June 1, 2020

In U.S., 71% Believe Economy Is in Recession or Depression

71% of Americans say the country is in an economic depression or recession, a figure that has remained at or above 70% since mid-April.

What Is the Stock Market Even for Anymore?

The market was heavily weighted to a small number of companies — Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook — that were positioned to become even more dominant than they were before the crisis and whose stock prices were rising in anticipation of that.

US food prices see historic jump and are likely to stay high

“If you’re going to euthanize thousands of animals and it takes six months to raise a new one, obviously there’s going to be some type of delay or buffer in the supply chain.”

In the new downtown future, devoid of office workers, every day could be Sunday

But the corporate rush to working from home has most dramatically drained the money-fuelled downtown life of the people who once needed to be there every day: the office workers.

Spain creates a universal minimum income targeted at 2.3 million people

“Today this government is showing that its political choice is social justice and that it takes the [Spanish] Constitution seriously.” People between 23 and 65 years old with “assets of less than 16,614 euros,” not including house and discounted loans, will be eligible for the basic income plan

In a pandemic, no one wants to touch it. Why cash has become the new Typhoid Mary

“This crisis is clearly pushing us even farther away from using cash in our everyday legal transactions,” said Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard University economics professor and author of “The Curse of Cash.” “And it’s for obvious reasons. No one wants to touch something you or someone else just touched. That’s not going to change any time soon.”

States, cities plead for virus aid as Congress faces crises

As local leaders are pleading for more federal aid…the Senate resumes session Monday with no immediate plans to consider a fresh round of relief.

Desperate retailers to ask Fed, Treasury for emergency help amid worries that economic turmoil could worsen

“Unless this is fixed soon, the retail engine that supports one in four American jobs will have a hard time coming back to life…the retail industry could suffer “a commercial credit crisis that threatens to seize up our economy and stall the safe restart in its infancy.”

Google Rescinds Offers to Thousands of Contract Workers

“We’re slowing our pace of hiring and investment, and are not bringing on as many new starters as we had planned at the beginning of the year.”

The ingenuity keeping indie bookstores going

Now, indie bookstores everywhere, confronted with the twin threats of Amazon and covid-19, are struggling to survive. And in response, readers across the country are banding together to save them.

Scientists Discover So-Called ‘Skinny Gene’

We all know that one person who can eat whatever they like and never gain a pound…Now, a groundbreaking new international study appears to have zeroed in on the so-called “skinny gene” that help keep such individuals thin.

Read more at VicNapier.com and my Medium.com page.

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May 29, 2020

The next 100 days: How the coronavirus will continue to change your life at home, at work, at school and beyond

“Because of the lack of guidance from the federal government, it’s up to the states, and it will probably evolve into the cities and counties as well. Nothing’s going to be uniform. These people will stay closed, these people will open up. You’ll get some hot spots and flareups of infections.’’

Millions Relying on Pandemic Aid Can See Its End, and They’re Scared

“The CARES Act was massive, but it was a very short-term offset to what is likely to be a long-term problem…This economy is clearly going to need more support.”

White House punts economic update as election draws near

“It’s a sign that the White House does not anticipate a major recovery in employment and growth prior to the election and that it has essentially punted economic policy over to the Fed and the Congress.”

American and Delta offer buyouts as airlines prepare for a long recovery.

“Delta will have to be a smaller airline as we adjust to reduced demand and the need for distancing and safety during travel…A smaller Delta unfortunately means fewer people will be required.”

I Don’t Feel Like Buying Stuff Anymore

Our economy is built on Americans of all class levels buying things. What happens when the ability — and desire — to do so goes away?

After coronavirus, employees want workplaces to physically change: Survey

In fact, 66 percent of respondents said their workplaces should be physically changed “to create more personal space,” the survey found.

Tuesday Morning retailer files Chapter 11 bankruptcy, plans 230 store closings

The company plans to permanently close about 230 of its 687 stores this summer.

Exclusive: U.S. taxpayers’ virus relief went to firms that avoided U.S. taxes

Of the almost 110 recipients of $4 million or more, Reuters found some 46 paid no U.S. corporate tax for the last year.

U.S. economy shrank at 5% annual rate in the first quarter

The U.S. economy shrank at an even faster pace than initially estimated in the first three months of this year with economists continuing to expect a far worse outcome in the current April-June quarter.

The downsides of remote work

“The longer we remain fully remote, the more difficult it is going to be to mitigate a rate of decay in culture…That should be keeping leaders up at night.”

The stakes have never been higher as America reopens. What can a post-coronavirus world look like?

“Whether it’s the bubonic plague, the Spanish flu or coronavirus, pandemics inevitably are both health events and social events that cause transformations in society and politics.”

CEO pay has topped $12.3M. Can it keep rising post-pandemic?

“I think there has been a growing sense — not by all, but a growing portion of institutional investors — that CEOs are overpaid,” said Amy Borrus, deputy director of the Council of Institutional Investors. “It’s not so much that they’re overpaid but that it’s out of whack with corporate performance.”

Read more at VicNapier.com and my Medium.com page.

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May 28, 2020

Coronavirus recession could plunge tens of millions into poverty, new report warns

Even under a best-case scenario “the annual poverty rate will reach levels comparable to the Great Recession.”

Boeing Cuts 12,000 Jobs, Resumes Production of Grounded Jet

“The COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impact on the airline industry means a deep cut in the number of commercial jets and services our customers will need over the next few years, which in turn means fewer jobs on our lines and in our offices.”

Bankruptcy cases, store closings pile up as coronavirus wreaks havoc for J.C. Penney, Hertz, others

“That’s unlike anything the industry has ever seen,” Coresight CEO and founder Deborah Weinswig said. “It’s the speed with which it’s all happening which has been a little surprising.”

Why your Social Security could feel like a lot less next year

The check’s the same each month for a whole year, but the prices, well, they just keep going up.

Fed finds new challenge for the economy: Workers who don’t want to come back to their jobs

Business leaders “cited challenges in bringing employees back to work, including workers’ health concerns, limited access to childcare, and generous unemployment insurance benefits.”

Fed: Sharp economic decline in May leaves businesses ‘pessimistic’ about recovery

The Fed’s May “Beige Book”…painted a dire picture of the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic as states began to gradually lift restrictions imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Unemployment claims may reach 41 million in 10 weeks as U.S. businesses slowly reopen

“While almost all states have begun to re-open their economies in one way or another, the process is gradual…This argues for persistent pain in labor markets.”

An ‘Avalanche of Evictions’ Could Be Bearing Down on America’s Renters

“I think we will enter into a severe renter crisis and very quickly…we will have an avalanche of evictions across the country.”

Coronavirus recession could plunge tens of millions into poverty

The authors “emphasize the urgent need for the provision of income assistance to all U.S. residents, with a particular focus on children and working-age adults who we find are at the greatest risk of falling into poverty.”

WHO warns of second peak, discourages swift return to normalcy

“We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now that it’s going to keep going down.”

Can Virtual Reality Help Sports Fans Experience Game Day In A Post COVID-19 World?

But, the headsets, while helpful for gaming and some interactive experiences, are likely out of reach for the everyday sports consumer. Prices start at around $200 and go up from there depending on the model.

Sovereign debt crises are coming

This special report looks at what impact increasing public debt will have on both developed and poorer countries, alongside the potential long-term consequences for the global economy.

Read more at VicNapier.com and my Medium.com page.

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May 27, 2020

Salaries Get Chopped for Many Americans Who Manage to Keep Jobs

“It’s one of the reasons why we don’t expect a so-called V-shaped recovery,” said Michael Gapen, Barclay economist. Americans taking pay cuts “might have little, and in some cases maybe nothing, left over after that for discretionary purchases.”

The Stock Market and Consumer Sentiment Are Telling Different Stories

Personal incomes in March suffered the steepest drop since 2013, and consumer spending fell at the fastest rate since 1959. The numbers for April, due Friday, are expected to be worse. Yet stocks have continued to rise. The S&P 500 has surged 34% since bottoming March 23,

Frustrated and struggling, New Yorkers contemplate abandoning the city they love

“I’m a born-and-raised, do-or-die New Yorker because it was always a party, but the party is over…I’m not getting my city back, so I’m leaving before it gets to the point that I can’t get my mind back.”

What If College Students Simply Don’t Return in the Fall?

“Presidents and trustees are deluding themselves into thinking that students will return in mass or are willing to pay the remarkably high-tuitions that have become a hallmark of our secondary educational system, especially given the deep financial contraction that has impacted almost everyone.”

Humans ‘not meant to be alone’: Many Americans haven’t seen or touched another person in 3 months         

“We are not meant to be alone…The reason it feels unpleasant is it’s a biological signal, much like hunger and thirst, to motivate us to reconnect with others.”

The Pandemic Is Exposing the Limits of Science

After all, the “novel” in “novel coronavirus” means new and unknown. Science moves slowly and attempts to push it along ensures poor science.  

The benefits isolation can have on your work

Yet the latest psychological literature suggests that less communication might actually be more: constant collaboration can in fact reduce collective intelligence.

Back to school? 1 in 5 teachers are unlikely to return to reopened classrooms

 “The expectation of parents and society is we’re sending our children to be educated in a safe environment, and how we’re going to provide that safe environment is completely unknown.”

Coronavirus is just ‘tip of iceberg,’ Chinese researcher cautions

“If we want to prevent human beings from suffering from the next infectious-disease outbreak, we must go in advance to learn of these unknown viruses carried by wild animals in nature and give early warnings…If we don’t study [the viruses], there will possibly be another outbreak.”

Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works are closing hundreds of stores

L Brands also said it was closing 50 Bath & Body Works stores, mostly in mall locations where it doesn’t expect foot traffic to regain pre-pandemic normalcy.

Hertz paid top executives $16 million in bonuses ahead of its bankruptcy filing

Paul Stone, promoted to CEO three days before the retention bonuses were awarded, got $700,000. Chief Financial Officer Jamere Jackson got $600,000, while Chief Marketing Officer Jodi Allen got about $190,000.

Read more at VicNapier.com and my Medium.com page.

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May 26, 2020

Why Our Economy May Be Headed for a Decade of Depression

Nouriel Roubini, the economist who warned of the 2008 economic debacle, now warns of a long-term economic downturn.

Hertz files for bankruptcy

“The impact of Covid-19 on travel demand was sudden and dramatic, causing an abrupt decline in the company’s revenue and future bookings…uncertainty remains as to when revenue will return and when the used-car market will fully re-open for sales, which necessitated today’s action.”

Colleges Lower the Boom on Retirement Plans

Retirement contributions are offered mostly to full-time professors. Only about 25% of college professors are full time; the remainder are low paid part time or adjunct instructors, with no job security or benefits.

Kohl’s exits Jennifer Lopez, other women’s brands as losses mount

“Exiting them (the 8 brands) will create focus and clarity on the brands that will continue…We’re still highly committed to the women’s business. In the short term, we’re facing some challenges here.”

Reopening reality check: Georgia’s jobs aren’t flooding back

“…nothing to signal there’s any return to economic stability or recovery happening right now,” said Alex Camardelle, a senior policy analyst with the nonprofit Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

2 out of 3 tech workers would leave SF permanently if they could work remotely

When asked if they would “consider relocating” if given the option to work remotely, 34% of Bay Area respondents said no. About 18% said they’d consider moving out of the Bay Area but staying in California, 36% said they’d consider moving elsewhere in the US and 16% said they could foresee leaving the country.

Facebook employees may face pay cut if they move to cheaper areas to work from home

“We’ll adjust salary to your location at that point,” Zuckerberg said, “There’ll be severe ramifications for people who are not honest about this.”

New Threat to New York City: Commercial Rent Payments Plummet

“Unless the federal government steps in to help renters and owners in a big way, we are going to see a housing disaster the likes of which we have never seen.”

New college grads are having their job offers rescinded—now they’re in ‘survival mode’

“And so now, people graduating this spring are going to face the worst job market in the entire post-depression history.”

Report: Texas-size rivalry for Tesla’s Cybertruck factory heats up

Austin and Tulsa vying for Tesla factory, while the east and west coasts are not even in the running.

Together, Alone. The Car as Shelter in the Pandemic

“They are like the ultimate P.P.E. — you can really seal yourself into them.”

Many US states have seen LOWER infection rates after ending lockdowns

“Unlike rigorous testing of potential new drugs, lockdowns were administered with little consideration that they might not only cause economic devastation but potentially more deaths than COVID-19 itself.”

Read more at VicNapier.com and my Medium.com page.

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May 22, 2020

Trump says he won’t close the country if second wave of coronavirus hits

“We are going to put out the fires. We’re not going to close the country,” Trump said. “We can put out the fires. Whether it is an ember or a flame, we are going to put it out. But we are not closing our country.”

Top White House economic adviser expresses uncertainty about recovery despite Trump’s confidence

“The numbers coming in are not good. In fact, they are downright bad in most cases. But we are seeing some glimmers, perhaps … there’s a lot of heartbreak here. There’s a lot of hardship here. There’s a lot of anxiety here. It’s a very difficult situation.”

Many Jobs May Vanish Forever as Layoffs Mount

“I hate to say it, but this is going to take longer and look grimmer than we thought,” Nicholas Bloom, an economist at Stanford University, said of the path to recovery. Bloom…estimates that 42% of recent layoffs will result in permanent job loss. “Firms intend to hire these people back. “But we know from the past that these aspirations often don’t turn out to be true.”

Some stores including Lululemon won’t take cash as they reopen, putting them further out of reach for millions of Americans

“We won’t be accepting cash payments for 30 days after reopen, and we’ll reassess after that time. We prefer contactless tap payments like credit and debit cards or ApplePay. Check in with your financial institution so your digital wallets are ready to go!”

Victoria’s Secret to close about 250 stores in the U.S. and Canada, Bath & Body Works to close 50

“We would expect to have a meaningful number of additional store closures beyond the 250 that we’re pursuing this year, meaning there will be more in 2021 and probably a bit more in 2022.”

How the pandemic is changing shopping

Apple is checking shoppers’ temperatures at the door. Best Buy is asking customers to shop by appointment. Macy’s and Nordstrom are doing away with beauty consultations and alteration services, while the Gap is closing off bathrooms and fitting rooms. Cosmetics giant Sephora won’t allow shoppers to test products anymore.

How Is the US Going to Pay for All This Stimulus Spending?

As a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), the coronavirus response has already pushed government spending to its highest levels since World War II (the single most expensive event in U.S. history). How is the United States going to pay for all of this?

As America Reopens, Trial Lawyers Salivate at Endless Coronavirus Lawsuit Possibilities

An outsized battle looms in Washington, as trade associations for trial lawyers push their own vision of open-ended lawsuits while groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce come down on the side of restricting litigation over coronavirus.

Several GOP senators press for more stimulus payments during coronavirus crisis

“Congress has a tremendous responsibility to help mitigate the impact of this crisis on our states and our local communities and on the families they serve…We must not wait. We should act now.”

New Virtual Babysitting Service Launches During Coronavirus Pandemic

“This thought came into my head, like, ‘how amazing would it be for a virtual babysitter to come up on my screen while I would exercise, so I didn’t have to invite someone into my home for three hours to watch my child for 45 minutes’.”

Read more at VicNapier.com and my Medium.com page.

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May 21, 2020

Fed minutes show fears of ‘extraordinary amount of uncertainty and considerable risks’ because of coronavirus

“Participants commented that, in addition to weighing heavily on economic activity in the near term, the economic effects of the pandemic created an extraordinary amount of uncertainty and considerable risks to economic activity in the medium term.”

Facing Adulthood With an Economic Disaster’s Lasting Scars

A large body of research — along with the experience of those who came of age in the last recession — shows that young people trying to start their careers during an economic crisis are at a lasting disadvantage. Their wages, opportunities and confidence in the workplace may never fully recover.

Free money: Amid the coronavirus, a monthly paycheck from the feds doesn’t seem crazy

Lawmakers will face pressure to extend these benefits, said Joshua Rauh, a Stanford University professor, “Once these things get started, it’s very hard to stop them,” he said. “Once you think about it that way … we’re getting closer to something that certainly resembles universal basic income.”

Singles now flaunting antibody test results in dating profiles

Singles across the country are boasting about their coronavirus antibody test results when they’re out on the prowl. Some are even including the status of the test results in their online dating profiles, using their possible immunity to score a lover in the middle of a pandemic.

Highly indebted ‘zombie’ companies control more than 2 million U.S. jobs

“The zombie companies are those firms that are able to borrow in effect cheaper than they should given their revenue, and they’re able to stay in business,” said Steve Blitz, chief U.S. economist at TS Lombard “What they’re talking about is not so much zombie firms but firms that would otherwise just shut down,”

Study Shows 70% of Consumers Would Rather Watch New Movies at Home

“Just as the country begins to open up there has been a swing toward increasing caution, with a majority of Americans clearly saying ‘not yet’ when it comes to attending large public events,”

Covid-19: China’s new outbreak shows signs the coronavirus could be changing

Patients found in the northern provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang appear to carry the virus for a longer period of time and take longer to recover

Cash, long a refuge in uncertain times, now under suspicion

A growing number of businesses and individuals worldwide have stopped using banknotes in fear that physical currency, handled by tens of thousands of people over their useful life, could be a vector for the spreading coronavirus.

Over 4M Americans skip mortgage payments as coronavirus hammers finances

A weekly survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association released Monday found that 8.16 percent of total loans are now in forbearance plans, up from 7.91 percent as of May 3. It was the smallest increase in forbearance since March 10, when the outbreak of the virus first paralyzed the nation’s economy.

Sweden in deep economic crisis despite soft lockdown, as per capita deaths rise

Sweden has kept most schools, restaurants and businesses open during the pandemic and some theorized it might at least suffer less economic pain. But the latest data challenge that idea.

‘Hot’ nurse disciplined for wearing bra and panties under see-through PPE gown

The unidentified staffer told her managers at Tula Regional Clinical Hospital that she was “too hot” to wear clothing underneath the head-to-toe vinyl gown…While there were reportedly “no complaints” from her patients, hospital chiefs punished the nearly nude nurse for “non-compliance with the requirements for medical clothing.”

Read more at VicNapier.com and my Medium.com page.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Eric

    Pure writing excellence.

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