1) President Biden is asking Congress for $1,400 stimulus checks, but economists advise caution before spending, because economists who have looked at what happens when people have time to mull over a financial windfall, found that they spend less of the money, rather they save more of it. With less spending, there is less stimulus to the economy, therefor the stimulus fails to do the intended purpose. For the first stimulus checks in April people generally spent between one-quarter and one-third of the check in the first 10 days. Bottom line, the longer payment delays make it more likely that households will save their stimulus checks, which undermines the goal of stimulating the economy by boosting consumption.
2) The Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen will be part of the Senate Finance Committee process of vetting President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion dollar Covid-19 relief plan. She will say that low borrowing costs means it’s time to act big. The new package includes a minimum-wage hike and substantial expansion in family and medical leave, social safety-network of programs that have already triggered Republican opposition. There are still almost 11 million unemployed Americans in an economy still being battered by the pandemic. Declines in both payrolls and retail sales in December left the nation’s economy limping into the new year. Additionally, more than 17 million people say they have little to no confidence in their ability to pay their rent next month. However, Yellen will also be asked what the safe debt limit is, since it is already on the verge of surpassing 100% of the GDP. There is also the question of the pros and cons of strengthening the dollar among fears that a stronger dollar will weaken the U.S. economy.
3) The U.S. government has approved routes for a system of pipelines that will move carbon dioxide across Wyoming for disposal. The greenhouse gas is captured from coal-fired power plants, to keep it out of the atmosphere where it causes global warming. The captured CO2 is then pumped underground to add pressure to and boost production of oil fields. The pipeline is about 1,100 miles of federal land through the Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative. This project is a way to boost the state’s struggling coal mining industry.
4) Stock market closings for – 21 JAN 21:
Dow 31,176.01 down by 12.37 Nasdaq 13,530.92 up by 73.67 S&P 500 3,853.07 up by 1.22
1) Reports are that Biden will unveil plans to spend trillions of dollars in pandemic and economic relief money this next week. Biden is introducing several members of his economic team, after data shows the U.S. economy has lost jobs for the first time in eight months as a resurgent COVID-19 pandemic has again shuttered restaurants and other businesses. Biden is calling for raising the minimum wage to $15, and for sending out $2,000 in direct cash payments. Biden claims that economic research confirms that with today’s crisis, especially with such low interest rates, taking immediate action, even with deficit financing , is going to help the economy. Biden also say they are looking into other economic relief actions that can be taken unilaterally, including extending a pause on repayments of federal student loans.
2) US naval aircraft carrier groups still rule the seas, but both Russia and China have plans to change that as they strive to expand their blue water navies, by developing new weapons that could threaten America’s dominance. For instance, it is reported that China launched two ballistic missiles that hit a moving target ship in the South China Sea thousands of miles from their launch sites. The Russian navy conducted its third test launch of it’s hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile that was launched from a frigate. The missile reached a speed of Mach 8 before hitting a target more than 200 miles away. These tests are the latest indication that American aircraft carriers, long viewed as kings of the seas, may soon face a real threat to their existence.
3) Iran has told South Korea not to politicize the seizure of their vessel, while demanding the release of $7 billion dollars in funds frozen amid U.S. sanctions. Additionally, Iran has denied all allegations that the seizing of South Korea’s tanker and its 20-member crew amounted to hostage taking, claiming instead it was Seoul who was holding Iran’s funds hostage. The vessel was seized based on an Iranian court order for ‘environmental pollution’, however, the ship’s Busan-based operator, said there was nothing to indicate that before the seizure of the vessel that Iranian authorities were probing possible violations of environmental rules.
4) Stock market closings for – 12 JAN 21:
Dow 31,068.69 up by 60.00 Nasdaq 13,072.43 up by 36.00 S&P 500 3,801.19 up by 1.58
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) South Carolina has the lowest unemployment rate with 2.3% which ties with Utah and Vermont. But while there’s lots of jobs, they mostly pay low wages making it hard for people to make a living. The state is typical of states across the U.S., with job growth looking strong on the surface, but much of the work is meager wages and few benefits. As automation pushes more people down to the lower paying ranks, they find themselves struggling to acquire the basics of living, even with wages that are above the minimum wage.
2) With the government’s announcement that Americans should prepare for a Covid-19 (coronavirus) crisis, and the continual spread of the virus, prices of hygienic masks have surged upwards. Tracking the product on Amazon shows an immediate rise just twenty-four hours after the announcement. A pack of disposable masks which were $125 surged to $220 in just three days, showing the deep concerns people have to the coronavirus threat.
3) Micro units are small dwellings of about 350 square feet or less, which may be the answer to affordable housing. The micro unit comes complete with a kitchen, bathroom and living or sleeping space comparable to studio apartments in Paris, Tokyo or Rome. This gives everything needed for basic living, but little else. Micro units are approximately 20% to 30% cheaper than conventional sized units, and are most popular with young single working adults, age under 30, who are willing to compromise space for location, amenities and cost savings.
4) Stock market closings for – 26 FEB 20:
Dow 26,957.59 down 123.77
Nasdaq 8,980.78 up 15.16
S&P 500 3,116.39 down 11.82
1) Coal consumption in America dropped sharply last year, reaching its lowest level since 1975, with power plants switching to cheaper natural gas and renewables. This shift has cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10%, but other sources also contribute to growing planet warming pollution last year. The U.S. is the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, as well as other greenhouse warming gases, contributing 14% of all annual greenhouse emissions.
2) The federal government is close to selling a group of nursing homes it took over eighteen months ago, a result of the biggest default in the history of a government mortgage insurance program which provides critical support to the nursing home industry. The previous owner defaulted on $146 million dollar worth of mortgages leaving the government to take possession of the facilities, which they have been working to find new owner-operators.
3) A new pizza making robot was unveiled at this year’s CES (Consumer Electronis Show) in Las Vegas, which attracts 200,000 people across the world. The machine is placed adjacent to the oven so pizzas automatically go in for cooking. The robot can make up to 300 12 inch customized pizzas an hour, while making consistent pies. Several companies are engaged in developing pizza robots including Little Caesar’s and Domino’s. The robots for the fast food industry is growing in response to demands for a minimum wage of $15 an hour for restaurant workers.
4) Stock market closings for – 7 JAN 202:
Dow 28,583.68 down 119.70 Nasdaq 9,068.58 down 2.88 S&P 500 3,237.18 down 9.10
1) The money-markets have about $3.4 trillion dollars invested, and the large pile of cash could push the already soaring markets higher. The money-markets have grown by $1 trillion dollars over the last three years because of higher money-market rates, concerns of the ten year economic expansion and the ageing of the bull market. But despite the double digit gains this year, that cash remains in the money-markets amid concerns of an economic slowdown, investors wanting the safe bet of having a large cash reserve. Many fear the markets are at an unstable high and a reversal could occur at any time.
2) The U.S. trade deficit for September has falling to its lowest level in five months with imports dropping more sharply than exports. America has a rare surplus of petroleum, which has traditionally been a major source of imports. The import-export difference shrank 4.7% to $52.5 billion dollars, down from the August deficit of $55 billion dollars, with the deficit with China creeping down 0.6% to $31.6 billion dollars.
3) The Bank of America announced it will pay a $20 dollar minimum wage in 2020, a year earlier than planned. This will raise wages for more than 208,000 of its U.S. employees. The higher pay for retail bankers is becoming crucial with the increasingly competitive job market. Other main street banks have also raised their minimum wage, such as Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase. Other major companies including Amazon, Walmart, Target and McDonald’s have also increased their minimum pay.
4) Stock market closings for – 5 NOV 19:
Dow 27,492.63 up 30.52 Nasdaq 8,434.68 up 1.48 S&P 500 3,074.62 down 3.65
1) Newly released reports says that raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025 will raise the wages for 22.2% of American workers. They claim that 33.5 million workers would experience a $92.5 billion dollar increase in pay or $2,800 per worker. Currently, the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but it’s not expected such legislation to increase the federal minimum wage can pass through congress and not be vetoed.
2) China is looking for new markets to sell to. Presently, it has too many factories making too many goods because the trade war has diminished sales to its biggest customer America. China is seeking to create free-trade zones across the Asia-Pacific region in the hopes of opening new markets. Additionally, China is talking with Japan and South Korea to lower trade barriers. The problem is no country can absorb the volume of goods that China sells to America.
3) High tech companies are taking business to Canada and her supple of technology skilled immigrants. Canada has more relaxed controls over entry for workers having the education and skills sought by high tech companies, and therefore provides a base for such companies to expand into. Canada processes work visas for such workers in weeks, while the U.S. is noted for its long delays to grant the needed visas.
4) Stock market closings for – 26 JUL 19:
Dow 27,192.45 up 51.47 Nasdaq 8,330.21 up 91.67 S&P 500 3,025.86 up 22.19
1) The video streaming service Netflix has lost customers for the first time in eight years while also missing its target for new subscriptions overseas. The lost of 130,000 customers from April to June resulting in a 10.3% drop in its stock. Netflix confessed that its new TV shows for this quarter were not as appealing as expected and price increases in some markets has slowed their growth.
2) The software giant Microsoft beat analysts estimates for fourth quarter revenue and profit, primary because of its flagship cloud products Azure and Office software. Microsoft has tapped into the booming demand for cloud based services, pushing its capitalization to about $1.05 trillion dollars. Microsoft’s net income rose to $13.19 billion dollars in the quarter ending on June, up from $8.87 billion dollars.
3) The Democrats have pass legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. The raises will be over a six year span from the present $7.25 hour, and will be halted if a study shows job losses or other adverse effects. The increase in labor cost will most likely spur development of automation technologies to reduce the need for people in company’s labor force. The bill still has to be voted on and passed by the Senate before it can go to the President for signing.
4) Stock market closings for – 18 JUL 19:
Dow 27,222.97 up 3.12 Nasdaq 8,207.24 up 22.04 S&P 500 2,995.11 up 10.69
1) The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has reduced their forecasted for world economic growth from 3.5% to 3.3%, which is the third reduction since last October. It forecasted 2.3% growth for the US economy, as well as reduced growth forecast for Germany and Great Britain.
2) Walmart is rolling out thousands of robots for use in their retail stores across America. These robots will automatically scan shelves and clean floors. With a million employees, Walmart is seeking ways to keep labor cost down.
3) Bank of America is raising it’s minimum wage to $20 an hour over the next two years. Starting the first of May, the rate will increase to $17 per hour. The bank has 205,000 employees.
4) 9 APR 19 Stock market closings: Markets pulled down by industrial sector.
Dow 26,150.58 down 190.44 Nasdaq 7,909.28 down 44.61 S&P 500 2,878.20 down 17.57
1) California produce prices are going up because of labor shortages and increasing cost for labor. Agriculture workers are now under California’s minimum wage and overtime laws, plus mandated medical care. In response, farmers are turning more to automation to reduce labor cost and requirements. In the mean time, farm production is down which can further drive prices of produce up nation wide. Also, farming is moving off shore.
2) Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) filed for bankruptcy, which puts pending lawsuits on hold and will consolidate them in bankruptcy court.
3) Insurance losses for California wildfires top $11.4 billion dollars, from 46,000 insurance claims. The fires destroyed 13,000 houses and businesses and left 89 dead.
4) 29 JAN 19 Stock market closings:
Dow 24,579.96 up 51.74 Nasdaq 7,028.29 down 57.40 S&P 500 2,640.00 down 3.85