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The employment market recovery continues

“Worker filings for jobless benefits declined to 547,000 last week, a new pandemic low that adds to evidence of a strengthening labor market and overall economic recovery,” The Wall Street Journal’s Amara Omeokwe reports, citing the latest data from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Essential context:  “The overall job market has been making steady gains,” the AP’s Christopher Rugaber notes. “Last month, the nation’s employers added 916,000 jobs, the most since August, in a sign that a sustained recovery is taking hold. The unemployment rate fell from 6.2% to 6%, well below the pandemic peak of nearly 15%.”

You want lettuce on that?

How can you make sense of market and trading data these days? Maybe just ... don’t even try.

Consider this fresh cautionary tale, via CNBC’s Dan Mangan, who reports that the “$100 million deli” has been delisted (deli-sted?):

The $100 million company that owns only a single New Jersey deli was delisted from the OTCQB over-the counter market “for not complying with the rules” and slapped with a warning label for would-be buyers on Wednesday night, the CEO of the company that operates that market said in a tweet. ... Hometown International’s stock has soared over the past year, giving it a market capitalization of $100 million or more—despite sales at its Paulsboro, New Jersey, deli of only about $35,000 combined in the past two years.

What’s going on here? For one thing, Hometown was called out in an April 15 client letter by David Einhorn, an influential hedge fund manager who, in addition to noting the company’s absurd valuation and meager revenue, pointed out that the company’s largest shareholder is also the CEO/CFO/treasurer and “also happens to be the wrestling coach of the high school next door to the deli.”

Einhorn saw/sees Hometown as a symptom of something troubling: 

From a traditional perspective, the market is fractured and possibly in the process of breaking completely. ... Many who would never support defunding the police have supported—and for all intents and purposes have succeeded—in almost completely defanging, if not defunding, the regulators. For the most part, quasi-anarchy appears to rule in markets.

And then, right before Hometown’s delisting, CNBC’s Mangan did a little—how you say?—due diligence: “$100 million NJ deli linked to shell company E-Waste, whose stock has soared despite having no real business” was the headline on that post.

Anyhow, for your executive summary, let’s now turn the mic to Matt Levine, the “Money Stuff” columnist at Bloomberg Opinion, who offers the best distillation we’ve seen yet of “meme stock” mania:

David Einhorn warned people not to invest in Hometown International, even though it had never occurred to them to invest in Hometown International, but once they were warned not to they absolutely did. ... You buy the deli because it’s funny, and because you think other people will find it funny and buy it. You buy the deli because the thing that makes stocks—or Dogecoin, or NFTs—valuable, in 2021, is attention. Even bad attention.

Keep reading here.

See also:  “I Tried the Cheesesteak at Paulsboro, NJ’s Mysterious $100 Million Deli,” from Philadelphia Magazine.

‘Soothing’

If you’ve watched any linear TV lately, you’ve probably seen some of Bed Bath & Beyond’s new “Home, Happier” commercials. Ad Age’s Adrianne Pasquarelli reported on the campaign on April 14 just as it kicked off: “Bed Bath & Beyond debuts first work from Muh-Tay-Zik/Hof-Fer.” And now we’ve got some intel on what consumers think of the retailer’s new ad approach.

According to data shared exclusively with Datacenter Weekly by iSpot’s Ace Metrix—which conducts in-depth consumer opinion surveys surrounding most major ad campaigns that get national TV exposure—the debut 30-second “Home, Happier” spot that appears in Pasquarelli’s post rates 9% above the 90-day norm for “attention” among TV commercials from retail marketers, and 14% above the “likeability” 90-day norm for the same set of advertisers. That performance has earned “Home, Happier” an Ace “Breakthrough” ad designation, meaning it broke through the clutter for survey respondents.

Among the verbatim responses submitted by those surveyed:

• “Everything about this ad was soothing and relaxing. It allowed me to envision the comfort of home. Being able to relate to the busyness of family and the gift of relaxation made the message connect with me more.” —a female in the 26-49 age group

• “It was comforting, welcoming. Not pushy or particularly selling anything, but simply putting their name in front of you and inviting you to shop there. It was tastefully done.” —a male in the 50+ age group

• “The ad was visually appealing. The scenes and characters conveyed a sense of joy and comfort in things relating to one’s home. I felt a renewed interest in the Bed, Bath & Beyond brand because of the ad.” —a female 50+

• “This ad made me feel comfortable. It made me think about getting a new bed.” —a male 21-25

Just briefly

Who gets to see app store data?  “Apple and Google pressed in antitrust hearing on whether app stores share data with product development teams,” TechCrunch reports.

A new era:  “With Biden in the White House, EU officials are pushing hard for a new data-sharing pact with the U.S.,” per CNBC.

Holding out:  “Half of NYC adults still haven’t been vaccinated,” the New York Post reports. See also:  “99.992% of fully vaccinated people have dodged COVID, CDC data shows,” per Ars Technica.

Data-driven:  “Tesla publicly shares data logs of vehicle involved in crash that led owner to protest at auto show,” per Electrek. 

And finally ... there’s still time to enter:  “Small Agency Awards entries are now open,” also from Ad Age.

The newsletter is brought to you by Ad Age Datacenter, the industry’s most authoritative source of competitive intel and home to the Ad Age Leading National Advertisers, the Ad Age Agency Report: World’s Biggest Agency Companies and other exclusive data-driven reports. Access or subscribe to Ad Age Datacenter at AdAge.com/Datacenter.

Ad Age Datacenter is Kevin Brown, Bradley Johnson and Catherine Wolf.

This week’s newsletter was compiled and written by Simon Dumenco.