Business Update – October 20 2021

The pandemic may change business travel as we know it forever. The Global Business Travel Association reported a nearly 90% drop in business travel last spring, as businesses were forced to conduct business via Zoom. While travel is increasing compared to a year ago, it is still sharply down from pre-pandemic levels. Post-pandemic, virtual business meetings may continue to be the norm. Travelers who are willing to venture out may…  Read more

Business Update – October 13 2021

Global supply chain delays have become so bad that the biggest U.S. retailers are chartering their own cargo ships to stock shelves this holiday season. Walmart, Home Depot, Costco, and Target are among companies that are paying the additional expense to mitigate holiday disruptions. While the smaller ships these companies will use are far more expensive than the larger ones, they have the advantage of the ability to dock at…  Read more

Business Update – October 6 2021

What does it cost to be hospitalized for COVID-19? A study by The Wall Street Journal found the cost can vary by tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the hospital and the insurance policy. While most insurers waived out-of-pocket costs for patients for most of the pandemic, many patients are now receiving bills for hospital stays, which can depend on rates negotiated between hospitals and insurers. For example, at…  Read more

Business Update – September 29 2021

The legal cannabis industry has been absorbing furloughed, laid-off, and disenchanted retail and restaurant workers at a rapid pace throughout the pandemic. An estimated 321,000 people in the U.S. work in the industry, more than work as dentists, paramedics, or electrical engineers. Burnout, overwork, and challenges with unhappy customers in retail during the pandemic are driving many to seek out work in an industry with a growing reputation for treating…  Read more

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 – 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 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 5 2021

Fall’s visual attraction is colored leaves, while spring’s comparable pleasure comes from waterfalls, as this guide to waterfalls describes. In New Hampshire, Crawford Notch State Park is home to 10 waterfalls, ranging from 200’ Arethusa Falls to smaller Silver Cascade. In California, the most well-known is Yosemite Falls, while Rainbow Falls near Mammoth Lakes won’t be accessible until snowplows clear the roads around mid-June. Mount Rainier National Park in Washington…  Read more

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