 billion in Tesla shares this week, a chunk of which was used to cover his tax withholding obligations.
  • EV startup Rivian climbed 29% in its IPO to hit a valuation of $86 billion, a hair below GM's market cap.
  • Disney whiffed on its earnings as Disney+ subscriber growth hit a speedbump.
  • Uber was sued by the DOJ for allegedly charging "wait time" fees to people with disabilities.



The best gift? One that fights inflammation and tastes delish . This holiday season, tell inflammation to beat it with Sakara's Metabolism Super Powder. It has herbs—like kelp extract—that fight inflammation. Drawn from brown seaweed, kelp extract has potent antioxidant properties and has been clinically studied to activate thermogenesis, which supports lipid metabolism and reduces inflammation. Get an exclusive discount with code NOVBREW today.


Don't think: Just stack rocks.

A year in sleep: One person visualized their daughter's complete first year of sleep, and you should definitely check it out.

Looking to get smarter in business? Catch up on the latest Business Casual episodes:


The Puzzle Section

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Three Headlines and a Lie

Three of these news headlines are real and one is faker than Lady Gaga's accent in House of Gucci. Can you guess the odd one out?

  1. Man eaten by piranhas after jumping into lake to escape bees
  2. CNN releases teaser for "Zillow debacle" special hosted by Property Brothers
  3. A man donated his body to science and then a company sold $500 tickets to his dissection
  4. Missing girl is rescued after using hand signal from TikTok


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We made up the Zillow one

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Written by Neal Freyman, Jamie Wilde, and Matty Merritt

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