1) Because of the very rapid spreading of the new coronavirus variant, England will enter its toughest nationwide lock down since March. For at least six weeks schools will be closed and people can leave home only once a day for exercise. Because of the number of people in hospitals reaching a new height the British threat level has been raised to its highest level of 5. People must now only leave home for work, if it is impossible to work from home, and for essential food and medicine. School study will be online until mid-February. All non-essential retail and hospitality businesses are closed, but restaurants and other premises will continue delivery of takeaway food but not alcohol. Places of worship can remain open, including communal worship, subject to social distancing.
2) The first stimulus payments from new the coronavirus relief bill are now on the way. However, the aid won’t suffice for many. The $300 check additions to unemployment are half the amount of the old Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation pay outs, which lapsed in late July. Since then, aid recipients have been getting by on state unemployment assistance, which can pay less than the minimum wage when calculated on an hourly basis. But workers will receive just over a third of last spring’s CARES package, which paid out $600 per week for four months compared to $300 for 11 weeks now.
3) Google workers have formed their first-ever union, a rare step for the tech industry that also represents the biggest and most organized challenge yet to the company’s executive leadership. This is the first union at a major tech company and it’s for and by all tech workers. So far, 226 workers have signed union cards with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), one of the country’s largest labor unions. While the pandemic made it more challenging to hold those meetings face-to-face, the shift to remote work, in some ways, made it easier to organize. The workers could theoretically mount a strike, though that would be a challenge and there are no current plans to do so. The union’s formation comes after years of rising employee tensions over the company’s business and operational decisions, such as work with the defense sector, plans for a censored search engine in China, and the company’s handling of sexual misconduct claims.
4) Stock market closings for – 4 JAN 21
Dow 30,223.89 down by 382.59 Nasdaq 12,698.45 down by 189.83 S&P 500 3,700.65 down by 55.42
1) The renowned Mall of America announced plans to lay off and furlough hundreds of employees. Located in Bloomington, Minn. the shopping center will permanently lay off 211 workers across various departments at the end of the month with an additional 178 workers to remain on furlough beyond the end of September. The Mall employs about 1,000 workers. Like most other malls in America, the Mall of America has suffered severely from the pandemic and need for social distancing. The malls across America have suffered a decline in recent years as people’s shopping habits and revenues decline. The Mall of America has been delinquent on its $1.4 billion dollar mortgage for May, June and July, and in turn some of its 500 retail tenants are unable to pay rent or having skip out on lease obligations.
2) Federal report warns of the threat from climate change to the economy. The report considers there are consequences that can create chaos in the financial system and disrupt the American economy. It’s considered that climate change poses a major risk to the stability of the U.S. financial system to sustain the American economy, that jobs, income and opportunity are at stake. This is just another indication of the increasing difficulty and expense of keeping individuals in a high technology society. The report makes 53 recommendations for dealing with the climate risks.
3) With the start up of college and return to campus life, there has been a sharp increase in coronavirus cases stemming from universities. For instance, the University of Tennessee has more than 2,100 students and staff members quarantined for Covid-19. As of Monday the university has 600 active cases of Covid-19. Of the 2,100 quarantined cases, about half are on-campus students and the other half off-campus. The surge is blamed on reckless behavior by a small portion of the students, especially traditional college parties with close personal contact. Many other American universities are having similar experience such as the University of Notre Dame, and North Carolina State. Some universities have implemented curfews, restrictions on visitors and even lockdowns of fraternities and sororities.
4) Stock market closings for – 9 SEP 20:
Dow 27,940.47 up 439.58 Nasdaq 11,141.56 up 293.87 S&P 500 3,398.96 up 67.12
1) The electric auto maker Tesla announced it is furloughing workers as well as cutting employee salaries as a result of the coronavirus shutdown of its facilities. Furthermore, the virus pandemic has slashed demand for cars and forced several other automakers to furlough workers. Barring any significant changes, Tesla plans to resume normal operations on May 4. Salary reductions will start on April 13 and remain in place until the end of the second quarter. Workers salaries are cut by 10%, directors by 20% and vice presidents by 30%. The company considers it has sufficient cash reserves to weather the shutdown.
2) Nuro’s driverless delivery vehicles has received another approval. California’s DMV has given a permit for Nuro to operate in specific parts of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. While test have been permitted since 2017, a human monitor was required, but these vehicles will be fully autonomous having no humans. This is another step in the rapidly changing retail market, which is embracing wide spread automation in its sales, as robots become more involved in consumerism activities.
3) The number of deaths projected for the coronvirus has been lowered, but there are fears of a ‘second wave’ to follow. The pandemic model has scaled back its projected death toll by 26% to 60,000 however, if social distancing practices are not maintained, a second wave of infections may ensue. So far, about 400,000 coronavirus cases have been reported with roughly 13,000 deaths. But even the revised forecast suggest months of infection troubles for the United States. About 94% of the population has been ordered to stay at home.
4) Stock market closings for – 8 APR 20:
Dow 23,433.57 up 779.71 Nasdaq 8,090.90 up 203.64 S&P 500 2,749.98 up 90.57
1) GE (General Electric) announced they will freeze pensions for about 20,000 salaried U.S. employees in order to help the ailing conglomerate cut debt and reduce its retirement fund by $8 billion dollars. Presently, the company has $105.8 billion dollar debt. Their pension plans are among it biggest liabilities and is underfunded by about $27 billion dollars. This move will not effect present retirees who are collecting their pensions.
2) Twenty-one days into the strike, the UAW (United Auto Workers) and GM (General Motors) contract talks have taken a turn for the worse. The snag is product commitments for U.S. factories for new vehicles, engines, transmissions and other items represented by the union. GM is losing $80 million dollars a day, while striking workers are earning about one fifth their regular pay as $260 a month strike benefits.
3) The U.S. railroads slump is getting worse from the slowdown as manufacturing threatens U.S. economy. Trucking is also feeling a slowdown with less than truckload cargos decreasing, although long haul trucking seems to be holding up. Truck rates have dropped, which is pulling some freight business away from trains.
4) Stock market closings for – 7 OCT 19:
Dow 26,478.02 down 95.70 Nasdaq 7,956.29 down 26.18 S&P 500 2,938.79 down 13.22
1) Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is pushing for measures to give workers a greater ownership in companies, thus transferring power and influence. This would be accomplished by requiring companies to periodically transfer stocks to a fund controlled by employees, giving workers a vote in managing the company while also receiving dividends. Nothing has been said on how to prevent companies from simply moving off shore, as has happened in the past.
2) Tesla, the manufacturer of electric automobiles, is gearing up for production of the Model Y, a crossover SUV with a simpler interior and longer range batteries with a reported 400 mile range. Tesla stock fell more than 10% last week over concerns of demand, profitability and the China-U.S. trade war.
3) Reportedly, China will use rare earths to retaliate against the U.S. in the trade war. This is a group of 17 chemical elements used in a wide range of products, from consumer electronics to military equipment. Chinese newspapers are filled with rhetoric asserting that the U.S. will have no option but to acquiescent to China’s economic policies. Eighty percent of U.S. rare earth imports come from China. However, this strategy by China may accelerate mining of rare earths in California and Australia.
4) 29 MAY 19 Stock market closings: Markets down over concerns of slowing economic growth.
Dow 25,126.41 down 221.36 Nasdaq 7,547.31 down 60.04 S&P 500 2,783.02 down 19.37
Investment, finance/banking & retail powerhouses; Berkshire Hathaway, JP Morgan Chase & Amazon, seem to be in collaboration for a new healthcare venture that is speculated to be one of a kind in the healthcare sector. The deal seems to be under wraps.
What is somewhat known is that the venture is supposed to be beneficial to their respective employee healthcare benefits. Perhaps making healthcare cheaper for all Amazon employees per se?
The wait and see game on this venture continues……-SB
Goldman Sach’s rolled out a new review/performance based system to rate and grade employees performance at the work place. The new system allows employees to attain, receive information and feed back from their supervisors and managers.
This innovative system allows employees and managers to get feedback among themselves all year round. Entitled Ongoing Feedback 360+ allows employees more interactons and communication with their superiors on many work related issues and allows the managers to communicate to the employee on how to handle different work related issues, in a timely fashion.
The Ongoing Feedback 360+ will be used to allow direct communication with management and the employees at Goldman Sach’s, in a real time based ordinance. -SB