Good morning, Quartz readers!
Here’s what you need to know
Amazon is laying off more workers than anticipated. The tech giant is looking to cut 18,000 jobs, nearly double the 10,000 announced in November.
2022 marked the worst year for US car sales in more than a decade. Supply chain issues hurt most car manufacturers, except General Motors.
Meta was hit with a $414 million fine for violating the EU’s data privacy law. Regulators ruled that it cannot force users to agree to personalized ads.
A UBS downgrade caused Microsoft shares to slide. The tech giant fell 5.3% on US exchanges on Wednesday (Jan. 4), after the Swiss bank expressed concerns over slowing growth at its Azure and Office units.
Coinbase reached a $100 million settlement with New York regulators. The crypto exchange will pay half of that sum as a fine for breaching anti-money laundering laws, and the rest will be spent on improving its compliance program.
The US has reopened its visa services in Cuba. The embassy has capacity to issue at least 20,000 visas a year, offering a legal pathway at a time of increasing illegal border crossings.
What to watch for
The Great Resignation isn’t over yet. After alternating between staying steady and declining for nine months, the overall quits rate grew to 2.7% in November from 2.6% in October, according to new data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The job openings and labor turnover report is the first in a series of data released this week that will give an updated picture of the US labor market, indicating which actions the Federal Reserve might take to stem inflation.
In at least one aspect, the labor market is cooling off: The hiring rate fell from 4% in October to 3.9% in November. But an increase in Americans leaving their jobs is the opposite of what Fed chair Jerome Powell wants to see. Throughout 2022, he has insisted that the job openings and quits rate should decrease and wage growth should slow to help bring down prices.
Chinese automakers are becoming shipping companies
As China’s vehicle exports boomed over the past two years, pandemic-related supply chain snarls led to overcrowded cargo ships. So what’s an electric vehicle giant like China’s BYD to do? Control the verticals of course, becoming at once ship owner and shipping logistics provider.
BYD is no stranger to vertical integration, having started out as a mobile phone battery maker before manufacturing other electronics, auto components, and finally EVs. Now, the automaker has ordered at least six massive car carriers—and the company is tapping into the other end of the process too, scouting for lithium mines in Africa and mining contracts in Chile, the better to make its own EV batteries (and supply competitors with them, too).
Other Chinese car exporters are jumping on board with their own forays into shipping. And not a moment too soon for the Chinese auto industry—there are roughly 750 car carriers in operation worldwide, and China’s only got 10 of them.
Your work is preventing you from doing your work
This week, Shopify announced a new policy for the calendar-submerged: It’s dropping meetings for employees in the new year.
Well, not all meetings. The recurring ones with more than two people will simply be removed from internal calendars, but honestly, aren’t those the worst? It’s also banning meetings on Wednesdays and for most of Thursdays, giving employees a dedicated block in which they know they’ll be able to work.
Shopify’s not the first company to do this, but should yours be the next? For Quartz at Work, Gabriela Riccardi makes the case.
✦ If you love stories like these, help keep content like this free and accessible to all by becoming a Quartz member. We’re offering 50% off!
Quartz’s most popular
🙈 Elon Musk’s Twitter thinks rockets are “intimate media”
🗳️ US Republicans kept rejecting Kevin McCarthy. How will they pick a House speaker?
💸 More countries are paying people to move out of their overgrown cities
🛠️ Why is Kenya’s new digital payments platform so glitchy?
🏥 GE Healthcare’s stock market debut kicks off the giant’s three-way split
🍿 The biggest movies to watch in theaters in 2023
Europe’s hottest airport is... Istanbul beat out Amsterdam, Paris, and Frankfurt with 1,156 daily flights on average in 2022.
An adult circus bought an entire town in the Mojave Desert. Spiegelworld paid $2.5 million cash for Nipton, California.
Nine croc heads were found in an Egyptian necropolis. And scientists are scratching their heads (their own, not the crocs’) over why they were not mummified.
Slow and steady really does win the race. Running at a slower pace may actually have a bunch of benefits.
A cookable camera has hit the market. A new device can livestream your culinary endeavors from inside the oven.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, oven channels, and city councilclowns to email@example.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Nate DiCamillo, Mary Hui, Sofia Lotto Persio, Julia Malleck, and Susan Howson.