Business Update – September 22 2021

Even before the pandemic, some restaurant owners were challenging the model of paying servers only $2.13 an hour and depending on tips from customers to make them whole. Today, as restaurants and bars struggle to find enough workers to stay open, a few are making further changes to their business model. Some are raising wages and offering signing bonuses. Others are adding service charges to every bill, and others are…  Read more

Business Update – September 15 2021

The business community is sharply split by the announcement by the Biden administration of a plan that mandates COVID vaccinations or weekly testing. Some business leaders applaud the plan to keep the surge in COVID cases from hurting the economy, although smaller employers may find the mandate difficult to mandate. However, expanding testing may not be possible unless capacity is also significantly increased. Some business leaders disagree with the mandate…  Read more

Business Update – September 9 2021

Thanks to tight supply chains and logistics in the developed world, many people have grown accustomed to receiving whatever they ordered promptly and predictably. That era may be over, as shortages are likely to continue. Toyota will be slashing production of cars by 40% in the face of a continuing chip shortage. It may be another year – or two – before shortages in sectors from construction to medical testing…  Read more

Business Update – September 1 2021

While businesses have been mandating vaccines for employees for some time now, they are now beginning to take a harder line. Some, like Delta, are charging unvaccinated employees an extra $200 per month for health insurance, and some are firing unvaccinated employees. Companies that require employees to be vaccinated face several risks. First, the divisive nature of the covid vaccine may lead to workplace bullying or retaliation of unvaccinated employees…  Read more

Business Update – August 25 2021

The FDA has now granted Pfizer and BioNTech full approval of their COVID-19 vaccine for persons aged 16 and up. This means this vaccine has met the agency’s standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. This approval was based on close examination of six-months of follow-up which revealed no additional long-term safety concerns. This approval may now spur major companies to require employees to be vaccinated. Based on clinical studies,…  Read more

Business Update – August 18 2021

COVID-19 relief programs have helped keep millions of Americans afloat during the pandemic but have also been a spectacular bonanza for an array of international scam artists, including Russian mobsters, Chinese hackers, and Nigerian scammers. An estimated $87 million to $400 billion in unemployment benefits may have been lost to fraud; at least half of that is thought to have been stolen by foreign criminals. Many took advantage of weak…  Read more

Business Update – August 11 2021

What sets the Delta variant apart from other strains of the COVID-19 coronavirus is the amount of virus produced by those infected, a measure called viral load. One recent study found that people with the Delta variant had viral loads up to 1,260 times as high as the original strain. Higher viral loads make the Delta variant more transmissible and can also make infected people sicker. However, the CDC has…  Read more

Business Update – August 4 2021

The Delta variant is more contagious than other virus variants, which is changing the public-health advice on preventing its spread. With the previous strains, a rule of thumb was that it took 15 minutes of close contact with an infected person to become infected. With the Delta variant, infection may happen in less than five minutes, and possibly with only fleeting contact, such as in an elevator. Recent studies show…  Read more

Business Update – July 28 2021

The U.S. economy depends on population growth as a driver, but recent estimates indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded a decadelong fertility slump to result in the lowest population growth rate in history. In half of all states, more people died than were born. The impact is most acutely felt in rural communities, which frequently lack the jobs, child-care options and housing that young families need. The result in…  Read more

Business Update – July 21 2021

Three weeks ago, new COVID-19 cases were averaging about 11,300 new cases a day, but that rate has now doubled to 23,000 cases per day. According to the CDC, nearly all recent COVID-19 cases and deaths have been among unvaccinated people. The more contagious Delta variant is now the dominant strain in the US, and appears to be more severe. A Scottish study found that the hospitalization rate is about…  Read more

Business Update – July 14 2021

In the wake of the pandemic, many families may find themselves with medical debt from COVID-related hospitalizations. This article from Acorns has four steps to take to reduce damage to credit scores from medical debt. First, review the bill to make sure it’s accurate. See if you can set up a payment plan with the provider. Try to negotiate with the provider to accept rates that are closer to Medicare…  Read more

Business Update – July 7 2021

While pandemic restrictions are easing in the U.S. as vaccination rates rise and infection rates fall, whether that trend will continue may depend on the interaction of three principles. First, current vaccines are still effective against the variants. Those who have been fully vaccinated with any of the vaccines are not as likely to get as sick or to be hospitalized, but they may still be able to transmit the…  Read more

Business Update – June 30 2021

As the pandemic recedes and businesses reopen, millions are quitting their jobs rather than return to their pre-pandemic routine. Some are seeking out positions where they can be fully remote, while others, particularly in the leisure and hospitality sector, are seeking better work-life balance, higher pay, or a less stressful work environment. The lengthy experiment with remote work has changed what people think about where and how they want to…  Read more

Business Update – June 9 2021

For the first time in a generation, workers are increasing their power in the workplace. Facing a talent shortage, employers are more willing to offer higher pay, starting bonuses, flexibility, and training to get enough people on board to do the work. Some people aren’t yet ready to return to work amid continuing anxiety about the pandemic and some are receiving unemployment that makes returning to work less appealing, but…  Read more

Business Update – June 2 2021

How will the COVID-19 pandemic end? Scientists who study global pandemics of the past observe that previous pandemics have subsided over time, generally in 18 months or so. The virus itself seems to become less deadly, and becomes more of an endemic seasonal illness. At the same time, our immune systems become better able to fight them off. At least that has been the pattern in the past. It is…  Read more

Business Update – May 26 2021

A year ago, consumers were snapping up essentials like cleaning wipes and toilet paper in a panic-driven frenzy. Today, as economies around the world reopen, businesses are in a similar panic-driven frenzy to stock up. Supply lines have not yet recovered to pre-pandemic capacity, and recent events, including the Suez Canal blockage, a deep freeze in the southeast, and disruption of an East coast pipeline from hacking, are all combining…  Read more

Business Update – May 19 2021

For many people, large, life-shattering events can provide a break point for making dramatic life changes that improve life going forward. Arthur Brooks, writing for The Atlantic, suggests that the pandemic provides all of us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do just that. To take advantage of this, Brooks suggests dividing a paper into four quadrants, with columns for things you like and things you dislike, and rows for pre-…  Read more

Business Update – May 12 2021

Are you feeling exhausted these days? Struggling with brain fog? Many people who didn’t contract COVID-19 have been having a tough time these days. According to mental health experts interviewed by NPR, fatigue and brain fog may be a response to the stress and trauma of the last year. Many of us have lost loved ones, our lives have been uprooted, and even if we haven’t been sick, there’s a…  Read more

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