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Amid the pandemic, some people can’t afford rent, others became 401(k) and TSP millionaires.

Despite the continu.....»»

Category: topSource: washpostMay 25th, 2021

Expensive housing is the reason the planet is burning, the rich are getting richer, and women are choosing to have fewer children

The housing market sits at the center of several economic battles. Building more of it can shape a more equitable America. Just look at the data. Flames from the Dixie Fire consume a home on Highway 89 south of Greenville on August 5, 2021, in Plumas County, California. AP Photo/Noah Berger Soaring home prices are contributing to the biggest economic crises of the 21st century. Climate change, birth rates, and inequality have all been slammed by the housing affordability crisis. Building more homes and denser apartments can fight a number of economic calamities, economists said. See more stories on Insider's business page. Falling birth rates. Widening inequality. The climate crisis. They have an unlikely common denominator in the housing market. Home prices have rocketed higher at record pace for three straight months. Americans' views of buying conditions are the worst since 1982. And supply remains grossly insufficient after decades of underbuilding.The price spikes started in summer 2020 as record-low mortgage rates and new flexibility around remote working sparked a wave of pandemic moves. That quickly dragged inventory to record lows. Supply has rebounded somewhat, but it remains well below the levels needed to normalize the red-hot market.The housing crisis isn't unique to the US, either. Markets in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Russia, Brazil, and Turkey all saw home prices surge through the pandemic, and the global rally shows "little sign of stopping," JPMorgan economists said earlier in September.Famous economist Larry Summers theorized almost a decade ago that developed economies were in a phase of "secular stagnation," without enough productive investments to fuel their economies. The result is an inflated housing sector, which lingers as a reminder of greater economic dysfunctions. Look under the hood of the global housing crisis, then, and you see connections to the great economic problems of the 21st century.Equality in housing is equality everywhereOwnership of a home allows people to profit from its rising value and tap their equity in the property when they need extra cash. Failure to purchase a home doesn't just lock Americans out of those benefits, it leaves them stuck paying landowners in monthly rent.Those who own land - or have the means to invest in properties - win out as values climb, while those who've been renting are trapped paying higher rates and placed even further from owning a home.Income inequality has long been characterized as the biggest driver of economic inequity, but housing is the true culprit, researchers Fabian Pfeffer and Nora Waitkus said in an August paper. The distribution of housing equity plays the biggest role in deciding where wealth is allocated, according to the researchers.Shoring up home supply and allowing for denser construction could directly level the playing field, economists Sam Bowman and Ben Southwood wrote for the Works in Progress online magazine, with housing advocate John Myers."Increasing the supply of housing and commercial space, while ensuring that it benefits existing residents, could turn this zero-sum situation into one where everyone can be better off," they added.Forming a household requires a homeWhere affordable housing allows Americans to start families and grow their households, expensive housing can delay such plans. And the lack of affordable homes might already be affecting birth rates.Women in developed countries are having fewer children than they'd like, according to the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development. Fertility crested in 2007 before tumbling during the Great Recession and continuing its downward slope.Although factors such as increased contraception use and climate-related fears contributed to the slide, the economy was the biggest driver by far, Insider's Hillary Hoffower reported. The lack of affordable childcare, weak wage growth, and lingering gender inequities in the workplace all dragged on women's plans to have kids. In other words, the secular stagnation forecast by Larry Summers has discouraged procreation, and it's daunting to have a child when you can't afford to house it.All else being equal, a 10% jump in home prices powers a 1.3% drop in birth rates, according to researchers at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.Fighting the climate crisis requires a new kind of housing marketShoring up home supply doesn't just rely on more houses in undeveloped areas. Rethinking housing in dense cities can serve as a one-two punch for fighting home inflation and climate change.Urban areas like New York City and Philadelphia account for much less carbon emissions than rural and suburban locales. Cities require shorter car trips and offer public transit alternatives."One of the most efficient ways for us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions is by having people live close to where they work and having them take public transit," Jesse Arreguín, mayor of Berkeley, California, told Insider in a recent interview. Arreguín has been one of the biggest proponents for denser apartment development, particularly near transportation hubs.The world's housing markets have a choice to make: Either tackle these interconnected crises or stagnate.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nyt21 hr. 37 min. ago

An Afghanistan restaurant"s sales dropped 80% after the Taliban takeover, leaving its owner fearing for its future

The owner of Laziz Mahal Restaurant in Kabul, Afghanistan, told Insider his business has been dramatically affected since the Taliban took over last month. Laziz Mahal restaurant in Kabul, Afghanistan. Mojeburahman Musleh A Kabul restaurant owner says the Taliban takeover has left him feeling hopeless. Sales have dropped by 80% at Mojeburahman Musleh's establishment, Laziz Mahal restaurant. Afghanistan residents have reduced purchasing power and cannot afford to eat out, he told Insider. See more stories on Insider's business page. Until three months ago, sales were steadily increasing at Laziz Mahal, a newly renovated fast-food restaurant in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.Then the Taliban took over the capital.The restaurant's owner, Mojeburahman Musleh, told Insider he is now struggling to keep his business up and running. He said the regime has made everything worse and that "everything looks gloomy" for people like him.Musleh is not alone. Since the Taliban assumed power over Kabul, many Afghans have been left distressed over their future. "Laziz Mahal Restaurant has been badly affected by [the] change of regime in Kabul, most of our potential customers have left the country and those who [are] left do not afford to eat at [the] restaurant," Musleh told Insider. He said he used to have regular customers who worked in government institutions and the private sector. Now they don't appear as much because offices in the capital are closed. His friends also used to eat at his restaurant every day and now they don't visit either. The restaurant has suffered an 80% reduction in sales and service, and Musleh is struggling to pay his employees and other minor costs as a result. According to Musleh, these struggles are the result of the diminished purchasing power of many Afghans, which has been significantly affected in recent weeks. Essentially, "less people will go out for eating," he said. Afghanistan's local economy has been left in a dire state as the Taliban move to set up a new government. At a recent event hosted by the Atlantic Council, Afghanistan's former central bank chief Ajmal Ahmady said: "I don't want to say economic collapse, but I think it's going to be [an] extremely challenging or difficult economic situation. He predicted that GDP would shrink by 10-20%. Banks are facing a cash shortage and may have to close to the public soon unless the Taliban releases more funds, Reuters reported.The cash shortage has been ongoing for weeks, with one month now passed since the Afghan government collapsed, the report said. Bankers fear the situation could lead to inflated food and electricity prices. Afghanistan's economy is cash-based, especially for local businesses. The country relies on money shipped by the US to Afghanistan's central bank but with roughly $9.5 billion in frozen assets in the country's central bank, the Taliban is likely to inherit increased hardships.Gargi Rao, Economic Research Analyst at GlobalData said: "With multilateral agencies including EU, the IMF and the World Bank halting funds, it will further deter the growth prospects amid the COVID-19 pandemic." Musleh said he purchases his raw materials in dollars and sells his service to customers in afghani currency. But in the last few weeks, Afghanistan's currency has slipped in value, falling about 10% versus the US dollar. In the week after the Taliban took control, it slipped from about 79 afghanis per dollar to 86 afghanis per dollar, Insider's Kevin Shalvey reported. When asked how Musleh how the weakened afghani will affect his restaurant, he said he will need to raise prices to get to a more balanced point. "Frankly, I don't see any hope for my business," Musleh added. "If this case continues in [the] very near future, my restaurant will be shut down and the result will be unemployment for all team members." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 25th, 2021

These Children Are U.S. Citizens. They Need Help, But They Can’t Get the Child Tax Credit

Ivan, just 6 months old, bounces in his baby rocker as a Spanish-language cartoon plays on TV. The living room is small but full, dominated by a tree branch with plastic red blossoms that Ivan’s mother, Sara, made. She asks her 9-year-old daughter, Luz, to leave the room. She’s about to explain something she doesn’t… Ivan, just 6 months old, bounces in his baby rocker as a Spanish-language cartoon plays on TV. The living room is small but full, dominated by a tree branch with plastic red blossoms that Ivan’s mother, Sara, made. She asks her 9-year-old daughter, Luz, to leave the room. She’s about to explain something she doesn’t want her daughter to ever think about again: the event that set off a chain of other events that led to them ending up in southwest Detroit with no money, no way to get around and no identification papers. Without those papers Ivan can’t qualify for any of the assistance the U.S. government provides for its citizens, because they can’t prove he—or they—exist. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Sara, 27, and her daughter came to the U.S. from the Michoacán region of Mexico, under the asylum program. The father of her daughter, she says, had started selling and using drugs, and one night beat her while their daughter was in the home. They escaped to her relatives’ home, but her husband, concerned that she would report him to the police, monitored her every move. “I just stepped out of the house and he was there,” she says, in Spanish. “So I couldn’t do anything.” Fearing she was endangering her family if she stayed, she fled to the Arizona border, where she was granted provisional asylum, had her passport and all her identification papers taken, was put in an ankle monitoring bracelet and sent to live with a cousin in Chicago. (TIME has agreed to use only the first names of the women in this story, to protect their safety.) In order to get a Mexican passport for her daughter, to complete the asylum requirements, Sara needed a signature from the girl’s father. When she tried to obtain that in 2019, she discovered he had been murdered. She was told by her state-supplied immigration lawyer that with her husband’s demise, she was no longer in danger, and therefore her asylum case was closed and she needed to return to Mexico. Sara says her family warned her, however, that her husband’s brothers had been killed too, along with one of their wives, and his sisters were now seeking asylum. She cut off her ankle bracelet and fled from Chicago to Michigan with a new boyfriend, also Mexican, also in the U.S. without documents. (TIME has confirmed her account with relatives in Mexico.) A year or so afterwards, they had a son. Read More: As Many Americans Get COVID-19 Vaccines and Financial Support, Undocumented Immigrants Keep Falling Through the Cracks For the last three months, millions of U.S. families have gotten a payment of up to $300 for each child in their home from the Internal Revenue Service. There will be one each month until the end of 2021. They are advance tax credits, part of a new program by the Biden Administration touted as the boldest attempt in decades to try to help impoverished families, especially those for whom the pandemic had taken a very harsh toll. Every American citizen child qualifies for this benefit, even those from what is called “mixed status” families—those with some undocumented members. This is a reflection of the twin beliefs that (a) vulnerable children should be helped, no matter their circumstances and (b) that raising children out of grinding poverty is good for the long term economic growth of any country. Children are also the mostly likely age of American to be in poverty. A new Census Bureau report found that 44% of American children experienced at least two consecutive months of poverty between 2013 and 2016, even before the pandemic. Almost immediately after the first payments landed, the US Census Bureau’s monthly Pulse survey detected a drop in “food insufficiency”—the fancy term for people not having enough to eat—and in its measurement of people finding it hard to pay their weekly bills. Instead of 11% of kids going hungry, only 8% were. The improvement was only evident in homes with children, which means that the CTC payments were likely the cause. “There’s been no other social program that has reached this many families this quickly in the history of the country,” says Luke Shaefer, a professor of Social Work and the Director of the Poverty Solutions Center at the University of Michigan, and the co-author, with Kathryn Edin, of the seminal work on American poverty, $2 a Day. In 2018, the two of them, with other scholars, co-authored a paper recommending monthly cash payments, which is seen as one of the bases for the current administration’s program. Because Ivan was born in the U.S., his family qualifies for the credit, money that would help them find their footing, and move out of the unstable financial situation in which they live. But they didn’t get it. They are just one example of an extremely vulnerable household that has not been reached by the new program. The reasons are not novel. An analysis by the Urban Institute in 2019 found that a quarter of people living in poverty do not receive support from any government program. Welfare programs have always suffered from “last mile” issues: a legion of obstructions between the funds available and the families who need them. In many ways, the distribution of the CTC is offering an object lesson in the obstacles America faces when helping its poorest citizens. Cutting child poverty, for some In order to survive, Sara and families like hers live in a kind of nether world of informal economies and networks. Apart from her daughter’s bilingual public school, the household has almost zero contact with any institutions, government or otherwise. It’s necessary for them to be as invisible as possible to the authorities. Ivan’s dad is ferried to and from work with other laborers in a bus. He is paid in cash. They have a car but cannot drive anywhere because they do not have regulation license plates, and cannot afford to be pulled over. Sara’s biggest nightmare is being separated from either of her children; the American one, who is legally allowed to abide in the U.S. whatever happens to his mother, or the Mexican one, who might be separated from her, were Sara to be detained. It’s not like they don’t pay any taxes: many undocumented workers do. Magdalena, who lives in the Bronx, New York, has paid tax at her job in a grocery store for years. She has four children aged from 2 to 15, all born in New York City, after she escaped across the border 17 years ago. Her children need school uniforms and books, but she can’t afford those as well as the rent on her wages now that she is working part-time because her childcare was very limited during the pandemic. She can barely even cover the childcare she has. The CTC would pay her family $1100 a month, but she cannot figure out how to get it. “What we’re doing so far is not perfect,” says Shaefer. “There are people who are being left out.” Because it’s a tax credit, the money is sent to people who have filed taxes, and it has taken a little while for that news to filter out and for people to get their paperwork in order. “The second problem stems from residential complexity and bank account instability that are common among low-income people,” he says. Families who have recently moved to a shelter or started doubling up with other family members, or those whose bank balance went into arrears or were overwhelmed with bank fees might find that the money has been directed to an old address or closed bank account. “That’s something,” says Shaefer, “That is still going to require a lot of work.” Read More: 6 Ways To Use the Child Tax Credit Payments, According to the Experts (Who Are Also Parents) Some critics note that the methods the government is using to distribute funds are long overdue for an update. “It’s just a generation after generation after generation of doing aid through the same large not very nuanced poverty administration systems,” says Tyler Hall, director of communications at GiveDirectly, a non profit that helps donors give simple cash to people in need. Because the administration opted to give the money via the IRS, a large amount of money was sent out widely and very quickly, but not necessarily very accurately. “Prioritizing operational considerations and ease of access stymies a number of the administration’s best ideas,” says Hall. Before the first payment, the government set up a website for folks who had never paid tax so they could still claim the money. But it was loaded with bureaucratic language and not mobile friendly, even though phones are much more widespread in low income communities than computers. As the second payment rolled around, the administration, with the help of Code For America, set up a different website, which is due to go live in “the next few weeks,” according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Treasury. Critics also claim the credits were poorly advertised, utilizing services like Twitter and eschewing old school methods like radio advertisements and mailers, which tend to be where those whose lives are more precarious get their information. And Rosario Alzayadi, a fieldworker with the Detroit agency Starfish, says once she finds these stricken families, it takes a while to build their trust. “When we go to the homes, we kind of see what’s going on,” she says. “But sometimes it takes us a long time to know the family needs.” Many of her clients were unaware they are eligible for reduced-cost internet access, for example, or that even if they’re undocumented, they can still file taxes, and thus become eligible for benefits for their American born children, among others. “Unfortunately,” notes Hall, “the vulnerable will always be the hardest to reach.” Families need more time, experts say Until the pandemic, Sara worked in light construction, but now she stays home. The couple has bought one of Detroit’s many derelict homes, which can cost just a few thousand dollars, and are renovating it themselves. A social worker who is trying to help Sara’s American-born son qualify for the CTC through his father, is gamely dealing with a legion of setbacks. His Mexican passport has expired, the nearest consulate moved from downtown Detroit to Madison Heights, a three hour round trip by public transit. If he can get an appointment (consulates are backed up), and figure out how to travel there (the social worker says she is asking one of her siblings to drive them), get a day off work (his job offers none), and get enough forms of ID to qualify for a passport, it’s possible he can also get a ITIN, a taxpayer number. If he can then wade through enough forms to file a tax return, and get his son’s American birth certificate, Ivan may eventually qualify for some federal help. That’s if the program lasts beyond the end of the year. Read More: Americans Need Recurring Stimulus Checks Until the Pandemic Is Over In some ways Sara is among the lucky ones. He family unit is stable. She dreams of being an interior designer and cabinet maker. Maria, another mother in Michigan with three American-born children under 5, cannot afford those dreams. She and her children’s father do not live together, but he currently pays the rent. Even if all the obstacles to getting the CTC could be overcome, it’s not clear who would get the money. Maria, 26, who first came to the U.S. with her mother to escape the violence of her father, she says, has no work and is reluctant to search for any, because she has no childcare or transport. So she stays home all day, venturing out only occasionally to take the children on the long walk to the nearest grocery store for food, and worries about her elderly mother, who returned to Mexico after her father died and whose health is frail. Despite the program’s shortcomings, Shaefer, the poverty researcher, sees the advanced CTC as a profoundly important development. “I’m just incredibly excited that we have the scaffolding in place, that I think we can continue to improve,” he says. “It’s unprecedented in history that we would have a program that went out to this many families. And the initial evidence is really strong that it’s working in the ways that we think it should be working.” One side benefit Shaefer and other researchers were hoping for is that more families would come out of the shadows, so that they could be reached by social service agencies. The lure of free money is pretty strong, and Sara and other families seem committed to figuring out how to get themselves documented. The IRS is not allowed to share information on the families with other government agencies, whether it’s ICE or Medicaid, but activists hope that the interaction will help them gain some trust in government institutions. Alzayadi, the social worker, says she was inspired to work undocumented families, because as a young mother of four, a home visitor found her, encouraged her to put her situation to rights and showed her the steps she needed to take to get help. In an encouraging sign, a larger number of families applied for and received the August payment than the 35 million who got July payment. One of the unanticipated side effects of the CTC payments might be that it may entice those who have been difficult for social services to reach and the safety net to catch, to finally reach out for some help. —with reporting by Pablo Muñoz-Hernandez.....»»

Category: topSource: timeSep 21st, 2021

What to do if you can"t pay rent during the pandemic

Orders to close businesses have left many people without income. Here's what to know about making rent amid the COVID-19 pandemic......»»

Category: topSource: moneycentralMar 30th, 2020

Cannabis industry jobs are on the rise, fueled by the Great Resignation

The number of employees in the US legal marijuana sector surpass those who are paramedics, aircraft pilots, or electrical engineers. A budtender weighs out marijuana for a customers at ShowGrow, a medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Los Angeles. AP Photo/Richard Vogel Retail workers are finding refuge as they move into marijuana-related jobs, The Washington Post first reported. The legal cannabis sector is currently one of the fastest-growing industries in the US. Millions of people across the US are quitting their jobs in the Great Resignation, fueled by COVID-19 pandemic stresses. See more stories on Insider's business page. As more Americans choose to leave their current jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the question remains: where are they going? One answer is the booming legal marijuana industry.The cannabis industry has become a place of refuge for frustrated and under-appreciated retail workers who left their jobs, the Washington Post reported. Despite unemployment and a temporary economic recession in 2020 fueled by the pandemic, resulting in one of the worst years for US economic growth in 80 years, employment in the industry grew by 32%. The industry added over 77,000 jobs across the sector, according to a 2021 Leafly Jobs report. There are now 321,000 American working in the legal cannabis industry, more than those who are EMTs and paramedics, aircraft pilots, or electrical engineers, the report said."I am so much happier," a cannabis dispensary employee Jason Zvokel told The Washington Post. "For the first time in years, I'm not miserable when I come home from work."Zvokel left his job as a Walgreens pharmacist, which he held for over twenty years, according to the Post, taking on a job at a dispensary where his pay is 5% lower, but hours and work expectations are more manageable. Between administering dozens of coronavirus vaccines daily, the pressures of meeting high sales and prescription goals, and the lack of overtime pay or raises, Zvokel felt inclined to quit."People were quitting left and right and I was being asked to do a lot more than I physically could," Zvokel added.Similar stresses are echoed throughout different industries, like retail, food service, and healthcare - fueling the Great Resignation, where US workers are quitting their jobs in droves for better pay, work-life balance, and feeling valued at work. Almost 70% of workers in the US considered changing their careers for more job flexibility, even at the expense of lower pay. Some underqualified workers are outright "ghosting" their employers without notice, leading to a sharp decline in worker retention, especially in the restaurant industry.Mario Porter, the co-owner of a Michigan-based dispensary, Hempire Collective, told The Washington Post he was able to expand his dispensary staff in 2021. He received hundreds of applications, many of which came from retail workers who left their jobs during the pandemic.Like jobs in the retail sector, most entry-level jobs in the cannabis industry are minimum wage, but there are more opportunities to move up quickly, the Post reported. Lucrative managerial and executive jobs in the industry can rake in 6-figure salaries. But as the industry's workforce grows, cannabis worker's rights groups have pushed to establish firm guardrails to avoid worker's issues prevalent in industries like retail. "Without proper structures and safeguards in place at the outset, cannabis could end up looking like many other U.S. industries," according to a report from the Economic Policy Institute. These industries are dominated by "strictly profit-maximizing firms" that treat find ways to keep wages low and undermine worker power, the report continued.Though medical marijuana is now legal in 37 states, and 18 states and Washington DC have legalized recreational marijuana for all adults, the substance is still prohibited on the federal level.In June, Democratic senators proposed sweeping reforms to legalize cannabis. The legal cannabis industry is expected to shoot to $100 billion over the next eight years according to analysts at Cowen investment bank, given it becomes legal in the coming years. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 25th, 2021

Two-thirds of low wage workers still don"t have sick days amid ongoing pandemic

Paid sick days have a positive benefit to employers as it reduces employee turnover, researchers say. Westend61/Getty Images Two-thirds of low-wage workers do not have sick days, despite the ongoing pandemic, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, paid sick days have a positive benefit to employers as it reduces employee turnover. There has been a recent push by Democratic politicians and workers in the US to secure paid leave for low-wage workers. See more stories on Insider's business page. Two-thirds of low-wage workers do not have sick days, even during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.Over three-quarters, or about 77%, of private-sector workers in the US have the ability to earn paid sick time at work, but the benefit is mostly available to higher-wage workers, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Only 33% of the lowest-paid workers are able to earn paid sick days in the US, the data found.Low-wage workers, such as people working in education, restaurants, and manufacturing, are typically working in positions where they have more direct contact with the public, putting them at a higher risk for developing a contagious disease like COVID-19, falling ill, and subsequently being forced to miss work, the Economic Policy Institute points out. Access to paid sick days has positive benefits to employers as it reduces employee turnover with no impact on employment, according to EPI. Depending on where workers live can also impact their access to paid sick days, the EPI reported. 95% of private-sector workers living in the Pacific Region (California, Oregon, and Washington) have access to paid sick leave while only 67% in East South Central states (Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee) have the same access. Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee all have preemption laws prohibiting cities and counties from requiring local employers to offer paid sick leave or other forms of paid family or medical leave, according to the EPI.There is no federal law requiring employers to provide paid sick leave. Recently, Tyson Foods, the world's second-largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork, granted workers fully vaccinated against the coronavirus 20 hours of paid sick leave a year to incentivize employees to get the vaccine, Insider Reported. However, Amazon, which currently employs every 1 out of 153 workers in the US, does not offer its warehouse workers paid sick leave. Amazon has come under scrutiny from its employees and labor activists for offering unsafe working conditions for its warehouse workers and delivery drivers. The company has repeatedly said the safety of drivers and communities is its top priority and it invests millions of dollars in safety protocols for workers.-Dan Price (@DanPriceSeattle) June 23, 2021House Democrats are currently drafting a bill that includes 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for American workers. The proposed $3.5 trillion infrastructure plan, called the Build Back Better Act, would guarantee workers time off to raise newborn children or deal with a medical emergency, Insider reported. "This is our historic opportunity to support working families and ensure our economy is stronger, more inclusive, and more resilient for generations to come," Chairman Richard E. Neal, a Massachusetts representative, previously told Insider.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 25th, 2021

Wealthy Germans Fearing Leftist Victory In Sunday"s Vote Scramble To Move Fortunes To Switzerland

Wealthy Germans Fearing Leftist Victory In Sunday's Vote Scramble To Move Fortunes To Switzerland With Chancellor Angela Merkel's 16-year reign set to conclude following this weekend's German federal election, the broader German political landscape is about to change for the first time in two decades. And with Merkel's dynastic CDU/CSU continuing to slide in the polls, a situation that we first sketched out four weeks ago remains likely: a party that has ruled Germany for 50 of the past 70 years and began to see the chancellery as its natural birthright is now facing the real prospect of being booted out of power. The latest polls show the CDU/CSU in second place behind center-left rivals SPD. But even more concerning (particularly for the country's wealthy) are the gains being made by the greens, and a far-left party known as Die Linke, the ideological and political heir to the East German socialists who ruled over East Germany during the cold war. To the CDU/CSU, these far-leftists are just as unpalatable as the AfD, a stridently right-wing party that has been the most successful right-wing movement in terms of its representation in the Bundestag. Source: the Guardian But increasingly, the CDU's Armin Lascet, the candidate running to succeed Merkel from her own party, has pressed the Social Democrats and their candidate, Olaf Scholz, to pledge not to form a coalition government with Linke, with whom the SPD is probably closer in terms of policy than the pro-business Free Democrats, according to Reuters. Per a different Reuters report, few expect this to happen - the Linke are polling at just 6%, half the liberals' 11%, which probably wouldn't be enough to give Scholz the required parliamentary majority. But for some investors, it is a risk that should not be overlooked. "Inclusion of the Linke in a governing coalition would, in our minds, represent the single biggest wild card by far for financial markets from the German elections," said Sassan Ghahramani, chief executive of U.S.-based SGH Macro Advisors, which advises hedge funds. Still, for the wealthy and the investing class, it's a risk that shouldn't be overlooked. "Inclusion of the Linke in a governing coalition would, in our minds, represent the single biggest wild card by far for financial markets from the German elections," said Sassan Ghahramani, chief executive of U.S.-based SGH Macro Advisors, which advises hedge funds. Which is why thousands of wealthy Germans are scrambling to stash their wealth in Switzerland ahead of the Sept. 26 vote, according to Reuters. If the center-left Social Democrats, hard-left Linke and environmentalist Greens come to power, the reintroduction of a wealth tax and a tightening of inheritance tax could be on the political agenda. "For the super-rich, this is red hot," said a German-based tax lawyer with extensive Swiss operations. "Entrepreneurial families are highly alarmed." What's more, Linke policies such as a rent cap and property taxes for millionaires would be enough to spook many in Germany's business class. Specifically, the SPD wants to reintroduce a wealth tax and increase inheritance taxes, while the Greens (their most likely potential coalition partner) hope to tax Large fortunes more heavily. Although both envision raising income tax for top earners, a tax on assets would raise much more money, the tax lawyer said. Most assume that a victorious Scholz - a strait-laced finance minister and a former mayor of Hamburg - would include the Free Democrats as a moderating influence in his coalition. Both the SPD and the Greens have ruled out working with any party refusing to commit to Germany's commitments under the NATO military alliance, or Germany's EU membership. Linke has questioned both. But either way, the fear of a left-wing government, possibly one with links to Germany's Communist Past, has shown just how many wealthy Europeans still see Switzerland as a safe haven for wealth, despite the country's efforts to abolish its image as a safe haven for billionaires. No country has more offshore assets than Switzerland. Inflows accelerated in 2020, to the benefit of UBS, Credit Suisse and Julius Baer. BIS data show deposits of German households and companies at banks in Switzerland climbed almost $5 billion to $37.5 billion during Q! of 2021. Note: this does not include shares, bonds or financial products. If we had to guess, that trend has likely continued as CDU's lead in the polls has shriveled. According to Reuters, more recent data aren't available, but insiders say the inflows have continued: "I have booked an above-average amount of new money as in the past three months," said a veteran client adviser at a large Swiss bank who deals mainly with Germans. One wealthy manager described the trend thusly: "Many wealthy people, especially entrepreneurs, fear that there will be a lurch to the left in Germany - no matter how the elections turn out." Another added: "I know a number of German entrepreneurs who want to have a foothold outside Germany if things get too red there". Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 10:55.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 25th, 2021

Panic Hoarding Gasoline Begins As UK Plunges Towards "Winter Of Discontent"

Panic Hoarding Gasoline Begins As UK Plunges Towards "Winter Of Discontent" One day after oil giant BP warned about rationing gasoline and diesel at UK service stations, Brits began to panic buy fuel as the government tried to calm fears.  Lines of cars and trucks are spilling over into the streets at service stations across the country. A BP spokesperson said Thursday that a truck driver shortage has resulted in its inability to transport fuel from refineries to its network of service stations. These words spooked the public, which could cause a more severe shortage due to the hoarding.  The scenes of long lines at gas stations bring back memories of the 1973 Opec Oil Crisis, the 2000 fuel shortage, and the virus pandemic disruptions amid fears the country is diving headfirst into a 1970s-style "winter of discontent" of shortages and socio-economic distress.  On Friday afternoon, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Brits on Sky News that there was no fuel shortage and for "everyone to carry on as normal." His soothing words weren't enough to stop the buying panic, which is expected to continue into the weekend.  Gasoline and diesel shortages will only stoke higher prices amid an expanding energy crisis that has resulted in another shortage: natural gas. This has caused power prices to erupt and disrupted chemical plants that halted fertilizer production, and has caused headaches for major food supply chains. Brits are also panic hoarding food.  The Daily Mail provides a list of issues that threatens a winter of discontent:  1. A shortage of natural gas causing a spike in gas bills for millions of Britons, along with the possibility of dozens of small energy firms going bust;  2. However ministers say 'there is question of the lights going out, of people being unable to heat their homes. There will be no three-day working week, or a throwback to the 1970s';  3. A shortage of natural gas leading to the closure of fertilizer plants, which produce the CO2 used in fizzy drinks and the meat industry;  4. The Government has since agreed a deal with fertilizer firms to restart a factory in a bid to maintain CO2 production;  5. A lorry driver shortage which is crippling the UK's transport industry, leaving to empty shelves and slow delivery times;  6. Bosses say this could impact both of Christmas dinners and have an impact on the number of toys on the shelves;  7. Now bosses of major fuel firms have warned they will have to start shutting petrol stations because there are not enough lorry drivers to effectively distribute to all of its petrol stations; 8. It comes after the Bank of England warned on Thursday that surging household energy bills would send the cost of living spiralling by more than 4 percent this winter - the highest rate of growth for a decade Worst still, there are now fears that shortages could bite households in the run-up to Christmas.  The classic Christmas dinner could be decimated, with turkey, pigs in blankets, potatoes and brussel sprouts all at risk. Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 08:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 25th, 2021

Meet a recent college grad with $143,000 in student debt: "There have been times when I didn"t eat" to afford the payments

When Karla couldn't afford to pay $1,000 a month as she planned, her servicing company, Sallie Mae, cut her a deal: she could pay $900 instead. Shutterstock.com Private student loans are not included in federal student debt forgiveness conversations. Insider spoke to Karla, a recent grad with $143,000 in student debt - $91,000 of which are private. She's falling behind on her payments and wishes her student-loan company would help. See more stories on Insider's business page. Karla graduated from Sam Houston State University in May 2020, and she keeps pushing off calling her student-loan company, Sallie Mae, because of the anxiety it brings.She has a student-debt load of $143,000, and $91,000 of that is private loans, payments on which weren't paused during the pandemic. She's falling behind."It's truly my private loans that are killing me slowly," the 26-year-old said, asking that her last name be withheld because she feared legal repercussions.Campus housing was expensive and jobs on campus only allowed part-time work at minimum wage, so Karla turned to Sallie Mae to help her finance her education and additional expenses on top of the federal aid she had already received. But once she took out those private loans, her debt quickly accumulated thanks to high interest rates. Even though she's kept up with her monthly payments, she hasn't even touched the amount she originally asked to borrow.President Joe Biden extended the pandemic pause on student-loan payments through the end of January, but most private student loans were not included, meaning people like Karla had to keep paying off student debt during a time of extreme financial uncertainty."There have been times when I didn't eat and was super stressed out to afford my payments," Karla said. "Literally, it felt like I was working to pay off loans. I wasn't working to live or to have a life - I was working to pay the loans."'You have to pull tooth and nail to get some help'Insider has previously reported on the difficulty both federal and private student-loan borrowers have in getting help from the companies that collect their debt, and the situation was no different for Karla. She said that while she was in college she tried to educate herself as best as she could on how to repay her loans, but since she graduated during a pandemic, her financial situation changed and she did not have the money to make the payments Sallie Mae requested."They originally asked me to pay $1,000 a month after I graduated," Karla said, which she couldn't afford. "So I called and they said I can pay $900 a month, instead. If I can't pay $1,000, what makes you think I'm going to be able to pay $900?"Given that she had other obligations aside from her loans, like paying for food and gas, Karla has fallen behind on her debt load and said she wishes the private student loan portfolio was getting the same attention as federal student loans, so she would have more options to pay off her debt and seek loan forgiveness. Private loans make up 7.89% of total outstanding student loans."They're totally fine giving you a credit card, but you have to pull tooth and nail to get some help paying off the loans," Karla said.The Wall Street Journal's Josh Mitchell reported on the origins of Sallie Mae in his book "The Debt Trap," saying that Congress created Sallie Mae in 1973 to help people gain an education, but the company grew to prioritize "enormous profits" off of lending to borrowers, "often leaving borrowers in the lurch."Sallie Mae did not respond to Insider's request for comment.Even though private student loans are the majority of Karla's debt, she still has $52,000 in federal student loans and said "every amount counts" when it comes to loan forgiveness.Biden campaigned on cancelling $10,000 in student debt per borrower and Democrats are pushing for that amount to be increased to $50,000, and Karla is hopeful that Biden and Congress will see that loan forgiveness is something "that needs to happen." But the president has yet to comment on a timeline for if, or when, this forgiveness will occur."It's about helping people live their lives better, and if that means forgiving their student loan debt, then do it," Karla said. "I'm hopeful, but I'll believe it when I see it."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 25th, 2021

3 parents reveal what it"s like job-hunting during the pandemic: "We"re all on our own"

More working parents are holding out for jobs that offer remote flexibility, but the hunt is exhausting. Former art Caitlin Tolchin says she's struggled finding jobs that allow her to work from home to care for her daughter. Caitlin Tolchin Many parents trying to return to the workforce have new demands for what their future job entails. More want to find remote work, like single mom Cari Gerber who cares for her son attending virtual elementary school. Others, like dad of two Michael Kidd, are choosing to go back to school over starting another minimum-wage job. See more stories on Insider's business page. Caitlin Tolchin always imagined when she found out she was pregnant, she and her husband would find a clever way to craft a baby announcement. After all, she was an art director and creativity was her strong suit. But in April 2020, within days of her positive home pregnancy test, Tolchin found herself sobbing on the floor of her New York City apartment. She just learned she'd been laid off from her job as art director at Douglas Elliman Real Estate."The timing couldn't have been worse. It really packed a punch. Here I was pregnant and now out of a job while the world was coming crashing down," the 38-year-old told Insider.When COVID hit, Tolchin's department began working remotely. Within a few weeks, a mass email went out saying that business had taken a hit and staff reductions were imminent. "Moments later, I got an email from HR that I'd been laid off and was shut out of my corporate email. After three years, that was it. No furlough, no two weeks notice, just like that, done," said Tolchin, adding that her furloughed supervisor did call to check in on her, but the damage was already done.Tolchin says job recruiters told her no one would hire someone who'd need maternity leave that winter, so she put her job search on hold. But even after having her baby, she couldn't find a job. Now her daughter is 10 months old, and Tolchin says the job market for creatives still doesn't look promising. Caitlin Tolchin and her daughter. Caitlin Tolchin "I've heard companies are outsourcing work to third-world countries and paying a fraction of the cost," Tolchin said. "I've sent out somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 to 300 resumes and only received about 5 calls, all for in-person work which I'm no longer interested in."In the meantime, she says she plans to enroll in an online art class to build up her skill set. It hasn't been easy, though, because like 7.5 million other Americans, she also lost federal unemployment benefits in September. Tolchin isn't alone in the desire for remote work flexibility, and a willingness to hold out for a job that's the right fit. A recent Insider survey showed 41% of women saying remote flexibility would attract them most in a job offer or incentivize them to expand their job search. More professionals are considering switching careersA recent Pew Research Center report revealed 66% of the unemployed people surveyed "seriously considered changing fields or occupations since they've been unemployed. Forty-one year old divorced mom Cari Gelber says she toyed with the idea after being furloughed from her job in April 2020 at a New York-based video production company. She took the leap - twice. Cari Gelber and her son. Cari Gelber "With my son home all day attending elementary school remotely, I looked for work I could do from home," Gelber told Insider.Gelber soon found a remote, commission-based sales position through a former boss, but stayed on the hunt for something more stable. Several months later, she applied for a full-time remote position at Club Feast, a subscription-based restaurant delivery service. Thanks to her previous hospitality experience, she got the job and now works in the company's restaurant partnerships department.Despite reopenings, not all hourly workers want to return to hospitalityMichael Kidd, a 29-year-old married father of two, was fired from his hourly food service position at Elon Musk's Texas-based company SpaceX in April 2021. "When COVID hit, it was like the world was collapsing and there I was whipping up potatoes and gourmet meals in the employee cafeteria," Kidd told Insider. "I was working 55 to 70 hours a week and then coming home to help my pregnant wife put our 1-year-old son to bed." Michael Kidd with his youngest son. Michael Kidd Kidd says he was emotionally and physically drained, and it became a struggle to get out of bed each morning. "I have ADHD and my work started to suffer," he said. "When I arrived at work late a few too many times, they fired me. They were right to do it, but it still stung," Kidd said. In May, just one month after losing his job, Kidd's wife gave birth to their second son. Instead of looking for another in-person job, Kidd decided to look from work home toa help out more with the new baby. "I started doing freelance content writing and went back to school to earn my Associates degree," said Kidd, who as an army veteran was also able to take advantage of the GI Bill for education costs as well as to assist with rent. In July, Kidd contracted COVID-19 and was bedridden for a week. In August, Kidd's wife took a job as an assistant at a local dance studio to bring in extra money. Around the same time, the family's food stamps came to a stop after a caseworker requested paperwork Kidd was unable to provide. Now he says he has to refile in order to reopen his case. "We're trying to keep up, but it's been touch and go at times financially. The stimulus checks bailed us out for a while, but it hasn't been easy," he said. Like Kidd, unemployed parents across America are bracing themselves for another season of the pandemic, and hanging on by a thread. "Just making the time to search for a job while caring for your family is a job unto itself. They say it takes a village, but because of COVID there is no village," Tolchin told Insider. "We're all on our own right now just trying to do our best."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

10 Things in Politics: Hollywood"s top DC power players

And booster shots are officially being encouraged for many Americans. Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go - click here for iOS and here for Android. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com.Here's what we're talking about:Meet Hollywood's top Washington power playersCDC director breaks with outside advisors in endorsing booster shots for healthcare workersA draft of Arizona's election audit finds Biden won the stateWith Phil Rosen. DeDe Lea, Sarah Howes, Tyrone Bland, and Patrick Kilcur are lobbyists representing the film and TV industry. ViacomCBS, DGA, CAA, MPA 1. TINSELTOWN'S HEAVY HITTERS IN THIS TOWN: Hollywood has long had a fascination with Washington. Behind the scenes, this is about a lot more than just the setting for the next political thriller. Issues like net neutrality, copyright protection, trade, taxes, and, most recently, economic relief all affect the entertainment sector, which is why it's spent an estimated $26.4 million this year on lobbying for its favored policies.Here are some of the biggest power players:Tyrone Bland, head of government affairs at Creative Artists Agency: Bland, pictured above on the bottom left, got his start in politics as a chief of staff for the California State Legislature. He has experience working for or on behalf of the supplement seller Herbalife, Coca-Cola, Walmart, and Verizon.Gail MacKinnon and Patrick Kilcur, Motion Picture Association: MacKinnon handles global policy for the MPA, which represents the film industry's biggest studios including Disney, Sony Pictures, and Netflix. Kilcur, MacKinnon's US counterpart who is pictured above on the bottom right, was formerly a floor manager for Sen. Mitch McConnell. Also pictured above are DeDe Lea of ViacomCBS and Sarah Howes of the Directors Guild of America.Kerri Wood Einertson, Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists: SAG-AFTRA's membership includes the industry's best-known faces along with workday actors, radio personalities, and other performers. Wood Einertson spent three years on the Hill as a legislative aide before returning to California to work for the consulting firm Korn Ferry and later working on behalf of the union.Check out Insider's entire list of the DC power players Disney, Fox, Apple, and others rely on.2. CDC director endorses Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots for older Americans: Dr. Rochelle Walensky partially broke with the earlier findings of an independent group of medical advisors by also endorsing booster shots for people who're at an increased risk of getting COVID-19 while at work, such as healthcare workers, or because of where they live. Walensky noted her recommendation aligned with the Food and Drug Administration, which came to a different conclusion from that of the nonbinding CDC advisory panel. More broadly, Walensky also endorsed Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots for Americans 65 and older, residents of nursing homes, and adults ages 18 to 64 with underlying health conditions. The CDC's latest move means many Americans are now encouraged to get boosters, though the primary pandemic challenge remains persuading people to get a first dose.3. Arizona's election audit says Biden won the state: Cyber Ninjas, the group leading the audit, is set to announce its findings later today, and Insider obtained a draft copy of the audit results. The draft 110-page report says Donald Trump actually did worse than previously thought, concluding he received 261 fewer votes than the official Maricopa County canvass while Joe Biden won 99 more votes. A representative for the audit told KJZZ Phoenix the draft was "not the final report, but it's close." Election experts and local Republican officials have complained about Cyber Ninjas' lack of election-related experience and other issues for months, The Washington Post reports. Trump, who doesn't appear to have seen that the draft report concluded he lost, touted the audit last night.The audits aren't over:Texas announced a review of four counties' returns just hours after Trump pushed for an audit bill: The Texas secretary of state's office said it had started a "full forensic audit" of results in Collin, Dallas, Harris and Tarrant counties, The Texas Tribune reports. The office did not say why it was conducting a review into those counties. More on what this means.4. Capitol riot committee subpoenas close Trump aides: Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot, said his panel was subpoenaing the former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows as well as Dan Scavino, Steve Bannon, and Kash Patel. Thompson said the four men were working in or had close communications with the Trump White House in the days before the January 6 insurrection. This is a major step for the committee. Police officers outside the scene of a shooting at a Kroger supermarket in Collierville, Tennessee. Action News 5 5. Twelve people were wounded and one person was killed in a supermarket shooting in Tennessee: ​​"I've been involved in this for 34 years, and I've never seen anything like this," Chief Dale Lane of the Collierville Police Department said. Officers who responded to the shooting found some people hiding in freezers. The lone suspect died at the scene. More on the news.6. Senior diplomat abruptly resigns over the treatment of Haitians at US border: Daniel Foote, the US special envoy for Haiti, wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that he would not be associated with what he described as the "inhumane, counterproductive decision" to deport Haitian migrants from Texas after thousands flocked to the border. Foote's exit is just the latest pushback to the Biden administration's handling of the situation.7. The White House is telling agencies to prepare for a government shutdown: Biden administration officials stressed that the White House budget office's notification was in line with past actions taken when a shutdown seemed possible and did not express an opinion of the likelihood of it happening, The Post reports. House Democrats passed a bill earlier this week that would fund the government, but their inclusion of a suspension of the debt ceiling has rankled Senate Republicans, who argue Democrats should have to avoid a debt default on their own. Here's where things stand as Democrats try to avoid the first shutdown of the pandemic.8. Brian Williams could leave NBC News: Williams, who anchors a late-night news show on MSNBC, is holding talks about whether to stay at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. A TV news industry insider told Insider there was talk of Williams and a representative, the high-profile Washington lawyer Bob Barnett, having discussions with CBS News and CNN. Losing Williams at a time when Rachel Maddow is reducing her live-TV time could be perilous for MSNBC.9. Let the holiday hiring wars begin: Amazon, Walmart, UPS, and FedEx are facing off in a race to staff more than 335,000 workers in a tight labor market. Supply-chain experts remain uncertain whether the big companies can meet their hiring goals amid the labor crunch. Here's what experts expect will happen this holiday season. The actor Daniel Craig, seen to the right of First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, earned an honorary appointment to commander in the Royal Navy. Royal Navy 10. The name's Bond, James Bond (of the Royal Navy). The actor Daniel Craig became the Royal Navy's newest honorary commander ahead of his coming Bond movie, "No Time to Die," which will feature a Royal Navy destroyer. Craig appeared in the naval uniform, wearing three gold bars on his shoulder that denote a commander's rank, matching the rank of the fictional Bond. See the photos of 007 in uniform.Today's trivia question: Sticking with the character who has stirred audiences (but not his martinis) for decades, which president recorded a message from the White House gushing about his love for James Bond? Hint: His staffers were peeved when the president's words were used to promote the release of "Octopussy." Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.Yesterday's answer: The Butt-Millet Memorial Fountain on the Ellipse (an area outside the White House) commemorates Archibald Butt and Francis Millet. They are thought to be the only two US officials killed aboard the Titanic.That's all for this week. Have a great weekend!Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

Costco confirms it"s limiting toilet paper and water purchases, as customers start to stockpile amid the spread of the Delta variant

Costco customers are buying more and more toilet paper and water as the Delta variant surges in the US, the company's CFO said. Costco has reinstated purchase limits on toilet paper. Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images Costco is limiting the amount of toilet paper and water customers can buy in its stores. Demand for these items is soaring as customers stock up amid the spread of the Delta variant. Customers have been complaining about product shortages at Costco on Twitter for several weeks. See more stories on Insider's business page. Costco's purchase limits on key items are back. The warehouse chain confirmed in a call with analysts on Thursday that it had reinstated purchase limits on items such as toilet paper and packs of its own-brand Kirkland water to prevent shortages. Customers are buying more and more of these items amid the spread of the Delta variant in the US, it said.Insider reported on Costco's purchase limits earlier this month. Costco had not previously confirmed what items were limited, or that the limits were a reaction to spikes in demand.Costco shoppers began warning of toilet paper shortages in August and some customers said they may stockpile the item."Did we not learn from last year at all? I pulled up to Costco and they are out of toilet paper and water. These people never learn," one person in Nevada said.Grocery chains used purchase limits in the early days of the pandemic to prevent product shortages. Costco imposed the latest limits in reaction to "the uptick in the Delta-related demand," CFO Richard Galanti said in a call with analysts Thursday.It's not just customer demand for certain items that is causing shortages: Galanti told analysts that ongoing supply chain issues were also a problem for the retailer. He used antibacterial wipes as an example, without specifying which brand. "A year ago there was a shortage of merchandise, now they've got plenty of merchandise, but there's two to three-week delays on getting it delivered," he said. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

Australian Government Shuts Down Melbourne Construction Sites Amid Protests Over Vaccine Mandates

Australian Government Shuts Down Melbourne Construction Sites Amid Protests Over Vaccine Mandates By Jennifer Goodman of Construction Dive, Construction sites in and around Melbourne, Australia, have been shut down for two weeks after hundreds of construction workers and other protestors gathered Monday at the site of a union building, throwing bottles and damaging equipment. They were protesting the Victorian government's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for construction workers that begins Thursday. Riot police used rubber bullets and pepper spray to disperse crowds, the BBC reported, and the headquarters building for the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union was damaged. Several people were arrested. The union released a statement saying it condemned the protests and the "mindless acts of violence" perpetrated by members of the crowd. The statement said that many protesters were not construction workers but members of neo-Nazi and other right-wing extremist groups. "It is clear that a minority of those who participated were actual union members," it said. Protests continued on Tuesday in Melbourne, with the crowd growing into the thousands and encompassing anti-vaccine activists and other types of workers.  Up to 2,000 protesters descended into the city's central business district, according to The New York Times, which also reported that protesters threw bottles at the police and set off flares, while officers in riot gear fired rubber bullets and used pepper spray. Worker protests began last week when "tea rooms" where tradespeople congregate during breaks were shut down amid the rising delta surge and the government banned workers from consuming food or drink indoors. That prompted construction workers to take their lunch breaks outside in protest. They set up tables and plastic chairs in multiple intersections in central Melbourne, blocking roads and holding up traffic, according to NPR. Public health measures Following the protests, construction and state officials announced that jobsites in Melbourne and other areas in the region will be closed for at least two weeks beginning Tuesday. It cited Monday's unrest and the increase in COVID-19 cases in the building and construction industry as the reasons. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that multiple outbreaks — as high as 13% of all cases, according to local media reports — have been linked to construction sites. Construction has been among the few industries that have largely stayed open throughout the pandemic in Victoria. "Construction workers are a mobile workforce who may work across multiple sites and travel longer distances to work than other permitted workers," Andrews said in a statement. "Concerns have also been raised, and remain, about the sector's compliance with public health measures and directions." Minister for Industrial Relations Tim Pallas was even more forceful, saying that his office has seen widespread non-compliance across the industry. "We've been clear: if you don't follow the rules, we won't hesitate to take action," he said in the statement. Workers will be required to show proof of at least one vaccine dose when sites reopen on Oct. 5, he added. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 21:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 23rd, 2021

Holiday hiring wars: Amazon, Walmart, UPS, and FedEx face off in a race to staff more than 335,000 workers in a brutally tight labor market

Insider spoke to four supply chain experts to gauge what employers are up against in terms of the ongoing supply chain labor shortage. Companies are struggling to fill supply chain roles. Amazon; DHL; UPS; FedEx; Walmart; Samantha Lee/Insider Large companies are planning to hire thousands of supply chain workers for the holiday season. But in an ongoing labor crunch, it's uncertain if any will meet their goals. Insider spoke with four supply chain experts about what's next for the space. See more stories on Insider's business page. Facing the swiftly approaching holiday season, companies are throwing massive job events, touting pay hikes, and embracing the gig economy to staff up in critical supply chain roles.Amazon said it plans to hire 125,000 new warehouse and transportation employees. Walmart declared that it will onboard 20,000 new permanent supply chain workers. FedEx recently touted 90,000 open positions. UPS said it intends to hire over 100,000 workers for the holidays.The pressure is on, as these companies and many others face one of the toughest hiring seasons for the supply chain on record, experts say."This is an ongoing labor shortage," Dan Johnston, founder and CEO of logistics solutions provider WorkStep. "It's no secret that with the continued boom of e-commerce and the continued growth of the supply chain sector, as well as some structural labor challenges, that there is significantly more demand for talent in this space than there is supply."High turnover makes hiring even harderThe pandemic changed how many people work and shop. As online shopping soared, so did the strain on the entire supply chain, from fulfilment centers and warehouses to retailers that served as a pick-up stop for online purchases. Workers at every level felt the impact, especially in jobs where employee retention is already difficult."It's always hard to get people to really commit to warehouse work," Maggie Barnett, COO of logistics provider ShipHero, told Insider. "There's a lot of turnover."Amazon, which employs nearly 1.3 million full-time and part-time workers globally, has struggled with high worker turnover of about 150% every year, the New York Times reported. An Amazon employee scans packages in Staten Island. Brendan McDermid/Reuters Some companies hoped to see an uptick in job applications after expanded federal unemployment benefits ended in early September."There had been a narrative that as unemployment benefits lapsed, we would see a change in behavior with workers re-entering the workforce," Mathieu Stevenson, CEO of hourly work online marketplace Snagajob, told Insider. "We are not seeing that."Stevenson said that blue collar workers are especially impacted by lack of affordable childcare options and uncertainty around school openings, which keeps them "sitting on the sidelines of the workforce" despite a record number of 10.1 million job openings in July.Employers need to focus on retentionMany employers have focused on attracting new hires with financial incentives and other perks. Experts say they should focus instead on keeping current employees engaged and happy. "When I talk to my network, the main thing is not just money," Barnett, the logistics executive, said. "They're getting creative around offering childcare for free, or at a greatly reduced rate. They're doing meal plans at a discounted rate."Hiring bonuses can be more of a "brute force hammer," effective for snagging short-term hires but not for long-term retention, Johnston explained. A UPS worker moves boxes in Los Angeles. Lucy Nicholson/File Photo/Reuters "The most sustainable strategy is that investment in workforce satisfaction and growth potential, and how that translates into the ability for a company to deliver the same number of goods while requiring less new hires," he said. "The more you retain, the fewer new hires you need overall. The more you retain, the higher the average productivity per worker."Supply chain is one area of hourly work where frontline workers can graduate into "more specialized, more highly compensated roles," Johnston said. To strengthen retention, managers should foster strong relationships with their reports and show them what their career path could look like, he said. He cited Amazon and Walmart as two companies that seem to understand this problem, given their employee educational benefits that allow workers to adopt new skills. A truck belonging to Walmart's fleet. George Frey/Getty Experts say that even a simple culture shift where workers are treated like essential and valued employees, rather than an amorphous mass of expendable labor, could help employers with retention."We all depend on these folks," Barnett said. "During COVID, thank goodness everyone that went into the warehouses did what they did so that we could all have our luxuries. It should be rewarded and it should be noticed."Workers are after 'the sweetest deal'The current tight labor market within supply chain is a challenge for all businesses. But it will weigh more heavily on certain employers than others."Small businesses cannot afford to pay what Walmart or Amazon would be able to pay," Dr. P.K. Kannan, the Dean's Chair in marketing science at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, told Insider. "They will try to pay and hang onto the workers they have, but that workforce would come under tremendous pressure."Most companies will fall short of their hiring goals, Johnston and Stevenson said, and some may struggle just to stay on top of turnover. "These folks are going to jump around until they get the sweetest deal," Barnett said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 23rd, 2021

Andrew Yang"s new 3rd party will be called "The Forward Party," according to his forthcoming book

After keeping the name under wraps, Yang unveils it in the final chapter of his forthcoming book, arguing Democrats and Republicans need a buffer. Former presidential and NYC mayoral candidate Andrew Yang. Alex Wong/Getty Images Andrew Yang unveiled the name of his new 3rd party in his forthcoming book. It will be called "The Forward Party," according to a copy obtained by Insider. Yang argues America's two party system is unsustainable. See more stories on Insider's business page. After coming up short in his presidential and New York City mayoral bids, Andrew Yang has settled on a name for his new third party."The Forward Party" is named in the final chapter of Yang's forthcoming book, "Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy," a copy of which was obtained by Insider.A source close to Yang and familiar with the plans confirmed the party's existence to Insider on Sept. 10, but the Yang confidante was unable to disclose the name.Yang outlines six "key principles" behind his party, which will need to be registered state-by-state."Ranked-choice voting and open primaries.""Fact-based governance.""Human-centered capitalism.""Effective and modern-day government.""Universal Basic Income.""Grace and Tolerance.""The dysfunction is going to kill us," Yang writes. "Worse, there's no reason to think that it will change. The two sides will be trapped in a war that both sides win-they will still be hovering in one of the most affluent areas in the country trading power-but the people will lose."Yang argues that the "duopoly" of America's two party political system is unsustainable, and that politic ans are ill equipped to deal with the shifting technological landscape amid the rise of artificial intelligence and other dynamics accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic."We are witnessing a cascade of crises, from a pandemic to a punitive economy to police brutality to the selling of our attention and digital data to the highest bidders. Our democratic institutions are faltering right and left, and our systems are not designed for speed or significant change," Yang explains in the book's introduction. "Trust is fading ... Our political system is a fixed duopoly that will want to move slowly, if at all."Beyond making his pitch for a viable third party - something that has eluded scores of activists throughout the course of American history - Yang seeks to diagnose what he sees as the biggest long term structural problems facing the nation."Our leaders are rewarded based not on solving problems but on accruing resources and retaining office," he writes. "Media companies have their own set of incentives that lead them to operate on a different wavelength from most of the American people. Local news is dying. And social media is driving our everyday discourse and our mental health to volatile extremes. These are all crises, and they are all linked in ways we will unpack in the pages ahead."In his failed mayoral primary bid, Yang got a taste of the potential behind ranked choice voting by entering a quasi-alliance with former NYC Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, vaulting him into fourth place and Garcia into a close second behind the eventual winner, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.Yang rose to national prominence during his dark horse presidential bid, outlasting several more seasoned politicians in a campaign led by a rookie campaign manager.He wrote the initial draft of the book in months after hiss presidential campaign into the fall of 2020, completing it in early 2021. The book is set for an Oct. 5 release.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

I"m an anti-bias expert. Here"s how to stop performative allyship at work - and 4 things to do instead.

"It may sting to be accused of virtue signaling, but it's understandable why communities who've been harmed are wary. Be consistent," says Lydia Elle. Lydia Elle says companies need to be committed long-term to fighting for racial justice. Lydia Elle Lydia Elle is a business consultant based in southern California who leads anti-bias workshops. She says allyship starts with recognizing and calling out discrimination and being consistent to build trust. Here's what she says to do to be a better ally at work, as told to freelance writer Melissa Petro. See more stories on Insider's business page. This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Lydia Elle, a consultant and anti-bias workshop leader. It has been edited for length and clarity.Last summer while I was working a full-time job and doing my best to stay safe and healthy amid the pandemic, my 11-year-old daughter came to me with her IPad and a look of confusion on her face. She'd just accidentally viewed a few moments of the George Floyd murder. Her face had a look that said "what happened mom?" Like many parents, I'd been trying to protect her from all that's bad and wrong in the world. I realized in this moment part of protecting her needed to be letting her learn what was wrong in the world, instead of just trying to shield her from it.Shortly after this talk, I made a decision to devote myself to fighting injustice. Today, I lead anti-bias workshops and create resources that support companies and individuals interested in becoming better allies. Here's four ways fellow professionals can step to be better allies at work. 1. Start by facing the problem The first and most vital step towards fixing these issues is being aware and acknowledging them. We cannot move to a place of healing and growth without speaking first about what is sick.Last year during the Black Lives Matter protests, some people accused protestors of being 'rioters' and 'looters,' but as others have pointed out most looting happens to Black people in the boardrooms and executive offices. Many Black workers still face a promotion and wage gap. Black women have to work 7 months extra per year to earn the same pay as their white male counterparts. In workplaces that suffer from a lack of diversity, people of color often end up feeling pressured to educate their colleagues. It's considerable work for no additional compensation. Allyship is more important than ever, especially in environments where it's not expected. Step in, speak up, and call out mistreatment. Have tough conversations with your colleagues about why certain phrases or words are harmful. It's not always comfortable or convenient, but it's necessary and worth it to create a safer world for everyone.2. Employers must recognize that diversity and inclusion adds value To foster an inclusive work environment, everyone should feel seen and heard and know that their contributions matter. There's an open door policy where everyone is encouraged to speak up. The impetus to create these kinds of workplaces must come from the top down. Employees need to see consistent and full buy-in from leadership at all levels. The narrative here shouldn't be that this is to help 'them' (minorities) but that these changes are for everyone. There's a lot of data surrounding the bottom line benefits of making diversity a priority in the workplace. Studies that show diversity attracts top performing candidates, encourages innovation, and increases revenue. On the other hand, if a workplace is unwelcoming and discriminatory, employees aren't likely to last long or perform their best.3. Be consistent When it comes to equality and racial justice, you've got to be committed to the long haul. Allyship is more than one training; it's doing something every day. This was the motivation behind my allyship calendar, which offers daily prompts to start difficult conversations.This time last year, many people - some of whom may have previously just been silent or 'on the fence' about their views - felt compelled to speak out against racial injustice. In response to the Black Lives Matter protests that swept across America, companies quickly crafted statements of support and even made financial pledges. However when the wave died down- even though the injustice and inequity are still present- the support waned, too. This kind of performative allyship can leave those needing help worse off than before. It may sting to be accused of virtue signaling, but it's understandable why communities who've been harmed are wary. Be consistent. It takes time to build trust.4. Bring on helpIf your company is truly committed to improving itself in terms of equity, equality and diversity among its staff, and creating a safer and more inclusive environment, I recommend hiring an expert. Outside counsel won't take sides, which will help make sure that no one in the organization feels isolated. Coworkers should be able to speak freely and without fear of retaliation. In certain environments, you won't get honesty before effectual and sustained change has been created. Hiring outside counsel also ensures the person or persons harmed aren't tasked with fixing things. I don't want to teach my daughter how to survive racism. I want to create a space, a world, where she doesn't have to. It's up to all of us to make our present and our children's future better.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

26 of the best beach houses on Airbnb in the US where the sand is just steps away

These are the best Airbnb beach house rentals in the US, from an oceanfront Malibu home in California to a condo on the water with a pool in Florida. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Airbnb Beach vacations are always top of mind for a relaxing, warm-weather getaway. Many Airbnbs are found along the best beaches in the US, with direct beachfront or private access. From Malibu to Cape Cod, these are the best beach homes on Airbnb, from $100 to $650 per night. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyAirbnbs with beachfront access continue to rank among the most searched for filters on the vacation rental platform.After all, who doesn't want to wake up to the sound of waves crashing right outside their back porch, or take a moonlit stroll along the sand after the sun goes down? Though, if you'd prefer to cool off in an Airbnb with a private pool instead, we have plenty of options for that, too. And if hotels are more your thing, here are the best beach hotels in the US.If a beach vacation is on your mind, from sea to shining blue sea there's no shortage of beautiful Airbnb beach houses across the US.Browse all Airbnb beach houses below, or jump to a specific area here:The best Airbnb beach houses in the NortheastThe best Airbnb beach houses in the SouthThe best Airbnb beach houses in the WestFAQ: Airbnb beach housesHow we selected the best beach houses on AirbnbFind more great beach house rentalsThese are the best Airbnb beach houses, sorted by region and price from low to high. BI Charming beachfront cottage on the Jersey Shore This cottage's private back deck leads straight to the beach. Airbnb Book this New Jersey beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $270Town: Cape MaySleeps: 2 guests/1 bedroomRating: 4.93Set along one of the Jersey Shore's most charming seaside towns, Cape May, this cozy bayfront cottage with one bedroom is best suited for couples and solo travelers, though it is also pet-friendly.It's important to note, this is a two-family home and while this space is completely private and uses a separate entrance, the other side of the house is occupied, which might not work for some guests. You are also required to bring your own linens to fit the Queen-sized bed.The location, however, is unparalleled and you'll love spending time on the private back deck, which includes a hammock and leads directly out to the beach. The front porch with chairs and an umbrella adds additional space for enjoying the sea breeze.Inside, the decor is simple but includes a red leather couch, an all-white kitchen with a dining table for two, and ocean photos in the bedroom.  Beach suite in Massachusetts This lovely beachfront suite includes beach passes and options for in-house massages and whale watching excursions. Airbnb Book this Massachusetts beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $299Town: GloucesterSleeps: 2 guests/1 bedroomRating: 4.98The charming seaside town of Gloucester, pronounced Glah-Sta, in coastal New England comes alive in the summertime. From long walks on a private beach to romantic dinners on the deck, this one-bedroom beachside retreat will make a great getaway for couples. Not only does the property come with a beachfront location, but beach passes are included, which would otherwise run between $25 to $30 per day. You may also book add-ons like in-house massages and whale watching expeditions directly with the host.While this is a separate guest suite with its own private entrance, the entire cottage consists of three units that are each rented separately. Though, you can combine listings to book the entire property.  Home by the sea in Maine Take in over 175 feet of mesmerizing oceanfront views from the roof deck. Airbnb Book this Maine beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $350Town: YorkSleeps: 4 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.94Just one hour north of Boston and one hour south of Portland, Maine, the Little Sea Star Castle is tucked away along Nubble Point in York Beach, Maine. One of 12 oceanside cottages within the LightHouse Village Colony, the house is set on nearly two acres with over 175 feet of oceanfront splendor with sunny, southern exposure and rugged rocky coastlines.The cottage offers plenty of space to lounge. A roof deck has panoramic views over the ocean, and the lawn has Adirondack chairs and a picnic table for outdoor dining. The kitchen has everything needed to make yourself at home, and beachy accents like starfish pillows and mini sailboats on the dressers keep the home on theme.The location is stellar, among scenic walking trails along the water. Bayfront oasis in Maryland Bayfront views are a captivating sight, and available throughout the home. Airbnb Book this Ocean City beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $395Town: Ocean CitySleeps: 5 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.92Offering uninterrupted bayfront views, this cozy townhome in Ocean City, Maryland is the ideal locale for your beach vacation. Sip morning coffee on the private balcony, enjoy steamed crabs on the large bayfront deck, or kick back with a cocktail and watch the sunset from the living room. The layout is an open-living concept with a master bedroom upstairs with a private balcony and a King-size bed. The second bedroom has a Queen bed and there's also a beige striped sectional couch that converts to a bed in the living room. Wicker furniture and deep blue quilts give this home a subtle beach vibe.Located on a corner lot of the bay, the owner is explicit that this is not meant for partiers or large group gatherings. If you're looking for a chill and relaxing beach getaway, this is the place for you. Beachfront home with bay views in Delaware Each room in this coastal home features scenic water views. Airbnb Book this Delaware beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $425Town: MiltonSleeps: 6 guests/4 bedroomsRating: 5.0Featuring both beachfront and bay views, this spacious four-bedroom, three-bathroom home in the quiet community of Broadkill Beach in Milton, Delaware offers unobstructed water views from almost every room. The home features a coastal design with plenty of natural light and soft tones. The well-equipped kitchen has unique tiling, a large island, and turquoise bar stools for grabbing a quick bite or enjoying a cup of coffee.One room includes bunk beds decked out in comforters with a cute whale pattern for kids. The location is peacefully quiet and primed to enjoy beautiful sunrises over the bay. Large oceanfront house with great views in Maine Luxury finishes couple with panoramic ocean views at this delightful property. Airbnb Book this Maine beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $613Town: SacoSleeps: 8 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.71If luxury finishes and panoramic views of the ocean sounds like your kind of vibe, then consider this oceanfront haunt in Saco, Maine. Enjoy coffee or wine from the upstairs balcony before taking a walk along Ferry Beach or Camp Ellis Pier.Ideal for bigger groups, the listing has two bedrooms and common spaces that sleep up to eight people. Though, the standout draw is no doubt the beachfront location and gorgeous water views, along with the surrounding quiet community. The home offers the chance to catch particularly stunning sunrises and sunsets.Other perks include a Smart TV with Netflix, beach chairs, and free parking included in the stay, as well as a digital guidebook handy for helping guests explore the area. Chic beachfront cottage in New York's North Fork of Long Island A minimalist interior style creates a tranquil ambiance. Airbnb Book this North Fork beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $650Town: RiverheadSleeps: 5 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.96Set on a secluded stretch of Long Island's illustrious North Fork, this two-bedroom beachfront cottage is a great place to hang by the beach or go wine tasting at one of the area's many charming vineyards.Wander along the private beach path or open up the floor-to-ceiling glass sliders that lead to a picturesque deck to dine at the picnic-style outdoor table, or relax on the plush lounger. An Airbnb Plus listing, the cottage's chic palette features crisp, minimalist whites and neutrals, creating a sense of serene seaside solitude for a quiet getaway. After a walk on the sand, rinse off in the outdoor shower while savoring water views. BI Cozy home on the North Carolina shore The nautical-themed living room has a picturesque balcony overlooking the ocean. Airbnb Book this North Carolina beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $100Town: North Topsail BeachSleeps: 6 guests/1 bedroomsRating: 4.91A cute condo directly on North Topsail Beach in North Carolina, this is a great option for couples or small families looking for a low-key beach getaway. The bedroom has a Queen bed and there are also Twin bunk beds built directly into the hallway.Completely renovated in 2020, the apartment has a nautical-beach theme with soft blue and yellow hues, and big living room windows frame beach views. You can also head out to the balcony for a closer look. Bright colors and floral decor give this home a warm, welcoming vibe, and a seashell bed quilt and striped bar stools at the eating nook add additional beach flair. Oceanfront condo with a pool in Florida Beachy accents like a mermaid statue and marine-inspired colors set a scene that creates a real sense of place. Airbnb Book this Florida beach home with a pool on AirbnbTypical starting price: $132Town: Cape CanaveralSleeps: 4 guests/1 bedroomRating: 4.95Serenity awaits at this casual oceanfront condo in Florida's Cape Canaveral. Set on a beautiful private beach, this Airbnb Plus stands out for its whimsical decor and thoughtful amenities, which include blues of every hue from the turquoise velvet armchair to the robin's egg backsplash in the kitchen. A mirror made out of oars, a mermaid statue, and an octopus painting over the couch are all fun touches for a beach home.This is also a great place to spend your time kayaking, paddle boarding, or enjoying some much-needed downtime just lounging on the beach or pool, which are both just a few steps away. Within minutes of downtown Port Canaveral and the iconic Cocoa Beach Pier, there's plenty to do right nearby. Ocean and bay view beach house in Texas The Bolivar Flats, Anahuac national wildlife refuge, and the Smith Oak sanctuary are all nearby and great for birdwatching. Airbnb Book this Texas beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $130Town: Bolivar PeninsulaSleeps: 6 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.97Located on the bayside of the Bolivar Peninsula on Texas' Gulf Coast, this home offers one bedroom and a lofted room, plus plenty of views of both the Gulf of Mexico and East Bay. It's also just a few miles away from popular bird-watching areas including Bolivar Flats, Anahuac national wildlife refuge, and the Smith Oak sanctuary.Bright and airy, this house is perched on stilts, and underneath, you'll have a grill and a private sitting area. However, the wraparound porch is likely where you'll spend the bulk of your time, soaking in the view from the wooden Adirondack chairs.Inside isn't bad either, with soaring pitched ceilings, a big blue sectional sofa, and marble countertops and bar stools in the kitchen. Waterfront beach bungalow in North Carolina This homey bungalow has its own private beach. Airbnb Book this North Carolina beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $145Town: JarvisburgSleeps: 4 guests/1 bedroomRating: 4.94Relax on your own private beach or hop in a kayak and explore miles of pristine, undeveloped beaches and cypress tree-filled coves from this bungalow in Jarvisburg, North Carolina set at the confluence of the North River and the Albemarle Sound.The home is pet-friendly, and the bedroom offers a Queen sized bed as well as a futon for extra guests if you don't mind the squeeze.While not exactly modern, the bungalow has a homey vibe with string lights along the ceiling, a bright desk and bookcase, and purple cushions on the futon. The location is tranquil and fun amenities include a charcoal grill and outdoor fire pit. The house is only 15-minutes away from unspoiled shorelines and the beaches of the Outer Banks. Home overlooking the sound in North Carolina The spacious home's dock makes it easy to get out on the water. Airbnb Book this North Carolina beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $157Town: HertfordSleeps: 10 guests/4 bedroomsRating: 4.69Step into the backyard of this spacious home on the Albemarle Sound and you'll find nothing but peace and tranquility. Located in a quiet neighborhood in Hertford, North Carolina, the house is nice for bigger families or groups of friends.Start and end your day on the dock, which comes with a bench to sit and watch the sunrise. Apart from the views directly overlooking the sound, highlights include the coffee bar in the kitchen, a gas log fireplace in the living room, and a fully covered and screened-in porch for enjoying home-cooked barbecue from the grill.The house also comes with a washer/dryer and high-speed Wi-Fi. Chesapeake Bay beach cabin in Virginia The decor is simple with a subtle ocean theme. Airbnb Book this Virginia beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $199Town: NorfolkSleeps: 6 guests/3 bedroomsRating: 4.95A brand new beach cabin on the Chesapeake Bay, this spacious home is steps from the beach.During the warm months, watch the sailing regattas from the balcony on Wednesday and Sunday evenings, or walk to nearby Ocean View Beach Park to listen to live music.The decor is simple but useful, with wicker furniture accents, ocean-themed artwork, wood floors, and a big kitchen. A plaid couch and floral armchair are comfy spots to relax, though they may feel a bit dated. A patio out back adds additional hangout space. A rustic cottage in Florida This cottage has a large outdoor deck with a fire pit and access to a secluded beach. Airbnb Book this Florida cottage on AirbnbTypical starting price: $275Town: St.Augustine Sleeps: 2 guests/1 bedroom Rating: 4.90The pinewood interior and absence of electronic appliances bring an old-fashioned feel to this cottage. The cottage was originally built in 1946, but each room has been remodeled since except for the corner kitchen. The master bedroom has a plush Queen-size bed where you can fall asleep to the sounds of nearby waves crashing. Although you won't find a TV or phone, there are various ways to indulge in this home's rustic charm. A large outdoor deck overlooks an uncrowded beach and has a fire pit for chilly nights. Visit in summer and you may catch a glimpse of the sea turtles that dwell by the deck. Waterfront nest cottage in Mississippi Lounge on the spacious front porch for stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. Airbnb Book this Mississippi beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $279Town: Long BeachSleeps: 4 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.97Set on the Mississippi Gulf Coast on ever-popular Long Beach, this waterfront cottage features breathtaking views over the Gulf of Mexico from its spacious front porch and has direct beach access.The two bedrooms can easily accommodate up to six people and inviting outdoor wicker furniture is framed by idyllic views.Inside, modern interiors include a spacious kitchen with marble countertops, soaking tubs in the bathrooms, and living room couches that face the water.  Pet-friendly oceanfront condo with pool access in South Carolina Staying here comes with access to a community pool, beaches, and bike rentals. Airbnb Book this South Carolina beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $261Town: Saint Helena IslandSleeps: 6 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.97Watch dolphins from the private balcony, walk to the beach, or laze the day away by the pool —  this oceanfront condo in South Carolina offers it all.Located in a private community just a stone's throw from one of the state's most beguiling beaches at Hunting Island State Park, the area offers miles of unspoiled beaches and is frequented by birders and nature lovers for some of the best animal sightings in the area.This second-floor condo offers one Queen bedroom and a second bedroom with a Twin bed. Guests have access to the community pool, beach, and two bikes. The unit also comes with a washer and dryer and is great for families with pets looking for a low-country getaway. Oceanfront condo in South Carolina Enjoy access to a private fishing pier, a community pool, and a pretty South Carolina beach. Airbnb Book this South Carolina beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $291Town: Isle of PalmsSleeps: 4 guests/1 bedroomsRating: 4.98Watch the waves roll in as you enjoy your morning coffee on the private terrace from this modern Isle of Palms condo in South Carolina. Newly renovated, this third-floor condo is especially nice for families with young children since it offers a King-size bed in the master and a bunk bed in the hallway. The decor is tasteful but beachy with coral pillows, a gray sofa, velvet armchairs, and a modern kitchen has a funky blue stone backsplash.The building has easy access to the beach and a private fishing pier, as well as a community pool and coin laundry facility.  Spacious beach house in South Carolina This expansive home is perched on half an acre on Port Royal Sound with private beach access. Airbnb Book this Hilton Head beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $332Town: Hilton HeadSleeps: 10 guests/3 bedroomsRating: 4.85Located on half an acre along Port Royal Sound, this three-bed, four-bath manse is capable of sleeping up to 10 people. Adjacent to a 40-acre nature preserve, staying here comes with direct views over the sound, plus private access to the beach. With an expansive, well-groomed yard for playing or relaxing under large oak trees covered in Spanish Moss, the house is also open to those looking to host a small, picture-perfect wedding or retreat with the beach and ocean as the backdrop.If this home is booked up, consider our other picks for the best vacation homes on Hilton Head Island. Beach house on a private island in South Carolina Escape to your very own private island off of Hilton Head with a beach all to yourself. Airbnb Book this private island beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $589Town: Hilton HeadSleeps: 6 guests/3 bedroomsRating: 4.94Instead of renting a regular old cottage on the beach, opt to claim your own private island here on Old House Cay. Accessible only by boat, this is as secluded and off-the-grid as it gets.Just a 10-minute ride away from neighboring Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, the home is part of a series of private islands that you'll have all to yourself over your stay. Experience everything from boating, fishing, and kayaking to simply lounging around the island and going for long beach walks. As far as getting around, the owners will take you and your guests back and forth from Hilton Head on their private boat as needed.Accommodations include a large, multi-story home with gorgeous wood floors, high ceilings, a modern kitchen, and a big blue dining table with room for the whole crew. All wood walls give it a hint of a cabin feel, while bright pillows and quilts add pops of color. A wooden deck with a fire pit out front is a lovely place to relax or make s'mores into the evening.  BI Beachfront condo in Southern California The beach is only a few steps away from this quaint second-floor condo. Airbnb Book this California beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $283Town: CarlsbadSleeps: 3 guests/1 bedroomRating: 4.90Open your door and step directly onto the sand at this charming beachfront condo in Carlsbad, California, near San Diego. Within walking distance to Carlsbad Village, this home is close to restaurants and boutiques, with a cozy set-up that is best suited to solo travelers and couples. The two-story condo unit is on the ground floor and features a brick fireplace, a small dining table and kitchen, a blue sofa with colorful pillows, and a private balcony with a table and chairs that overlook the ocean, which is just a few feet away. Beach house on a cove in Oregon A backyard trail leads to Shelter Cove where orcas often reside. Airbnb Book this Oregon beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $275Town: Port OrfordSleeps: 6 guests/3 bedroomsRating: 4.91Set on a cul-de-sac in the quiet neighborhood of Port Orford along the Oregon coast, this three-bedroom beach house is protected by old-growth forest and faces a cove where orcas are known to stay and take shelter.With gorgeous bay windows and total privacy within the neighborhood, along with private beach access and unobstructed views of the Lighthouse at Cape Blanco, it's tough to beat the spectacular setting. A private trail off the backyard takes you directly to Shelter Cove.The house itself offers big windows for a light and airy feel, with neutral colors of grays and creams, huge bedrooms, and a porch with a dining table, as well as a small fire pit in the yard. Cozy ocean view cabin in Northern California Breathe in the ocean air and spend time whale watching from this cliffside cabin. Airbnb Book this California beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $300Town: TrinidadSleeps: 5 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.97Tucked away in verdant Patrick Point State Park in northern California, this rustic two-bedroom cabin has incredible ocean views amid a lush forest. Top-rated features include the oversized hot tub, a picnic area overlooking the ocean, and a fire pit for roasting marshmallows after a long day. The yard offers ample space and lucky guests might even spot whales from the Adirondack chairs perched atop the lawn.The house is set on steep cliffs, which means you'll have phenomenal views, but won't be able to walk right out onto the beach. Instead, you will have to wind your way down to the shores below. Oceanview apartment in Northern California This cliffside home offers romantic views of the Pacific Ocean and Black Sands Beach. Airbnb Book this Northern California beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $348Town: WhitethornSleeps: 3 guests/1 bedroomRating: 4.92Overlooking the Pacific and Black Sands Beach, this one-bedroom cliffside home is lovely for a romantic trip.Inside, you'll find a private entrance and a wrap-around deck. The bedroom has a California King bed, plus a modern kitchen, bathroom, and a living room with a fireplace. There is even a private hot tub that directly faces the ocean.Take the trail from the home leading to the beach or walk or bike to any of the nearby beaches, restaurants, cafes, bars, and golf courses. The owner notes that you will need a car to get around and this home has a strict no pets policy and isn't suitable for young children. Posh beachfront apartment in Malibu This charming home has a sun-drenched interior, airy open-plan layout. Airbnb Book this Malibu beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $514Town: MalibuSleeps: 2 guests/1 bedroomRating: 4.99This sweet one-bedroom Airbnb Plus listing is well-placed on the iconic shores of Malibu for sweeping, dramatic views that feel plucked from a Nicholas Sparks novel.Light and airy, this seaside haven is impeccably decorated with pristine white fixtures that stand out against natural wood floors and beams. Unique details like a small, wire Eiffel Tower perched on an antique desk and old framed letters and clippings add whimsical charm.Fall asleep to the sound of ocean waves after enjoying drinks on the deck as you catch a sunset. Just know that this home is incredibly popular and tends to book almost a year in advance. Pacific Ocean beachfront home in Encinitas, California Pacific Ocean views abound from every room. Airbnb Book this Californian beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $516Town: EncinitasSleeps: 4 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.90This beach home wows right away with its stunning panoramic ocean views, available throughout the house. However, they're especially impressive from the open plan living room thanks to its arched beam ceilings that make the space feel airy and breezy.The unobstructed views are also sure to dazzle from the multiple patios, which come with a grill, lounge chairs, an outdoor shower, and a private stairway leading to the sand.The amenities are also nicely appointed, with a  fireplace, full kitchen with a wine fridge, and multiple bedrooms, some of which lead directly to the terrace.  Pet-friendly beach cottage with amazing views in Oregon This contemporary home has an outdoor shower, a gas fireplace, and a great balcony. Airbnb Book this Oregon beach cottage on AirbnbTypical starting price: $599Town: Cannon BeachSleeps: 5 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.98This modern beachfront home in beautiful, iconic Cannon Beach, Oregon has easy beach access just 100 feet from the front door. Inside, large picture windows offer unobstructed ocean views and a gas fireplace makes for a cozy spot. The outdoor shower is a nice way to rinse away sand after a beach day and the outdoor balcony is a great place to savor the sweeping views. At night, have a bonfire with s'mores in the yard.The pet-friendly home is located on a quiet residential street with free street parking and is within easy access of plenty of shops, grocery stores, and restaurants. FAQ: Airbnb beach houses Where is the best place to rent a beach house?The best place to rent a beach house depends on the type of beach and vacation you prefer. For year-round warm weather, look to places like Florida or Southern California.For the classic New England look of windswept beach grass, large dunes, and shingled cottages, you'll find great homes in places like Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the Jersey Shore. For something posh, try the Hamptons.Bluer waters and warmer temps of course will be found within the South or West Coast, and the West Coast offers stunning scenery from California up to Oregon and Washington.How do I search for a beach house on Airbnb?You can specifically search for a beach house on Airbnb. First, input your preferred location and dates, then select More Filters, and refine results to only show beachfront homes by selecting the box that says Beachfront under Amenities.What should I look for in an Airbnb?Sorting through the vast array of homes available on Airbnb can be tough. Consider using criteria similar to what we use, which includes looking at the average rating, as well as reading up on recent reviews to ensure the home is still in top shape. Look for Superhosts and consider sorting by Airbnb Plus or Airbnb Luxe if you want a higher-end stay that's been vetted for exceptional amenities, decor, and hosting. Of course, for a beach getaway, location will be key. Be sure to look on the map and ensure before booking that the home is actually close to the beach. You don't want to arrive only to find out you actually need to take a 30-minute car ride before your toes can hit the sand. Is Airbnb safe?We strongly encourage following guidelines and advice from leading health organizations including the CDC and following local and state laws before planning a vacation of any kind. You should also be proactive when it comes to wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently, and maintaining social distancing no matter where you go.However, the CDC now recommends domestic travel as safe for fully vaccinated individuals.Experts also say that booking an entire home rental is one of the safest options for travelers right now because they eliminate encounters with others outside your traveling party, and because Airbnb mandates Enhanced Clean protocols that all hosts must now follow. What is Airbnb's cancellation policy?Cancellation policies on Airbnb differ from home to home and are set by each individual host. You can find a full breakdown of Airbnb's cancellation policies here. How we selected the best beach houses on Airbnb Every Airbnb listing is for the entire home, per current expert recommendation.All Airbnb homes are highly-rated listings with a rating of 4.7 or higher.All beach houses are located right on, or next to the beach.All take part in Airbnb's Enhanced Clean protocol program for added peace of mind.The homes offer strong value in terms of price, offerings, amenities, and location and are priced between $100 and $650 per night to start.Homes are available to book in the coming weeks and months, as of publishing. However, some homes are quite popular and book fast. Consider booking for a future vacation in a few months or next year. Find more great beach house rentals Airbnb The best Airbnbs on the Jersey ShoreThe best Airbnbs in the HamptonsThe best Airbnbs in Cape CodThe best Airbnbs in Hilton HeadThe best Airbnbs in FloridaThe best Airbnbs in Myrtle Beach The best Airbnbs in Virginia BeachThe best vacation rentals in the Outer BanksThe best vacation rentals in Ocean City  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

5 Stocks to Watch Amid Surging Demand for Digital Payments

Watch out for stocks like Apple (AAPL), Usio (USIO), EVERTEC (EVTC), Visa (V) and Alphabet (GOOGL) amid continued demand for digital payment as a safe and convenient way of transacting. As the pandemic halted in-store shopping, people resorted to shopping online and preferred digital or contactless payments as a safer method for transacting. Safety has become a priority among consumers around the world and businesses have been adopting contactless payment methods to meet the growing demand. Per the Back to Business Study report by Visa Inc. V, 48% of consumers said that they wouldn’t shop at a store unless it offered some form of contactless payment, as mentioned in a Vending Market Watch article.In fact, a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation and Forrester in the United States last year found that 67% of the retailers surveyed were accepting some form of contactless payment. This included 58% of retailers that accept contactless cards that can be waved past or tapped on card readers compared to 40% in 2019, while 56% reported taking digital wallet payments on mobile phones, rising from 44% in 2019.Apart from being contactless, digital payments offer other benefits which can ensure that their demand continues to accelerate even beyond the pandemic. Digital payments provide faster and hassle-free transactions. Consumers don’t have to carry cash with them and can also complete transactions via their smartphones. Merchants and financial institutions too offer certain discounts upon purchases as well as other offers, making it even more exciting for consumers. It also helps consumers to easily keep track of how much they are spending and where, as the details of the transactions are readily available.Several forms of digital payments are available and while credit and debit cards have been popular choices, other methods like quick response (“QR”) code scanning are gaining traction. This is because consumers simply have to scan the merchant’s QR code to initiate the payment process, making it even more convenient. In fact, per a Juniper Research report, the number of QR code payments users is expected to exceed 2.2 billion in 2025, from 1.5 billion in 2020, and amount to 29% of mobile users worldwide.Reflective of the positive developments that digital payments have been witnessing, the digital payments market is expected to grow. Per a report by ReportLinker, the digital payments market is expected to witness a CAGR of 13.7% from 2021 to 2026, as mentioned in a GlobeNewswire article.5 Stocks to WatchThe popularity of digital payments is set to accelerate further, thanks to the myriad conveniences they offer. This seems then a good time to look at companies offering digital payment solutions that stand to benefit from this potential. We have selected five such stocks that carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Apple Inc. AAPL offers Apple Card, a co-branded credit card; and Apple Pay, a cashless payment service. On Aug 19, the company announced that Apple Card, which is the only card issued by Goldman Sachs, ranked highest among the Midsize Credit Card segment in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study.Shares of Apple have risen 9.9% year to date and it currently flaunts a Zacks Rank #1. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings increased 7.7% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 70.4%.Usio, Inc. USIO, together with its subsidiaries, provides integrated electronic payment processing services to merchants and businesses in the United States. The company offers various types of automated clearing house processing; and credit, prepaid card, and debit card-based processing services.Shares of Zacks Rank #2 Usio have risen 125.1% year to date. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings improved 55.6% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 82.6%.EVERTEC, Inc. EVTC provides merchant acquiring services, which enable point of sales and e-commerce merchants to accept and process electronic methods of payment, such as debit, credit, prepaid, and electronic benefit transfer cards.Shares of EVERTEC have risen 17.1% year to date. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings increased 13.8% over the past 60 days. This Zacks Rank #2 company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 27.5%.Visa facilitates digital payments among consumers, merchants, financial institutions, businesses, strategic partners, and government entities. On Apr 7, the company announced that it had processed one billion additional touch-free payments in Europe, within less than a year since contactless payment limits were increased across 29 countries in Europe due to the pandemic.Shares of Visa have gained 7.1% over the past six months and it currently has a Zacks Rank #3. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings increased 3.4% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 15.5%.Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL Google offers Google Pay, a digital payment app where users can send or receive money with ease. The app also supports QR code scan payments.Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 company have risen 60.1% year to date. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings increased 13.3% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 73.8%. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Apple Inc. (AAPL): Free Stock Analysis Report Visa Inc. (V): Free Stock Analysis Report Evertec, Inc. (EVTC): Free Stock Analysis Report Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL): Free Stock Analysis Report Usio Inc (USIO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

CVS Health (CVS) Retail Business Grows Despite Cost Pressure

CVS Health's (CVS) retail business sees solid rebound in front-store sales with strength across all categories. Increasing demand for Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) and specialty pharmacy along with strong digitization of business is a key driver of CVS Health’s CVS persistent growth amid the pandemic-induced challenges. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Over the past year, CVS Health has outperformed its industry. The stock has gained 46.2% compared with the 40.8% rise of the industry.CVS Health's second-quarter earnings and revenues surpassed the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate. Revenues across all the three operating segments improved in the quarter. Pharmacy services revenue growth of 9.8% outperformed the company’s expectations. Operating income also rose significantly. Specialty pharmacy revenues were up 8.9% year over year. The company added nearly 1 million new integrated pharmacy and medical members through the 2021 and 2022 selling seasons.Retail reported above-market growth also exceeded the company’s expectations. Prescription market share was over 26%. There was a solid rebound in front-store sales, which increased nearly 13% in the quarter, on strength across all categories. One-third of pharmacy script growth was attributable to COVID-19 vaccines.Healthcare benefits results were strong driven by growth in government business. While the medical benefit ratio of 84.1% was modestly above expectations due to COVID-related costs, underlying non-COVID costs dropped.CVS Health Corporation Price CVS Health Corporation price | CVS Health Corporation QuoteThe company noted that the consumer-centric digital strategy is more relevant in the current environment as people are using technology while staying indoors. In the second quarter, digital retail customers spent 2.5 times more in front store, managed 1.5 times more scripts, and continued to remain as customers longer than other pharmacy patients. Its increased full-year guidance indicates that this bullish trendis likely to continue through the rest of 2021.CVS Health continues to believe that aggregate medical costs will modestly exceed baseline levels during the second half of 2021. In addition to the strong performance in the core business, the company is benefiting from the broad and unique portfolio of assets with the first CVS-Aetna co-branded offerings.The company also announced that it will re-enter the public exchanges in 2022. CVS Health currently expects to enter up to eight states, where it expects to make a meaningful impact and maximize returns with this first-ever Aetna-CVS branded offerings.On the flip side, CVS Health’s second-quarter adjusted earnings declined year over year on escalating costs and expenses, which are putting pressure on both the margins. Total cost (including Benefit Cost) rose 14.3%. Gross profit fell 1.1%. Gross margin contracted 226 basis points (bps) to 18.2%. The operating margin in the quarter under review fell 121 bps to 5.9% on a 7.6% decline in operating profit.Further, within Retail/Long Term Care (LTC), the company is facing continued reimbursement pressure and the impact of recent generic introductions. A highly competitive landscape  poses stiff challenges to CVS Health.Key PicksA few better-ranked stocks from the Medical-Products industry are Envista Holdings Corporation NVST, VAREX IMAGING VREX, and BellRing Brands, Inc. BRBR.Envista Holdings, which carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), has a long-term earnings growth rate of 27.4%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.VAREX, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), has a long-term earnings growth rate of 5%.BellRing Brands, with a Zacks Rank #2, has a long-term earnings growth rate of 29.1%. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report CVS Health Corporation (CVS): Free Stock Analysis Report VAREX IMAGING (VREX): Free Stock Analysis Report Envista Holdings Corporation (NVST): Free Stock Analysis Report BellRing Brands, Inc. (BRBR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021