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Elon Musk says he wants to meet his Chinese doppelgänger, Yilong Ma — that is, if he isn"t a deepfake

Musk first noticed Ma last year when a video of the latter surfaced on TikTok, prompting the billionaire to quip that he might be "partly Chinese." TikToker Yilong Ma (left) has gone viral on social media for being the Chinese lookalike of Tesla and SpaceX Ceo Elon Musk (right). Now Musk wants to meet him.MaYiLong0/TikTok; Taylor Hill/Getty Images Elon Musk says he'd like to meet his doppelgänger from China, Yilong Ma. Musk, however, wondered if the man was a "deepfake," saying it was "hard to tell." Ma, meanwhile, responded to Musk on social media, writing: "I love you. You are my hero."  Elon Musk says he'd like to meet his Chinese lookalike, a man from the northeastern Chinese province of Hebei — if he's real. Musk was responding this week to a Twitter user who suggested that the "Chinese Elon Musk" could be a "decoy" for the real deal. "I'd like to meet this guy (if he is real). Hard to tell with deepfakes these days," Musk tweeted. Ma, who bears a striking resemblance to Musk, first went viral on China's TikTok, Douyin, after a video of him standing next to a luxury car spread on the platform. The video found its way to Musk, prompting the Tesla and SpaceX CEO to quip on December 20, 2021, that he may be "partly Chinese."Ma now has a TikTok account under the username "Elong Musk," which has over 230,000 followers. He has since posted several videos on TikTok, including an introduction video where he refers to himself as "China's Elon Musk."  @mayilong0 My English is awful. But I will try my best to communicate with you!My bro!#tesla #elonmusk ♬ Horizon-Janji - 看见音乐 Ma also weighed in on Musk's high-profile acquisition of Twitter, posting a TikTok video where he animatedly points at a printout of the Twitter icon, calling it "my bird!"  @mayilong0 This is a free bird. I like him and I'm going to go to him right now. Because Elon Musk is my brother#elonmusk #tesla #twitter ♬ dance(256762) - TimTaj Ma's most recent video, posted this week, appeared to show him attempting to speak English. He  uploaded it with the caption: "Actually, I don't know what I'm talking about, please forgive me."  @mayilong0 Actually I don't know what I'm talking about, please forgive me. I'm embarrassed, I need an English teacher.#elonmusk #twins #tesla ♬ Canyons - Official Sound Studio  For his part, Ma has responded to Musk's overtures, saying that he would love to meet him too."I am here. I want very much to see you too! I love you, you are my hero," wrote Ma on Tuesday on China's Twitter-like Weibo. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 12th, 2022

Elon Musk has a "very human side to him," according to a NASA astronaut who completed a SpaceX mission

NASA astronaut Doug Hurley discussed what it was like working with Elon Musk and a new Netflix documentary he features in, in a Fox interview. SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Elon Musk has a "very human side to him," according to NASA astronaut Doug Hurley.  Hurley's comments came ahead of a new Netflix documentary covering a historic SpaceX launch in 2020. In an interview with Fox News, Hurley discussed working with Musk and the new documentary.  NASA astronaut Doug Hurley reminisced on what it was like working with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk before he flew on a historic flight to space and back in 2020. In an interview with Fox News, Hurley spoke about his impressions of Musk, the billionaire space race, and a new Netflix documentary, "Return to Space" which follows Hurley's journey and that of fellow astronaut Bob Behnken as they embarked on the first human SpaceX mission to the International Space Station. In May 2020, Musk and SpaceX made history after the company successfully launched two astronauts into space aboard a Crew Dragon spaceship. Shortly after, the astronauts' ship docked at the International Space Station.The mission marked the first time a commercial spaceship delivered humans into orbit and to the ISS. According to Hurley, Musk had a "huge amount of concern" for him and Behnken's safety when preparing for the launch. "He wanted to ensure that the mission would not only be successful but that we would come back to our families," Hurley told Fox. "It drove him to look at every single possible thing with the spacecraft to make sure that we come home safely," he added.Hurley said one thing most people don't get to witness about Musk is his "human side." As the spaceflight edged closer, Hurley recalled Musk speaking to every employee, "even the interns," asking them about their concerns surrounding the mission. "I think that's a very human side a lot of people don't get to see. What I witnessed was a man who was genuinely concerned about our well-being and our families. And I will always be thankful for that because I'm still here," Hurley said. Before the SpaceX flight, the US hadn't flown humans to space from American soil since 2011. Musk subsequently resurrected American crewed spaceflight for NASA but also kicked off a new era of commercial spaceflight with the 2020 mission. One thing that "amazed" Hurley the most about Musk, however, is his "incredible grasp of the technical situation." "You can talk to him about the spacecraft itself or an issue with the rocket — he wants to understand all of it. He's very hands-on," Hurley said. "You have engineers, literally the experts of the system, on site to address those questions," he added. Despite Hurley's praise, Musk's public reputation is somewhat mixed.His on-and-off romantic partner, the musician Grimes, recently described him in an interview with Vanity Fair as both "the love of my life" and someone who says "stupid shit." On the latter, Musk has consistently shown misunderstanding of how particular COVID-19 tests work and skepticism of public health measures, Insider previously reported. He also tweeted "the coronavirus panic is dumb" in March 2020.  Two years on, the disease has killed nearly 1 million of his fellow Americans.Musk recently joined the board of Twitter after steadily buying up the firm's shares and becoming its biggest shareholder. Some Twitter employees expressed annoyance at the development, with one changing their name to "elon musk is a racist demagogue with a god complex." Another said those protesting represented "a vocal minority" at Twitter, Insider reported.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 9th, 2022

Elon Musk reemerges after his longest Twitter break in four years with a picture of himself and the Pope

After one of his longest stretches of not posting on Twitter, Elon Musk broke his silence with a photo of himself, four of his kids, and Pope Francis. Elon Musk said people's tweets don't need to be "broadcasted across the whole country" if they aren't valuable.Matt Cardy/Getty Images Elon Musk broke his ten-day Twitter silence with a photo of himself and Pope Francis. Musk tweeted he was "honored" to meet His Holiness while visiting him in Italy.   The Tesla CEO is still in the process of purchasing the platform for $44 billion. After one of his longest stretches of not posting on Twitter, Elon Musk broke his nine-day silence with a photo of himself and Pope Francis. In the photo, Musk is standing to the right of the Pope while four of his children are scattered to the left of him. They're all standing a few feet away from each other dressed in suits. Musk commented on his own outfit, saying his own suit was "tragic."Musk tweeted he was "honored" to meet His Holiness. The Twitter bot that tracks Musk's private jet showed the Tesla CEO flying from Austin, Texas, to Rome, Italy, on June 30. According to Fox News, Musk was accompanied by his children Griffin, Kai, Damian, and Sax. Their mother is his first wife, Justine Wilson.—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 2, 2022Musk didn't just tweet about meeting the Pope. He also tweeted: "feeling … perhaps … a little bored?", an old image of himself and ex-wife Talulah in Venice, and a tribute to Technoblade, a gaming YouTuber who died of cancer at 23.The Wall Street Journal analyzed Musk's Twitter habits and found he hadn't gone more than six days without tweeting since January 2018.Musk is still in the process of purchasing the platform for $44 billion. In April, he reached a deal to buy the company and take it private, but the offer was put on hold over concerns that bots on the platform might be flawed. In response, Twitter gave him more user data and has been "bending over backwards" to comply with his demands.The Vatican and Tesla did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider22 hr. 0 min. ago

The Supreme Court just made it harder to combat the climate crisis. Top tech firms say that"s bad for business and the planet.

It may be harder for tech companies to meet their climate goals after the Supreme Court limited the EPA's authority to regulate power plants. A coal-fired electricity plant in Juliette, Georgia. A Supreme Court ruling this week makes it harder for the government to regulate emissions.Chris Aluka Berry/Reuters Big tech companies supported the EPA's broad authority to control power-plant pollution. The Supreme Court's decision may make it harder for companies to meet their renewable-energy goals. The climate crisis makes companies — and workers — more vulnerable to risks like natural disasters. The Supreme Court ruling on Thursday limiting the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate plant-warming pollution from power plants may undercut climate goals set by Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft, and other companies and put their operations at greater risk. The tech giants told the high court earlier this year that scaling up renewable energy was a central part of their plans to combat the climate crisis, and that corporate action alone wouldn't reduce greenhouse-gas emissions enough to prevent the most catastrophic effects of the crisis that can harm workers and supply chains. "Stable, nationwide regulations will spur additional innovation and investment in clean energy and related technologies, which is a predicate for achieving the emissions reductions needed to address climate change," attorneys for a group of 15 companies wrote in a "friend of the court" brief, adding that a billion kilowatt hours of clean energy was still needed for the companies to meet their combined goals.Alphabet's Google promised that carbon-free energy would power its campuses and data centers around the clock by 2030. Microsoft and Amazon want to shift to 100% renewable energy by 2025 as part of broader climate plans. While the Supreme Court's decision didn't eliminate the EPA's power to regulate emissions from power plants, the agency would no longer be able to set statewide emissions limits on the industry to force a transition to renewable energy. Instead, the EPA can target individual power plants — a less efficient strategy and a major setback to President Joe Biden's goal to cut US emissions in half by the end of the decade and establish a carbon-free power industry by 2035. To meet that target, the US has to slash emissions from the sector, which is the second-largest source of pollution behind transportation and which accounts for a quarter of US emissions.The Edison Electric Institute represents investor-owned utilities that would have been regulated under the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan that spurred the Supreme Court case. The group said its members have already achieved more emissions reductions — a 36% cut compared with 2005 levels — than the Obama-era rule would have required, in part by replacing dirtier coal with natural gas. Still, fossil fuels account for about 60% of US electricity production, the Energy Information Agency said.The Edison Electric Institute filed a brief in support of the EPA's authority, arguing in part that individual power plants would face a litany of lawsuits if the agency didn't regulate emissions. Emily Fisher, EEI's general counsel and senior vice president of clean energy, told Insider in a written statement that the group was still evaluating the effects of the Supreme Court decision, and that utilities were committed to working with Michael Regan, the EPA's administrator, on a new regulation. The longer the US takes to curb emissions, the greater the climate risks for companies and workers. The world is already experiencing more extreme weather that damages infrastructure and displaces communities, including heat waves, wildfires, and hurricanes. And the tech firms also said that tackling climate change was key to keeping investors and customers happy.Scientists warn the effects will be catastrophic if the world warms more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, a threshold global leaders are trying not to cross under the terms of the Paris climate accord. Current policies put temperatures on track to rise as much as 2.7 degrees by 2050.That would slash global economic output by between 11% and 14% by 2050, or $23 trillion annually, said a report from the insurance firm Swiss Re. The decrease would only be about 4% if countries were to meet the goals of the Paris accord.Andrew Behar, the CEO of the investor advocacy group As You Sow, said the Supreme Court decision flew in the face of corporate demand and would leave the US economy behind those of Europe, China, and other regions and nations driving low-carbon-technology innovation.   "Investors with trillions of assets under management are moving to decarbonize their portfolios to achieve net-zero emissions and thousands of the world's largest companies, many in the S&P 500, are setting targets for their operations and value chains to draw down their emissions to net zero," he said, referring to the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index comprising large US companies. "But an even playing field and clear regulatory guidelines from EPA are necessary to drive progress across the economy."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 1st, 2022

How chief sustainability officers are bringing more accountability and less waste to their companies — and the world

In 2021, companies that appointed a CSO tripled compared to the previous year, according to a PwC survey. Several factors are driving the trend. Kazi Awal/InsiderSandra Noonan is Just Salad's chief sustainability officer.Just Salad Many companies have hired chief sustainability officers, or CSOs, in recent years. Their job is to drive projects that help organizations meet their sustainability goals. Here's a look at how some top CSOs are making strides in their organizations. This article is part of the "Financing a Sustainable Future" series exploring how companies take steps toward funding and setting their own sustainable goals. As companies commit to being more environmentally conscious and launch initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and water use, they often need someone to drive these programs. To face these challenges many organizations are hiring chief sustainability officers, or CSOs. These leaders collaborate with company executives and stakeholders to develop and oversee an organization's approach to sustainability. In 2021, companies that appointed a CSO tripled compared to the previous year, according to a PwC survey. Wells Fargo appointed its first CSO, Robyn Luhning, in April, and UnitedHealthcare Group named Patricia Lewis as its first CSO in February.Several factors are driving the trend. Ann Tracy, chief sustainability officer at Colgate-Palmolive, said mostly it's pressure from stakeholders, employees, and consumers, who are more likely to pay more for brands that are sustainable, according to an IBM Institute for Business Value study. Investors are increasingly weighing environmental, social, and governance factors, while governments also pushing to disclose related metrics, including a proposed rule from the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US.  When organizations fall behind on ESG progress, they risk losing investors and customers. "The need for ESG leadership to help get companies organized is critical," said Tracy, who's been with Colgate-Palmolive for more than 30 years and transitioned into the CSO role that the company created in 2020 after releasing its 2025 Sustainability and Social Impact Strategy. "When companies make commitments and pledges, stakeholders want to see action." Public sustainability commitments ensure accountabilitySpencer Reeder, director of government affairs and sustainability at Audi of America, said the company has made public commitments to reduce its carbon footprint by 30% by 2025 and produce its last internal combustion engine vehicle in 2025 in favor of electric vehicles. This enables him to stay on track and hold Audi accountable to meet its sustainability goals. "I'm able to stand up for the brand and what we're doing, but also continue to push internally to be more innovative and aggressive on emissions, water consumption, and using more sustainable materials," he said, adding that he's required to report progress on sustainability initiatives. CSOs need a "place at the strategy table" to be effective, said David Larcker, director of the Corporate Governance Research Initiative at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The role needs to be a key part of executive leadership, meet with the company's board of directors, and have a budget, and CSOs should be embedded in the company's operations — otherwise, it's "window dressing," he said. When Reeder joined the company in 2018, he gave a "science talk" to the leadership team to raise awareness about the need to move to electric vehicles to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis. Spencer Reeder is the director of government affairs and sustainability at Audi of America.Audi"Based on that initial investment and support from the leadership, I feel there's great receptivity to any idea that I bring forward around sustainability," he said. "We've made changes that have been considered for over a decade and just couldn't get over the threshold that now within the last couple of years, have been able to move forward." Reeder is continuing to make strides. He recently spearheaded an internal carbon pricing program, in which Audi charges itself $200 per ton of carbon emissions — higher than the current interim federal social cost of $51 a ton — with an intention of offsetting emissions from employee commuting and business travel.Tracking progress on sustainability to drive culture change Sandra Noonan joined the fast-casual restaurant chain Just Salad as chief sustainability officer in 2019. She was a loyal customer and appreciated the company's Reusable Bowl program and its sustainability initiative. She said concern for the environment is especially crucial for restaurants since about a third of global greenhouse gas emissions are tied to the food system. "I had a lot of leeway to shape the CSO role," she said. Reporting directly to the company's CEO and the fact that sustainability is in "the bones of the company" empowers her to tackle problems like reducing single-use packaging and food waste.In 2021, the Reusable Bowl program kept more than three tons of waste out of landfills. The company also estimated that more than 90% of its food packaging was made from recycled or renewable materials."I get involved in figuring out how we operationalize our ideas and our targets," Noonan said. "I also spend a lot of time on metrics and looking at our greenhouse gas emissions breakdown and going, 'OK, what programs would reduce our footprint?'" To mitigate food waste, Just Salad partners with Too Good To Go, a platform that connects customers with restaurants that have food surplus, and some locations also compost leftover food. In March, Just Salad's carbon labels showing the emissions estimates for each menu item received verification by Planet FWD, a carbon management platform. By talking directly with customers and working with Just Salad's marketing team to spread the word about its sustainability programs, one of Noonan's top priorities is to make Just Salad "a voice for culture change and changing norms that are harmful to nature."Educating customers and stakeholders about the value of sustainable behaviors While inspiring a culture change is a goal for CSOs, changing customer behavior can be a challenge. "Even though consumers want to be more sustainable, many don't want to compromise on convenience, on price, and on quality — and they don't want to change their behavior," Colgate's Tracy said. Overcoming this "consumer intention action gap," according to Tracy, depends on consumer education. Colgate's "Save Water" public awareness campaign, which urged people to turn off the tap while brushing their teeth, has saved an estimated 206 billion gallons of water and 10.8 million metric tons of carbon emissions since 2016. And last year, about 85% of Colgate-Palmolive's packaging across categories and materials was recyclable. Ann Tracy is chief sustainability officer at Colgate-Palmolive.Colgate-PalmoliveTo reduce plastic waste, the brand launched a recyclable toothpaste tube earlier this year and shared the technology with the industry, including competitors. Colgate also debuted the Keep toothbrush, which features an aluminum handle that consumers keep and a replaceable brush. Tracy said that finding creative ways to educate and influence teams across a company about sustainability is central to a CSO's work. She works closely with the company's chief financial officer on sustainability accounting and balancing the cost and benefits of sustainable products since consumers don't want to pay more. CSOs may experience pushback within their companies and skepticism from consumers at times, Tracy said, but the job is "by and large trying to drive positive impact and hopefully helping Colgate be presented in a positive light for the work we do and the accomplishments we've made."  @media (min-width: 960px) { #piano-inline-content-wrapper .content-header .figure.image-figure-image { min-width: 100%; margin-left: 0; } } Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 1st, 2022

Bitcoin might be on another precipice. A technical analyst says another crash could be coming for the world"s biggest crypto.

The biggest story today in markets is cryptocurrency's downturn and bitcoin's potential plunge — not to mention top stock picks from experts. Happy Friday readers. Phil Rosen here — boy am I glad to see you today.As a final send-off before the long weekend, I wanted to share some more chipper news…But in a bear market that's harder to come by. So instead, I'll be explaining the crypto downturn, and why a top analyst says bitcoin still has plenty of room to fall (even though it just sagged below $19,000 yesterday). Here we go. Programming note: There will be no newsletter on Monday, the Fourth of July. Enjoy the long weekend. If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Download Insider's app here.Bitcoin tumbled to well below $20,000 over the weekend, before rebounding somewhat on Monday.Anadolu Agency/Getty Images1. The world's biggest crypto might be just getting started — with its dramatic decline, that is. According to Fairlead Strategies' Katie Stockton, bitcoin's negative momentum points to another 27% fall as it tests a key support level. "Bitcoin has stabilized after a reaction to short-term oversold indications last week, supporting a short-term neutral bias within a bearish long-term trend," Stockton said.On Thursday, bitcoin slipped about 5% to sag below $19,000. If the crypto breaks the $18,300 support level, Stockton said it could freefall all the way to its 2019 highs of about $13,900.Bitcoin's nosedive and the subsequent rout in the wider crypto space has spurred a series of implosions that have rippled through the market this year. Most recently, hedge fund Three Arrows Capital defaulted on a $670 million loan comprising roughly 15,000 bitcoin and $350 million in stablecoin USDC. Meanwhile, crypto exchange CoinFlex this week was the latest in a spate of firms announcing that it would halt customer withdrawal as it deals with a $47 million bad debt. Shaky investor confidence has sparked a wave of deleveraging in the sector. Retail investors are scaling back their margin accounts, and miners are selling bitcoin after using it as leverage to expand their operations. However, there are some analysts who believe the deleveraging cycle is nearing its end.Companies in the space have taken a big hit, but giants like Sam Bankman-Fried's FTX are seeing opportunities. According to reports, Bankman-Fried's crypto exchange is in talks to buy beleaguered crypto lender BlockFi. Citing a source, CNBC said FTX is expected to pay roughly $25 million, 99% below BlockFi's last private valuation. BlockFi's CEO, Zac Prince, however, took to Twitter to comment on the report. It comes after The Block reported that FTX was also interested in making a deal with Celsius, but walked away because of the state of its finances.Vladimir Putin's Russia managed to avoid default on Tuesday.Alexander Demyanchuk/AP2. US stock futures fell early Friday, after the S&P 500 closed out its worst first half of a year since 1970. You can see the latest market moves here. 3. On the docket: Nomad Holdings Ltd., Weathernews Inc., and more all reporting. Plus, look out for the ISM report on business manufacturing PMI, expected from the Institute for Supply Management at 9:00 am ET. 4. These are the stocks set to outperform in a market struggling to deal with recession risks and high inflation. That's according to UBS analysts, who said the uncertain market can present risks. See their list of 33 companies. 5. Analysts are forecasting that Bed Bath & Beyond has another 50% to fall. The stock's "dumpster fire" first quarter means its days could be numbered. As one analyst put it: "We are in the end days."6. RBC's commodities chief said oil prices could be set to rise further thanks to OPEC struggles and higher demand. The oil cartel lacks additional supplies to meet the call for more output, the analyst said, and China's economic reopening will push demand higher. Here's what you want to know. 7. A top Indian company paid for Russian coal in yuan. And traders said more buyers could turn to China's currency for deals with Moscow, according to a Reuters report. One trader said he had never heard of an Indian firm paying in yuan for international trade in his entire 25 year career.8. A retiree who ditched his job at the age of 26 explained how he built an investment portfolio he could live off of. His annual withdrawal rate remains below the stock market's average growth — and he shared which funds he bought and how he allows his holdings to grow. 9. After an abrupt break in the recent rally, Evercore broke down its top stock picks. Julian Emanual said bear market rallies are treacherous, but they're large and powerful enough for investors to trade profitably. These are the firm's 18 names it's eyeing — and it shared one options trade set to profit. Andy Kiersz/Insider10. It's starting to look like inflation has finally peaked. Core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, cooled more than expected in May. Take a look at the new economic data.Keep up with the latest markets news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here.Curated by Phil Rosen in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email prosen@insider.com or tweet @philrosenn).Edited by Max Adams (@maxradams) in New York and Hallam Bullock (@hallam_bullock) in London. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 1st, 2022

13 hidden WhatsApp features every user should know

WhatsApp contains numerous features that make the messaging app more useful, convenient, private, or just more fun. FILE PHOTO: Men pose with smartphones in front of displayed Whatsapp logo in this illustrationReuters WhatsApp contains numerous features that make the messaging app more useful, convenient, private, or just more fun.  You can customize the appearance of your chats, share your location, or add formatting to your text messages. Here are 13 of the best little-known or unexpected features in WhatsApp. With about 2 billion active users, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world. An app this popular must be doing something right, and in fact the combination of cross-platform compatibility and end-to-end encryption helps make it so popular. But WhatsApp also has a wealth of features — big and small, well-known and relatively "secret" — that help make it the top messaging app on the planet. In fact, unless you're a longtime power user, it's likely that there are WhatsApp features that might surprise you. Here are 13 WhatsApp features everyone should know to get the most out of this app. Disable 'last seen'You probably know that WhatsApp lets you see the last time someone was on WhatsApp — you can see their "last seen" date under their name at the top of a chat. If you don't want to reveal when you're online, you can turn this feature off. Tap Settings, then Account, followed by Privacy, and then tap Last Seen. Change it to the option you prefer. Choose Nobody to hide your last seen status from everyone. Set Last Seen to Nobody so no one can tell when you were last on the app.Dave JohnsonSearch everywhere at onceTrying to find a particular message but don't know where to look? You can search every message at once using the search tool on the Chats page. If you're using an iPhone, tap Chats and then pull the page down to see the search box. Type a word or phrase to see all the messages it appears in. On Android, tap Chats and then tap the Search icon at the top of the screen to start your search. Pull down the Chat page to see the search box (or use the Search icon on Android).Dave JohnsonFormat your textDid you know there's a "secret" way to format text when typing a message? You can make words bold or italics, or strike through text as well:Bold: Put an asterisk on either side, *like this*. Italics: Add an underscore to either side of your text, _like this_.Strike-through: Strike through your text by enclosing it with a tilde, ~like this~.  Don't worry about deleting the symbols from either side of the text. They are removed automatically when you tap Send. Use asterisks to turn text bold.Dave JohnsonShare your location with someoneIf you are coordinating a meet-up, you might want to share your location with someone. In fact, you can share a one-time snapshot of your current location or share your live location for a specified period of time. On the iPhone, open the chat you want to share your location in and tap the + sign on the left of the text field. Choose Location and then choose Share Live Location or Send Your Current Location. To share your location, tap the plus sign and then choose Location.Dave JohnsonOn Android, open the chat you want to share your location in and tap the paperclip on the right of the text field. Tap Location and then choose Share Live Location or Send Your Current Location.Quick tip: If this is your first time sharing a location, you might need to give WhatsApp permission to access your location.  See how much data you're usingWant to see how much data WhatsApp is using when you send texts, pictures, videos, and make voice calls? Tap Settings, then choose Storage & Data. Tap Network Usage to get all the stats on your data consumption. Send a photo that disappears after a single viewWhatsApp has a lot of privacy features baked in, including the ability to set your messages to disappear after a period of time, and the option to send a photo or video that can only be seen a single time before it disappears forever. To do the latter, open the chat you want to send the disappearing media. On an iPhone, tap the + sign, followed by Camera or Photo & Video Library in the pop-up menu. If you're using Android, tap the paperclip and then choose Camera or Gallery. Take or select the media you want to share and then, at the bottom of the screen, tap the 1 in the text field. That indicates it can only be viewed once. Then tap the Send icon. Tap the 1 in the text box to turn a photo into a disappearing image.Dave JohnsonDisable read receiptsWhatsApp delivers read receipts when someone opens your message, which you may consider either a boon or bane depending upon whether you want people to know you've seen their messages. You can disable read receipts so no one can tell if or when you've read their messages. To disable read receipts, tap Settings, then Account, and finally choose Privacy. Turn off Read Receipts by swiping the button to the left. You can disable read receipts so no one knows if you've seen a message yet.Dave JohnsonSelectively delete large files from a specific chatIf you need to free up some storage space, it's easy to selectively delete specific photos, videos, and other files from specific chats. Tap Settings, then Storage and Data. Tap Manage Storage and you'll see a list of all your chats. Choose the chat you want to work with and you'll see all the large files onscreen. If you have an iPhone, you can tap Select at the top right, tap the files you want to delete and then tap the Delete icon at the bottom right. On Android, to select files for selection, tap and hold each file until you see a checkmark appear, then tap the Delete icon at the top right. Quote a message when you replyMost chats are a linear affair, with each reply following the one that preceded it. That can make things confusing when you're referring to a reply that's earlier in the conversation. WhatsApp makes it easy to quote a previous message in a reply. When you do that, the original text you're replying to appears above your reply in the chat. To quote a message, tap and hold the message you want to reply to. On the iPhone, you'll see a pop-up menu — tap Reply. On Android, tap the Reply icon at the top of the page, to the left of the Star icon. Tap and hold a message to quote it in your reply. Use the drop-down menu on iPhone or the Reply icon on Android.Dave JohnsonConserve your data by switching to WiFi onlyWhatsApp lets you customize the way the app uses your data. For example, if you want to make sure it doesn't use cellular data to download large media files, you can tell it to only use WiFi for tasks like that.Tap Settings, then Storage & Data. In the Media auto-download section, you can configure which kinds of files can be downloaded using a cellular connection and which are reserved exclusively for WiFi. Change your chat screen wallpaperYou don't have to be satisfied with the default background in your chats; you can set the chat screen wallpaper from a library of options in WhatsApp or any image stored in the gallery on your phone. Tap Settings and then Chats.If you're using an iPhone, tap Chat Wallpaper and then tap Choose a New Wallpaper. When you've selected the image you want to use, tap Set. You can set a custom wallpaper for chat pages on both iPhone and Android.Dave JohnsonOn Android, tap Wallpaper and then tap Change. Select the image you want to use, then tap Set Wallpaper. Customize your wallpaper for specific chatsSetting a custom wallpaper for your chats is great, but you can even specify a different wallpaper for specific chats, making each chat page look distinctive. If you are using an iPhone, open the chat you want to customize and tap the contact's name at the top of the page. Tap Wallpaper & Sound, then Choose a New Wallpaper. Make your selection and tap Set. On Android, the process is a bit different. Open the chat you want to customize, tap the three-dot menu and choose Wallpaper. Make your selection and choose Set Wallpaper. Email a chat to yourselfIf you need a permanent record of a conversation or want to transfer a chat to another device (like a laptop) so you can easily copy and paste important information, you can email an entire chat to yourself. Tap Settings, followed by Chats. Tap Export Chat (if you're using Android, you'll need to tap Chat History to get to the Export Chat option) and choose the chat you want to send. In the pop-up, choose whether you want media or only text, and then choose where you want to share the chat log. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 30th, 2022

General Dynamics (GD) Arm Wins Deal to Support Shipbuilding

General Dynamics Corporation's (GD) business unit clinches a $600-million modification contract to provide long-lead-time material support for building three ships for the Navy. General Dynamics Corporation’s GD business unit, NASSCO, recently clinched a $600-million modification contract to provide long-lead-time material support for building ships for the U.S. Navy, which mainly comprise two replenishment oiler ships and one expeditionary sea base (“ESB”) ship.Through the contract, General Dynamics aims to support the critical programs of the U.S. Navy’s ship fleet that enhance maritime warship capabilities.Details of the ContractPer the deal, GD will be engaged in providing long-lead-time material support for building the seventh and eighth ships of the John Lewis-class fleet oiler (T-AO) program, coupled with the sixth ship of the ESB program.The construction of ships is planned to commence from the third quarter of 2023 and continue till 2027.What’s Favoring General Dynamics?The changing dynamics of the military landscape and the rising geopolitical tension make it mandatory for a country to continuously evolve and strengthen its defense structure. To this end, Navy ships form an integral part of any military missions and arm them in their ship warfare affairs.In this context, it is imperative to mention that General Dynamics’ NASSCO is a prime contractor of shipbuilding for the U.S Navy and has been delivering next-generation ships to the Navy for a decade. It offers full-service ship designs to its customers and also tailors ship designs to meet owners’ requirements while maintaining a highly producible, cost-effective product.Considering its excellence and in-depth experience in building ships for the military, NASSCO has been winning multiple contracts from the Pentagon. The latest contract win is a bright example of that. The strong order lineup bears a testament to its leading position in the shipbuilding market.NASSCO is also scheduled to deliver later this year the lead ship of the new 742-foot-long, 49,850-ton fleet oiler class, the John Lewis (T-AO 205). Three more are under construction — the future USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206), the future USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207) and the future USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208) — and two are under contract.Such a solid order flow is likely to bolster General Dynamics’ revenue generation prospects from its NASSCO unit and may provide a boost to its overall top line.Growth ProspectsNations are reinforcing their defense capabilities to deter any warfare-like situation.In this context, per the report from Mordor Intelligence, the global shipbuilding market???is projected to witness a CAGR of 4.8% during the 2022-2027 period. Such abounding growth trends indicate ample growth opportunities for General Dynamics as it enjoys a lucrative position in the shipbuilding market.A few defense primes that can reap the multitude of gains from the expanding shipbuilding market are BAE Systems BAESY, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries MHVYF and Huntington IngallsHII.BAE Systems designs and manufactures naval ships and submarines as well as state-of-the-art combat systems and equipment. It also offers an array of associated services, including training solutions, maintenance and modernization programs, to support ships and equipment in service worldwide.The long-term earnings growth rate of BAESY is pegged at 7.2%. Shares of BAE Systems have rallied 38.7% in the past year.Mitsubishi Heavy Industries manufactures naval surface ships and submarines. The company also provides after-sales service for destroyers and submarines.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Mitsubishi’s 2022 earnings indicates a growth rate of 4.9% from the prior-year reported figure. Shares of MHVYF have returned 20.8% value to investors in the past year.Huntington Ingalls’ business segment, Ingalls, has in-depth experience in manufacturing amphibious assault and expeditionary ships for the U.S. Navy. Being the U.S. Navy's primary surface combatant, the Aegis-equipped Arleigh Burke class (DDG 51) destroyers enjoy solid demand.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Huntington Ingalls’ 2022 earnings indicates a growth rate of 13.9% from the prior-year reported figure. Shares of HII have returned 2.5% value to investors in the past year.Price PerformanceShares of General Dynamics have rallied 16.4% in the past year against the industry’s decline of 34.6%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks RankGeneral Dynamics currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can seethe complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>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 General Dynamics Corporation (GD): Free Stock Analysis Report Bae Systems PLC (BAESY): Free Stock Analysis Report Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. (HII): Free Stock Analysis Report Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHVYF): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 30th, 2022

2 Consumer Loan Stocks Overcoming Tough Industry Backdrop

Falling consumer sentiments, recessionary woes and worsening asset quality hurt the Zacks Consumer Loans industry players' financials. Efforts to digitize operations along with easing lending standards will aid companies like Credit Acceptance (CACC) & Encore Capital (ECPG). The Zacks Consumer Loans industry continues to bear the brunt of falling consumer sentiments, mainly attributable to inflation, geopolitical matters and recessionary fears. This will, therefore, gradually dampen the demand for consumer loans and hurt top-line growth. Weakening asset quality as the economic growth continues to slowdown remains a key near-term concern.Nonetheless, easing lending standards, which have increased the number of clients eligible for consumer loans and digitization of operations, will keep benefiting industry players. Hence, companies like Credit Acceptance Corporation CACC and Encore Capital Group, Inc. ECPG are worth considering for the near term.About the IndustryThe Zacks Consumer Loans industry comprises companies that provide mortgages, refinancing, home equity lines of credit, credit card loans, automobile loans, education/student loans and personal loans, among others. These help the industry players generate net interest income (NII), which forms the most important part of total revenues. Prospects of the companies in this industry are highly sensitive to the nation’s overall economic condition and consumer sentiments. In addition to offering the above-mentioned products and services, many consumer loan providers are involved in other businesses like commercial lending, insurance, loan servicing and asset recovery. These support the companies in generating fee revenues. Furthermore, this helps the firms diversify revenue sources and be less dependent on the vagaries of the economy.3 Themes Shaping Consumer Loan Industry's FutureSagging Consumer Sentiments: The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, supply-chain woes and raging inflation (persistently being above 8%) continue to weigh heavily on the consumer sentiments. Due to these factors, the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index fell to a 16-month low of 98.7 in June. Also, the Expectations Index — which shows a six-month outlook – fell to 66.4 this month (the lowest level since March 2013) as consumers become more downbeat regarding the outlook for the economy, labor market and incomes.Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said “Consumers’ grimmer outlook was driven by increasing concerns about inflation, in particular rising gas and food prices. Expectations have now fallen well below a reading of 80, suggesting weaker growth in the second half of 2022 as well as growing risk of recession by yearend.” So, consumer spending is likely to face headwinds from inflation and rising interest rates during the second half of the year. This will thereby result in lower demand for consumer loans. Thus, growth in net interest margin (NIM) and NII for consumer loan companies is likely to be hampered.Credit Quality May Worsen: Since March 2020, the U.S. administration has provided substantial financial assistance to individuals through various packages to overcome pandemic-related challenges. However, with the stimulus packages gradually stopping and the Federal Reserve signaling continued monetary policy tightening ahead to tame inflation, there is a strong likelihood that the U.S. economy might be slipping into a recession in the next six-nine months.Also, going by the central bank’s latest Summary of Economic Projections, the U.S. economy will grow 1.7% in both 2022 and 2023, down from the prior projection of 2.8% for 2022 and 2.2% for 2023. These factors may severely curtail the consumers’ ability to pay back loans. Thus, consumer loan providers will likely have to build additional reserves to tide over unexpected defaults and payment delays owing to the economic slowdown. This will, thereby, lead to deterioration in industry player’ asset quality going forward.Easing Lending Standards: With the nation’s big credit reporting agencies removing all tax liens from consumer credit reports since 2018, several consumers' credit scores have improved. This has raised the number of consumers for the industry participants. Further, easing credit lending standards are helping consumer loan providers to meet loan demand.Zacks Industry Rank Reflects Muted ProspectsThe Zacks Consumer Loans industry is a 17-stock group within the broader Zacks Finance sector. The industry currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #211, which places it at the bottom 16% of more than 250 Zacks industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates underperformance in the near term. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.The industry’s positioning in the bottom 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of a disappointing earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are gradually losing confidence in this group’s earnings growth potential. Since April 2022-end, the industry’s earnings estimates for the current year have moved 1.3% lower.Before we present a few stocks that you may want to add to your portfolio despite industry challenges, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock market performance and valuation picture.Industry vs. Broader MarketThe Zacks Consumer Loans industry has underperformed both the Zacks S&P 500 composite and its own sector over the past year.The stocks in this industry have collectively lost 28% over this period while the Zacks S&P 500 composite and Zacks Finance sector have declined 12% and 13.5%, respectively.One-Year Price Performance Industry's Current ValuationOn the basis of price-to-tangible book (P/TBV), which is commonly used for valuing consumer loan providers because of large variations in their results from one quarter to the next, the industry currently trades at 1.03X. The highest level of 1.54X and a median of 1.21X are recorded over the past five years.This compares with the S&P 500’s trailing 12-month P/TBV of 13.32X, as the chart below shows.Price-to-Tangible Book Ratio (TTM) As finance stocks typically have a lower P/TBV, comparing consumer loan providers with the S&P 500 may not make sense to many investors. But a comparison of the group’s P/TBV ratio with that of its broader sector ensures that the group is trading at a decent discount. The Zacks Finance sector’s trailing 12-month P/TBV of 3.92X for the same period is way above the Zacks Consumer Loan industry’s ratio, as the chart below shows.Price-to-Tangible Book Ratio (TTM) 2 Consumer Loan Stocks Braving the Industry ChallengesCredit Acceptance Corporation: Headquartered in Southfield, MI, CACC offers financing programs and related products and services to automobile dealers across the United States, enabling them to sell vehicles to consumers irrespective of their credit history. Further, it is engaged in the business of reinsuring coverage under vehicle service contracts sold to consumers by dealers on vehicles financed by the company.Revenue growth remains a major positive for Credit Acceptance, with the same witnessing a five-year (2017-2021) CAGR of 13.7%. Growth is primarily attributable to a steady rise in finance charges, which is also the main revenue component. Finance charges are likely to continue improving as the demand for auto loans steadily rises, driven by solid economic growth. A decent rise in dealer enrolments and active dealers is also expected to aid the company’s revenues.Credit Acceptance believes in returning capital to shareholders through stock repurchases instead of paying dividends. In September 2021, it authorized additional 2 million shares to be repurchased. As of Mar 31, 2022, the company had 0.36 million shares left to be repurchased. Despite having a substantial debt burden, its high cash flow generating business model and low capital expenditures are likely to help sustain share buybacks.The company’s earnings are expected to decline 11.1% for 2022. Shares of this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) firm have lost 14.4% over the past three months. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Price and Consensus: CACC Encore Capital: Based in San Diego, CA, ECPG offers debt recovery solutions and other related services for consumers across financial assets globally. The company also provides debt servicing and other portfolio management services to credit originators for non-performing loans in Europe.Encore Capital primarily focuses on portfolio purchasing and recovery business in the United States and Europe. It plans to leverage its leadership position in portfolio purchasing and recovery as well as credit management services to bolster market share worldwide.Organic growth remains solid for ECPG. Over the last three years (ended 2021), revenues recorded a CAGR of 7.2%. A gradual rise in portfolio purchases will help the company’s revenue growth.Similar to Credit Acceptance, ECPG believes in returning capital to shareholders through stock repurchases. In May 2021, it authorized an additional $250 million for share buyback. As of Mar 31, 2022, the company had $153.2 million authorization remaining. Despite having a huge debt burden, its high cash flow generating business model is likely to help sustain share buybacks.This Zacks Rank #2 stock has lost 8.2% over the past three months. ECPG’s earnings are expected to increase 14.4% for this year.Price and Consensus: ECPG  Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>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 Credit Acceptance Corporation (CACC): Free Stock Analysis Report Encore Capital Group Inc (ECPG): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 30th, 2022

Is it Wise to Retain Welltower (WELL) in Your Portfolio Now?

Welltower (WELL) is set to gain from the senior housing recovery and strategic acquisitions. However, stiff competition and earnings dilution in the near term from asset dispositions are woes. Welltower Inc.’s WELL diversified portfolio in the healthcare real estate industry is likely to lead its gains amid rising healthcare spending and an aging population. Its senior housing operations (SHO) portfolio is recovering due to widespread vaccination drives.Welltower’s SHO segment is well-poised to capture the increase in medical expenses borne by senior citizens, which is generally higher than the average population. This trend is expected to continue in the upcoming years in the wake of aging baby boomers.Customers’ prioritization of healthcare expenses over other discretionary purchases makes the healthcare sector relatively immune to the macroeconomic problems faced by the office, retail and apartment companies. This shields WELL against market volatilities.To capitalize on tailwinds, Welltower is undertaking strategic acquisitions and capital-recycling measures to improve its SHO portfolio. Through this, it has achieved operator diversification and expanded its footprint in high barrier-to-entry urban markets. During second-quarter 2022, WELL completed the acquisition of Calamar’s 25-property seniors housing portfolio for $502 million. Moreover, the company announced the expansion of its partnership with Oakmont Management Group in May and agreed to purchase seven senior living communities, subject to closing conditions. Stronger demographics and increasing penetration rates have favorably positioned the portfolio for long-term growth.Welltower maintains a healthy balance-sheet position with ample liquidity to meet near-term obligations and fund its development pipeline. As of Mar 31, 2022, it had $4.1 billion of near-term liquidity. Moreover, in June, it upsized and extended the maturity of its $5.2 billion unsecured credit facility. With a well-laddered debt maturity schedule and investment-grade credit ratings, Welltower holds adequate financial flexibility and has favorable access to the debt market, which aids its expansionary endeavors.However, the SHO segment is likely to experience a competitive landscape as operators are trying to fill unoccupied units post the pandemic-led broad-based occupancy erosions. Also, the tenant concentration in the company’s triple-net portfolio is concerning.Further, as part of its portfolio-repositioning and liquidity-enhancing efforts, Welltower is either disposing of its assets or converting properties to RIDEA structures. It completed property dispositions and loan payoffs of $155 million during first-quarter 2022. While such moves reduce its exposure to troubled operators, the dilutive impact on earnings in the near term from asset dispositions cannot be avoided.  Although shares of Welltower have only declined 3% in the past six months compared with the industry’s fall of 19.6%, analysts seem bearish about this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. The estimate revisions trend for 2022 funds from operations (FFO) per share does not indicate a favorable outlook for the company as it has been marginally revised downward in the past month to $3.52.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchStocks to ConsiderSome better-ranked stocks from the REIT sector are Host Hotels & Resorts HST, OUTFRONT Media OUT and Pebblebrook Hotel Trust PEB, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Host Hotels’ 2022 FFO per share has moved 5.1% upward in the past month to $1.65.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for OUTFRONT Media’s ongoing year’s FFO per share has been raised 7.7% over the past two months to $2.09.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Pebblebrook Hotel Trust’s current-year FFO per share has moved 12.5% northward in the past month to $1.80.Note: Anything related to earnings presented in this write-up represent funds from operations (FFO) — a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>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 Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (HST): Free Stock Analysis Report Pebblebrook Hotel Trust (PEB): Free Stock Analysis Report OUTFRONT Media Inc. (OUT): Free Stock Analysis Report Welltower Inc. (WELL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 30th, 2022

Jacobs" (J) JV Receives Decommissioning Contract From NND

Jacobs (J) to assist EDF in its intention of a net-zero economy. Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.’s J joint venture with Multiconsult Norge AS was selected by Norwegian Nuclear Decommissioning (“NND”) for the decommissioning of Norway's nuclear facilities.Per the deal, Jacobs/Multiconsult JV will provide engineering concept design and planning of new facilities, upgrade existing nuclear and non-nuclear facilities and support NND with technical documentation and prepare safety cases to meet ownership and operating license requirements. Initially, the work will be provided on two research sites, the nuclear fuel and materials testing reactor at Halden and the JEEP-II neutron scattering facility at Kjeller. These facilities were shut down in 2018 and 2019.NND estimates the total value of this six-year multi-award framework up to $100 million.Jacobs’ Energy, Security and Technology’s senior vice president, Karen Wiemelt, stated, "Laying the foundations for a safe and effective cleanup will protect people and the environment and enable these two sites to be used for other purposes for decades to come."J’s shares inched up 0.41% in the after-market trading session on Jun 29.Solid Project Execution to Drive GrowthJacobs is witnessing rising demand for infrastructure, water, environment, space, broadband, cybersecurity and life sciences consulting services. Efficient project execution has been a primary factor driving Jacobs’ performance over the last few quarters. The company’s solid backlog level is a testimony to this fact.At fiscal second quarter-end, it reported a backlog of $27.8 billion, up 8.7% year over year. This reflects persistent solid demand for Jacobs' consulting services. Of this backlog, CMS accounted for $10.5 billion, up from $9.78 billion reported a year ago. The upside provided strong visibility into the base business. P&PS backlog at quarter-end was $16.96 billion, up from $15.5 billion a year ago.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchJ’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Engineering - R and D Services industry in the past three months. Impressively, 2022 earnings estimates have moved up in the past two months, reflecting 13.2% year-over-year growth. The trend is expected to continue in the near term, courtesy of its solid results for the first half of fiscal 2022.Zacks Rank & Key PicksCurrently, Jacobs carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.KBR, Inc. KBR — currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) — provides professional services and technologies across the asset and program life-cycle within government services and hydrocarbons industries worldwide. Its mission-critical government services, high-end and differentiated government business work, strong margin performance, proprietary technology solutions and a significant increase in backlog (particularly in Government Solution) are expected to boost 2022 earnings.KBR’s 2022 earnings are likely to rise 3.7%. This Zacks Rank #3 company has seen a 2% upward estimate revision for 2022 earnings in the past 30 days.AECOM ACM — currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2 — is a leading solutions provider for supporting professional, technical and management solutions for diverse industries across end markets like transportation, facilities, government and those in environmental, energy and water businesses.AECOM’s expected earnings growth rate for 2022 is 21.6%. The consensus mark for its 2022 earnings has moved up to $3.43 per share from $3.40 in the past 60 days.Sterling Construction Company, Inc. STRL — a Zacks Rank #2 company — has been benefiting from broad-based growth across the E-Infrastructure, Building and Transportation solutions segments.The consensus mark for Sterling’s 2022 earnings rose to $2.61 per share from $2.60 in the past 30 days. This suggests 7.9% year-over-year growth. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>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 AECOM (ACM): Free Stock Analysis Report KBR, Inc. (KBR): Free Stock Analysis Report Sterling Infrastructure, Inc. (STRL): Free Stock Analysis Report Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (J): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 30th, 2022

How a soil additive called biochar can help fight the climate crisis by locking away carbon for centuries

A soil additive called biochar can fight the climate crisis by storing carbon for centuries. Several US cities plan to build biochar plants. Biochar is similar to the burnt remains of a campfire and is an emerging climate solution because it can help soil store more carbon and retain water.Casper Hedberg/Bloomberg Philanthropies Biochar is a soil additive that can help store carbon dioxide for centuries.  Cities in Minnesota and Nebraska plan to build biochar plants similar to those in Nordic countries. Climate scientists estimate 10 million metric tons of carbon removal is needed annually by 2050. A decade ago, Jim Doten was on a tour in Afghanistan with the Army National Guard searching for ways to help farmers improve soils depleted of nutrients and carbon.The geohydrologist came across some studies on biochar, a material not unlike the burnt remains of a campfire.Doten's biochar program in Afghanistan was short-lived, but the idea stuck. He's since convinced Minneapolis, Minnesota officials of biochar's value as governments search for ways to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also remove them from the atmosphere. "It took a few years to build credibility because people didn't understand why this was a carbon-negative technology," said Doten, the carbon-sequestration program manager for Minneapolis. Jim Doten is the carbon-sequestration program manager for Minneapolis.Photo courtesy of Jim DotenThe rationale for biochar being carbon-negative goes like this: Through photosynthesis, trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and it's released when they decay or are burned. Gathering forest or yard waste, converting it into biochar using a process known as pyrolysis, and returning it to the soil can trap carbon for centuries and retain water while helping plants absorb nutrients.Doten first worked with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, a tribe in Minneapolis that owns a compost facility and develops urban gardens to promote food security. The city paid for biochar trucked in from Missouri to be mixed with compost."That's a great way to demonstrate the work, but from a climate aspect, trucking biochar across the country negates its climate benefits," Doten said. "So we need local supply."Minneapolis is among seven cities that received a $400,000 grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies this week to invest in biochar. The city is matching the grant to fund the construction of a production plant that will convert wood from nearby ash trees — which are getting decimated by an invasive pest — into biochar, Doten said. The plant will be powered by a low-carbon electric grid."Instead of burning the wood for energy, which is also bad for the climate, we're turning it into a soil amendment," Doten said.The $50 billion global industry that combusts wood for power has been panned by scientists and environmentalists, even as governments in the US, the European Union, and elsewhere categorize it as renewable. While some biochar on the market is a byproduct of that industry, Doten said most production was from plants like the one coming to Minneapolis, which will use the nearly zero-emissions pyrolysis process. That's the case in Stockholm, the original recipient of a Bloomberg Philanthropies grant, where yard waste is being converted into biochar and enough energy to heat 80 apartments.Bloomberg Philanthropies said all the projects combined would yield enough biochar suppliers to sequester nearly 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. It's a help though it's only a tiny amount relative to the scale of what's needed to keep global warming below catastrophic levels. Scientists predict that 10 billion metric tons of carbon will need to be removed from the atmosphere annually by 2050. "Work like this, no matter the size, is important because it engages everyday people in finding solutions," Jim Anderson, the government-innovation lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies, said.For now, Doten said government agencies with big public-works projects would be the main customers for biochar. A pilot project in Minneapolis demonstrated that biochar along highways helped sponge up stormwater, a climate-resiliency strategy as the risk of flooding increases. Eventually, Minneapolis' plant could sell carbon-offset credits to companies that want to meet net-zero targets, Doten added. In 2019, biochar was listed for the first time on a voluntary carbon marketplace in Finland, followed by another listing in 2020, according to the International Biochar Initiative.Insider is seeking nominations for its first Climate Action 30 list, which identifies the top 30 global leaders working toward climate solutions.Tell us about someone who you believe is doing some of the most impactful or promising work to tackle the global climate crisis: Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 30th, 2022

Renee Bracey Sherman wants you to know that someone you love has had an abortion

In the new post-Roe era, Renee Bracey Sherman, the "Beyonce of abortion storytelling" wants more people to hear real-life stories about abortion. Renee Bracey Sherman, "the Beyonce of abortion storytelling," is the founder of We Testify.Cheriss May for Insider Renee Bracey Sherman, 'the Beyonce of abortion storytelling,' says sharing positive abortion stories is more important than ever.  Her group, We Testify, has been showcasing personal stories about abortion since 2016. The group was behind a Supreme Court submission in which 6,641 people spoke out about their abortions. When does a personal story become a confession?That's one of the questions Renee Bracey Sherman was mulling a few days after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, paving the way for abortion bans to take effect in nearly half the country. Bracey Sherman is the founder and executive director of We Testify, an outlet for people who want to share their abortion stories, and a resource for journalists to put a human face on coverage. Her mission is summed up her email sign-off: "Everyone loves someone who had an abortion."  But in the wake of the court's decision, so much is still unknown, including how aggressive states might be in coming after and prosecuting people involved in abortions after the fact. Almost immediately, women were urged to remove period-tracking apps off their phones, for fear the data could be used against them. On social media, doctors were ringing alarm bells that split-second decisions to save a pregnant patient could now carry serious legal consequences.   "Could stories be used as confessions? That has been keeping me up at night," Bracey Sherman said. But these feelings are also a reminder to her that the work of normalizing abortion is more important now than ever. "We just have to get creative," she said. "It's pushing We Testify to get better."Bracey Sherman, who is 36, created We Testify in 2016. Last year, when the US Supreme Court announced that they would consider Mississippi's restrictive abortion law, the group joined forces with Advocates for Youth and filed an amicus brief to the court that included the names of 6,641 people who have had abortions. Among them were people from all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands — all of whom had agreed to speak openly about their experience. We Testify launched in 2016 as an outlet for people to share their personal stories about abortion.Cheriss May for InsiderThe brief also included some of their stories. A third-year law student explained that her oral contraception had failed when she started taking antibiotics and wasn't informed how the two would interact. Another woman said she discovered she was pregnant after being abandoned by her husband and left to care for her six-month-old son on her own. An expectant second-time mom told the court about learning at 22 weeks of pregnancy that the child she was carrying had health complications that were "incompatible with life." "Our goal was 376 signatures," Bracey Sherman said. Another amicus brief filed by the other side included the names of 375 people who said they had been injured by late-term abortions. "We wanted one more than the antis," Bracey Sherman said. Bracey Sherman's name was there. Also on the list was Bracey Sherman's mother. When she thinks about the 6,641 signatures, Bracey Sherman said, "I like to think that my mom was that one." 'What if we start sharing our stories?'For both Bracey Sherman and her mom, telling the other about her abortion didn't come easy — in fact, it took years.Bracey Sherman grew up outside Chicago in what she has called a progressive biracial family — her mother is Black and her father is white. Both her parents worked as nurses, and her father was a union organizer who years ago protested the draft. Abortion wasn't a taboo subject growing up. She learned only later that family members, including her mother, had had abortions in the past, but hadn't thought to ever share that with her.These days, Bracey Sherman talks all the time about getting an abortion at age 19. But it took six years before she started speaking about it openly. Had she known then that her own mother had been through something similar, "I would have known to go to her," Bracey Sherman said. "This is why I do what I do," she said.  When she applied for a master's of public administration from Cornell, she said writing about her abortion help secure her a generous scholarship. But as she began a career in public health, it struck her that, even among those working to protect abortion rights, almost no one wanted to discuss their own experiences with abortion. "I was the only person who was open about my abortion in the room. That was really fascinating to me," she said. So, she had an idea: "What if we start sharing our stories?"The deliberate act of people speaking openly and en masse about their abortions began about a decade ago, with social media propelling the effort. For so long, abortion had been framed as an abstract fight of Choice v. Life. But once people started speaking out, advocates saw the value of centering the actual experiences of real people who have had abortions. If people were willing to share their personal stories, bluntly and without any shame, the hope was that they could normalize abortion and refute misinformation. In 2015, for example, Amelia Bonow used the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion — where shout is intended as a counterpoint to silence — and the story of her abortion went viral on Facebook, creating an opening for others to share their stories.Mary Ziegler, a professor at the University of California Davis and the author of several books about abortion, points to Ireland, which in 2018 voted overwhelmingly to overturn the country's abortion ban. After the vote, many cited the conversations they'd had with family, friends, and colleagues as pivotal in shaping their views."Stories matter when you're at a personal level with voters,"  Ziegler said. Renee Bracey Sherman sits behind a desk at the ìpàdé coworking space, which she helped found.Cheriss May for Insider'The Beyoncé of abortion storytelling'On the day I met her, Bracey Sherman greeted me wearing a Jurassic Park T-shirt. "When I'm really stressed I watch Jurassic Park," she explained. The movie comforts her, reminding her that things "could be worse. Dinosaurs could be eating people." On the inside of her right wrist, a tattoo reflects what has become her life's work. The words "share your story" are tucked into the outline of a swallow. The art was created by an artist with the Repeal Hyde Art Project, which is dedicated to raising awareness about the Hyde Amendment, the federal prohibition on using Medicaid dollars for abortion services that has been in place since 1976.We Testify is a remote operation, and Bracey Sherman often works out of the ìpàdé coworking space just off Dupont Circle, in Washington DC. It has deep purple walls and leafy views of Connecticut Avenue and R Street, and it's a space that Bracey Sherman helped bring into being — installing the bathroom shelves herself, she told me on a recent visit.After the stress of the last few days, this is a place where Bracey Sherman feels at ease, working quietly among friends and fellow activists and entrepreneurs. Curled up onto a crescent-shaped dark green sofa, her phone buzzed and lit up with a stream of incoming messages. She looked tired and her voice was raspy from hours spent outside the court. A few years back, someone bestowed on Bracey Sherman the title "the Beyoncé of abortion storytelling." She includes it in her Twitter bio. The story goes that after the Homecoming documentary debuted in 2019, it struck people that it was widely popular with white audiences, even though, as Bracey Sherman put it, "it was Black as fuck." A supporter of hers later said that, whatever you do, "become the Beyoncé of what you do." It became a joke because abortion storytelling, it was very white," Bracey Sherman said, and her focus was on minority stories. "It kind of snowballed after that," with news outlets adopting the title for her, too.Elizabeth Dawes Gay, founder and CEO of the coworking space where Bracey Sherman spends many of her work days, points to an old meme of Beyoncé as further evidence the nickname fits. "Renee is always on message like Beyoncé is always on beat," she said. "That's true because ask me anything and I have my abortion messaging down," Bracey Sherman replied.The fight over the right to abortion has intensified even as the number of people exercising that right has fallen overall since Roe v. Wade in 1973.We Testify's network of storytellers are empowered to share their abortion experiences on their own terms — revealing what they choose to, and in a way that feels safe. Last week, for instance, Teen Vogue published a piece featuring a We Testify storyteller who retraced the steps of her abortion.Before the pandemic, We Testify organized long-weekend retreats where people telling their abortion stories could meet, and talk about how to deal with the press. Bracey Sherman said the goal is never to tell people what to say, but to empower them to say no if they don't want to answer a particular question or share certain details of their experience."No is a complete sentence," she likes to tell participants. That goes for herself too: She declined to say whether she wants to be a mother someday. Bracey Sherman said her group is intentional in elevating the voices of storytellers who are Black and brown as well as those from the LGBTQ community, because she said straight, white voices are overrepresented in the abortion storytelling space.It's not yet clear if outrage over the court's decision will inspire more people to go public with their abortion stories or, fearing the reach of state prosecutors in states that are now instituting abortion bans, have a chilling effect on people's openness.Renee Bracey Sherman said it struck her early in her career that, even among those working to protect abortion rights, almost no one wanted discussed their own experiences with abortion.Cheriss May for InsiderOne of Bracey Sherman's storytellers, Cazembe Murphy Jackson, believes more people will want to come forward. "That's what I'm seeing," Jackson said. A Black trans man who now lives in Atlanta, Jackson had an abortion after being raped during his college years in Texas. "I share my story because Black trans people have abortions too and our voices should also be heard," he says on his We Testify page. Bonow, who started a a nonprofit advocacy group after her viral "shout your abortion" Facebook post, said that normalizing abortion is still important. Now her group's aim is to normalize participation in the abortion process, including getting people to say they will aid and abet abortion." "It was clear that we wanted to do more than the liberation of people sharing their stories," she said in an interview. "How do we actually make our friends and neighbors and family even get what they need?"In the near term, Bracey Sherman said her priority will be checking in on her storytellers. We Testify, she noted, has "had a lawyer on retainer since Day One." She also has a book on the history of abortion in the works.The long term is another story. The work of magnifying personal abortion stories continues. There's also a demand for consultants on TV and film productions, where there's a growing push to depict abortions in a realistic and responsible way. "Even if you have the policy wins or losses, you still have to do the culture work," she said. "That way people who are having abortions are seeing themselves." And as the reality of the Supreme Court's decision sinks in, there's no shortage of people who want to get involved. We Testify recently posted an opening for operations manager and, for that single opening, Bracey Sherman said that more than 600 people have applied. "We knew it was coming," she said of the court's ruling. "It's back to work." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 30th, 2022

Drugs, blood, confetti, and broken glass: Atlantic City housekeepers share what they wish guests knew — and why they need a raise

Housekeepers said they make $16.25 an hour or less to clean casino hotel rooms that have gotten much filthier since the pandemic started. Service workers and their employers are negotiating a new contract at Caesars Atlantic City.Charles Davis/Insider Atlantic City housekeepers say the hotel rooms they clean are dirtier than ever. Staff told Insider they had just 30 minutes to clean rooms that have been completely trashed. Workers are threatening to strike if they don't receive raises before the July 4 weekend. ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey — Ana Maldonado was animated when she described how the job she'd been performing for 18 years was worse than ever.Originally from Honduras, the mother of four moved to the East Coast's oceanfront gambling mecca — a modest answer to Las Vegas, with the advantage of a boardwalk and a beach — to clean rooms in casino hotels, persevering through multiple recessions, natural disasters, and the outbreak of a novel coronavirus.In the best of times, which may well have been decades ago, a resort city that formally billed itself as "always turned on" was not associated with dignity and class. Atlantic City was where people went to engage in sin, of the legally permissible variety or otherwise. But 2 1/2 years of COVID-19, labor shortages, and inflation have made life less bearable for the workers who make possible the overindulgence of others."It's not a job that's really valued, by society or by the companies," Maldonado told Insider, speaking rapidly in Spanish outside a ballroom in Caesars Atlantic City, where employees like her are engaged in negotiations for a new contract. That was true before 2020, but workers like her now feel they are being asked to do more for even less money and respect."Since the pandemic, everything changed," she said.For one, fewer people are willing to scrub floors and bathroom tiles for little more than New Jersey's $13 minimum wage. But Maldonado said the rooms themselves are also being left more disgusting than they used to be, making an already unpleasant job that much more difficult."The day these people leave," Maldonado said, "the rooms are three times as dirty."Seven workers at Atlantic City casinos told Insider they're struggling to make ends meet cleaning rooms they say are filthier than ever. They described rooms full of shattered glass and linens, stained with bodily fluids from intravenous drug use, and carpets caked in food waste and confetti or soiled by dogs and cats that are practically impossible to sanitize in the 30 minutes or less that workers have to prepare rooms for the next guest.Maldonado, who works at Tropicana Atlantic City, said she regularly encountered cockroaches and ants swarming over the remains of food, with some guests turning their rooms into makeshift kitchens to avoid the rising costs of eating out. She said she's also been yelled at for trying to clean rooms where guests don't want to be caught taking "all kinds of drugs," though they leave behind both syringes and blood."This creates a personal risk for us," she said, adding that she and other housekeepers who spoke with Insider — mostly women of color, many of them immigrants, and all working for $16.25 an hour or less — were being asked to enter these sometimes occupied rooms alone.A receptionist at the Golden Nugget told Insider that rooms were cleaned every other day on average.Charles Davis/InsiderGuests declining cleaning services actually leads to more workIn Atlantic City, and elsewhere, hotels have been encouraging guests to decline daily cleaning services, citing concern for the environment, the threat of COVID-19, and, more recently, staff shortages.In a recent report, Unite Here Local 54, the union that represents housekeepers and other casino service workers, highlighted a photo of a sign in the lobby of the Golden Nugget that told guests: "Daily Housekeeping services are unavailable at this time."When Insider visited the Golden Nugget, there was no sign in the lobby. But when asked how often guests could expect rooms to be cleaned, an employee at reception said: "Usually every other day."Legally, that's not supposed to be the case. In June 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey, a Democrat, signed into law a measure that required occupied hotel rooms to be "cleaned and sanitized every day."Lisa M. Ryan, a spokesperson for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, said the state has sent letters to hotels informing them of their obligations under the law. "Complaints will be investigated by [the department's] inspection staff," she added.Golden Nugget did not respond to Insider's request for comment.Laws aside, guests may believe they're being more considerate by not insisting on daily cleaning. It's less work for others, right? And those sheets can last another day. But the workers interviewed for this story don't see it like that.Ronette Lark, a mother of two who's worked at Harrah's Resort Atlantic City for 24 years, handles room deliveries. Before the pandemic, that meant an extra towel or pillow. Now it's the whole shebang: blankets, sheets, and whatever else guests need to essentially clean their rooms themselves.By declining or not requesting daily cleaning services, Lark said, "you think you're doing me a favor, but you're not — you're just offloading more work."And that's more work for not much more money — indeed, for less money these days, considering inflation and the rising cost of everything. Outside a recent $0.25 hike in her hourly rate, bringing her up to $16.25, "I hadn't seen a raise since probably, like, Sandy came," Lark said, referring to the destructive 2012 hurricane.Not counting overtime, a $16.25 an hour wage translates to less than $32,000 a year in a region where, according to MIT's Living Wage Calculator, an adult with no children needs more than $37,000 to cover the annual cost of food, housing, and healthcare while maintaining a decent standard of life.Atlantic City offers one of few beaches in New Jersey where visitors do not need to pay a fee.Charles Davis/Insider'It's just terrible'Guests often do not clean rooms to which they have no long-term attachment, even if they're trying to be polite.Most leave their room worse than they found it — and many are not trying to do any work when they're on vacation and paying for the privilege of not caring."Now we have a situation where there are people not requesting service for two or three or four days a week, and when they leave, the work is much harder," Teresa Lopez, who has worked at Caesars for 20 years after moving from Puerto Rico, said in Spanish."When people don't want service, they throw their food, mixing everything together on the floor," she said, referring to sheets, towels, and other things in the room. "They even fight. There is even blood."Iris Sanchez, a mother of three and nine-year veteran of Caesars, said she regularly encountered the aftermath of hotel brawls."Glass all over the floor," she said. "They break stuff. They throw stuff. It's just terrible."The partiers aren't much better."There's 10 people where there should only be two people," she said.Sometimes because they don't want to get caught, these large groups often refuse daily service — leaving poorly ventilated showers covered in mold, Sanchez said."You throw water and just black stuff comes down," she said. And then there's the confetti that sticks to everything. "To vacuum that? Oh, my God, it's terrible," she added.And because guests aren't regularly having their rooms cleaned, they often aren't tipping, either."I could do 14 checkouts, and I'm lucky if I take home $20. That's how bad it is," Sanchez said.Mercedes Cuadros, an immigrant from Mexico who makes $16 an hour after 11 years as a housekeeper at Caesars, said she now has to work six days a week to make ends meet, at the expense of time with her two children."I would like to rest for two days because I have grandchildren. I have children, but I need to work," she said.In addition to her employer hiring more staff, she wants the state government to enforce daily cleaning requirements, saying that guests have been blaming — and verbally abusing — housekeepers like her when they're surprised to find their rooms have not been cleaned."I don't know much English," she said, "but I understand the curse words."Caesars Entertainment operates three of the casino hotels in Atlantic City: its namesake, Harrah's, and Tropicana.Charles Davis/InsiderWorkers threaten to strikeHousekeepers aren't just complaining.On June 15, a supermajority of unionized service staff at five Atlantic City casinos — Caesars, Tropicana, and Harrah's, which are operated by the same company, as well as the Borgata and Hard Rock — voted to authorize a strike if their negotiating committee failed to reach a new agreement with their employers ahead of the July 4 weekend. Unite Here said that in a survey of more than 1,900 of its members, 61% reported struggling to pay the cost of housing, with nearly one-third saying they struggled to pay for food.All of the casinos involved didn't respond to Insider's email requests for comment.Workers believe their employers have the money. Revenues have rebounded since the pandemic started, with Atlantic City casinos posting higher gambling wins than they did before COVID-19 — its best month in nearly a decade was May, according to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission."Over the years, casino workers have sacrificed wage increases for the health of the industry," Unite Here Local 54, which represents about 10,000 employees in Atlantic City, said in a statement. "Workers have persevered through casino closures, Hurricane Sandy, and a global pandemic. Now, they're falling behind. As industry's profits and gaming revenues surpass pre-pandemic levels, wages for Atlantic City's casino workers have not kept pace.""It's not enough," Rodney Mills, who fields guests' room requests at Tropicana for $16.25 an hour, said in an interview.The single father of three spent the first 17 months of the pandemic laid off from his job as a casino buffet server. He wants a livable wage, he said, without being required to work mandatory overtime because no one else wants to do the job for the advertised rate."We want to be treated as human beings," he said.Luana Molley, a grandmother with three kids of her own, described her work as "more dirty" and "more hazardous" than ever. She's spent 11 years working as a housekeeper at Harrah's and now makes $16.25 an hour. She said the current workload is affecting her quality of life."It's harder for me to help with the homework. It's harder for me to walk the dog. It's harder to spend time with my grandbaby. It's just harder," she said.But she was defiant when asked if that hardship would ever lead her to give up on life in the city where she was born."I will never be pushed out of my home. This is my hometown. This is where my sand is in my shoes, and I'm not letting anybody take that from me," she said. "I will do what I have to do. And if that's striking, then we will strike."Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 30th, 2022

We"ve skipped a key phase in the typical real-estate cycle — and next up is a recession

The home price crash of the mid-2000s was triggered in part, by a surplus of housing supply. Experts say that's not likely to happen this time around. Home prices are still rising in several pockets of the country — and that means demand exhaustion is just getting started.Getty Images. A typical real-estate cycle has four phases: expansion, hyper supply, recession and recovery.   In the current housing market, hyper supply is missing from the equation. An expert says "demand exhaustion" has instead taken its place. The homebuying game is changing. Pandemic-era mortgage deals are over and affordability has plummeted for many potential buyers. However, despite waning demand, home prices remain high in housing markets across the country — and it's caused many Americans to wonder what comes next. A typical real-estate cycle occurs in four phases: expansion, hyper supply, recession and recovery. But what happens when a factor is missing from the equation? Todd Metcalf, the senior economist at Moody's Analytics, told Insider, that the nation's lack of available housing inventory is throwing the entire cycle for a loop. "In the typical narrative the "hyper supply" is because construction companies over-build, and there becomes a glut of housing units," Metcalf said. "This occurred during the housing bubble preceding the Great Recession. However, at the national level we still see a severe housing shortage."During the housing bubble of the mid-2000s, a mixture of cheap debt, predatory lending practices, and complex financial engineering led to many borrowers being placed into mortgages they could not afford. When the bubble burst, it gave rise to a foreclosure crisis among homeowners, as well as a credit crisis among the investors who owned bonds backed by these underwater mortgages. This caused a surplus of homes to flood the market, sent home prices plummeting, and contributed to the recession. But in 2022 things are much different. Residential construction has fallen to its slowest pace since April 2021 and the housing market needs to build millions of homes to meet buyer demand. Metcalf says in place of hyper-supply, the housing market is now entering "demand exhaustion." In this phase, home prices don't fall due to a surplus of inventory, they instead decline as buyers' ability to afford them wanes. "This occurs not because the demand for housing has gone away, but because rising interest rates have made it so that many people can no longer afford to buy a new home," he said. This sort of buyer burnout doesn't lead to dramatic price drops but instead modest declines — and that means home prices aren't tanking like they did in 2008."Builders will continue building, but they have not been building at the levels of the housing bubble when overbuilding created a hyper supply," he said. "That glut of housing was part of what led to the dramatic price drops."Mike Larson, a senior analyst at financial research company Weiss Ratings, agrees that this time around, home prices will take a longer time to fall across the board.  "I doubt we'll see very sharp, very sudden declines in the official price statistics over the next several months," Larson said. "But as conditions soften this year, it will gradually become apparent to buyers and sellers alike that the latest, greatest housing boom is kaput."Although 19.1% of home sellers dropped their listing price during the month of May — the highest level since October 2019 — the median asking price of newly listed homes increased 18% year-over-year to a new all-time high of $418,000.So while the pace of growth is slowing, home prices are still rising in several pockets of the country — and that means demand exhaustion is just getting started. While it's too early to call the next phase of the housing cycle, Larson says the housing market is likely to remain challenged for the rest of this year and well into 2023."Given the magnitude of the rise in house prices during the boom, and the extended period that mortgage rates will likely remain high relative to 2020-2021 levels, a recovery isn't likely any time soon," he said. "It's going to take quite some time for incomes, prices, demand, and supply to come back into balance."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 30th, 2022

An American Airlines passenger drove to Denver airport to rebook his seats after the airline"s customer-service center left him on hold for nearly 4 hours

Brian Driver told The Wall Street Journal it was "by far the worst airline call center experience I've ever had." US carriers collectively canceled at least 35,000 flights during the weekend of Brian Driver's call-center trouble.DANIEL SLIM / Contributor / Getty Images An American Airlines passenger spent nearly four hours trying to rebook his seats over the phone. He eventually gave up and drove 45 minutes to the ticket counter at Denver airport, per The WSJ.  It's a microcosm of the travel frustration faced by passengers this summer. An American Airlines passenger who spent nearly four hours on hold with the airline's customer-service center grew so frustrated he drove 45 minutes to the airport to rebook his seats at the ticket counter.Brain Driver, a radio station manager, needed to rebook his flight home after a business trip to Denver ended early, The Wall Street Journal reported. He said he initially tried to switch his flight using the airline's mobile service and website but was unable to do so.He then called the airline's customer service center and was given a callback time of eight hours, according to The Journal. Eventually, he spoke to an agent via the airline's chat platform — but experienced further difficulty choosing his seats, according to the publication.Driver tried calling the airline again the next day but was told to try later because the lines were busy, The Journal said. When he tried again the following morning he spent three hours and 45 minutes on hold, eventually growing so frustrated that he drove 45 minutes to rebook his seats at the ticket counter at Denver International Airport. "This has been by far the worst airline call center experience I've ever had," Driver told The Journal. A spokesperson for American Airlines told Insider that weather and air-traffic-control issues were behind long mid-June hold times, the highest the airline had seen over the past several weeks. "These challenges, combined with an anomaly in this customer's booking, resulted in an experience that did not meet what we aim to deliver for our customers," the airline said."Our hold times for all customers are now significantly lower than they were in the middle of the month. To support high summer demand, we welcomed hundreds of additional reservations agents this spring in anticipation of the season," the spokesperson said.Driver could not immediately be reached for comment.Driver's predicament is a microcosm of the travel frustration faced by passengers this summer amid a spate of flight delays and cancellations, as airlines struggle to cope with rising travel demand and passenger numbers. In what is increasingly becoming the norm, US carriers collectively canceled at least 35,000 flights between the day of Driver's first call on June 16 and the end of the Juneteenth long weekend. There's no singular issue, but ongoing staff shortages across the industry, exacerbated by mass layoffs during the pandemic, have left the aviation industry with little slack to cope with disruptions caused by poor weather, technical glitches that arise, or high passenger demand. The result has been long lines at airports as airlines readjust their flight schedules to minimize disruption. On Tuesday, Delta announced that it will let passengers reschedule tickets booked on flights between July 1 and July 4 for free. The airline hopes to give passengers more flexibility to plan around busy travel times. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 30th, 2022

Crypto exchange CoinFlex says it needs more time to restart withdrawals as it scrambles to fix a $47 million bad debt

CoinFlex halted withdrawals while it searches for a solution to the $47 million bad debt, which the crypto exchange claims is down to "bitcoin Jesus" Roger Ver. Yuichiro Chino CoinFlex is unlikely to resume customer withdrawals on Thursday as planned, its CEO told CNBC. The crypto exchange needs more time, he said, as it looks to recover from a $47 million bad debt. It's another sign of the growing debt-related pressures in the industry as crypto prices slide. Crypto exchange CoinFlex needs more time to start resuming withdrawals by customers again, its CEO has said, as the company scrambles to find a solution to a $47 million bad debt.The exchange froze withdrawals last week, citing "extreme market conditions" and "continued uncertainty involving a counterparty", after it accumulated millions of dollars in debt.CoinFlex later said high-profile investor Roger Ver, also known as "bitcoin  Jesus," owed it $47 million after allowing his account to go into negative balance. The crypto evangelist denies this, saying the exchange actually owes him money.The exchange hoped to restart withdrawals Thursday, but said it would depend in part on take-up of the $47 million of recovery tokens it issued to fundraise the account shortfall. But its CEO Mark Lamb dampened those hopes on Wednesday."We will need more time. And it's unlikely that withdrawals will be re-enabled tomorrow," Lamb told CNBC.CoinFlex is looking for buyers for the $47 million bad debt, he added. The company has had millions of dollars in "soft commitments" from distressed debt funds for its token sale, it told MarketWatch.The exchange is the latest casualty of the crypto market crash that wiped off billions of dollars in value from the digital asset market, which recently fell below $1 trillion for the first time in 16 months. Its troubles are another sign of the growing debt-related pressures in the industry as crypto prices slide, which has driven uncertainty about stability.Troubled crypto hedge fund Three Arrows, also known as 3AC, entered liquidation under court order after it failed to meet margin calls from multiple lenders, the Wall Street Journal reported. Before that, 3AC's problems in turn exposed Voyager Digital to financial woes, because it had lent the hedge fund $660 million.Earlier in June, crypto lender Celsius also froze withdrawals and transfers as a result of conditions in the crypto market, leaving its customers anxious about their locked money.That said, some experts believe the crypto pain is actually beneficial for the industry, as it will "stress test" newly built crypto infrastructure and weed out businesses without a solid base.FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried told Forbes that some crypto exchanges that are secretly insolvent, as he warned more exchanges will soon fail. The crypto billionaire has been described as crypto's lender of last resort after he loaned Voyager $485 million in cash and bitcoin, and bailed out struggling crypto lender BlockFi.But in his remarks to Forbes published Tuesday, he said some crypto firms are not worth trying to rescue, given the amount of troubles they have."There are companies that are basically too far gone, and it's not practical to backstop them — for reasons like a substantial hole in the balance sheet, regulatory issues, or that there is not much of a business left to be saved," he said.Read more: BANK OF AMERICA: Buy these 8 undervalued technology stocks - 4 of which could be set to surge by over 100%Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 30th, 2022

Putin"s preposterously long table at Kremlin dwarfed by gigantic table at a summit he attended in Turkmenistan

The Russian president previously met with Emmanuel Macron and the United Nations chief at opposite ends of a 13-foot-long table. Russian leader Vladimir Putin was spotted in official photos seated at one end of a ridiculously huge table, along with the heads of state of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.Office of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin met with fellow heads of state on Wednesday at a massive table in Turkmenistan. It dwarfs the Kremlin's 13-foot-long table that Putin used to meet Macron and other leaders. Reports have speculated that Putin is very conscious of other people's germs.  Russian President Vladimir Putin met with fellow heads of state on Wednesday at a massive table in Turkmenistan that dwarfed a comically long table at the Kremlin that previously captured global attention.  Meeting with the leaders of Turkmenistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan, Putin sat far from other leaders at a massive rectangular table as they discussed cooperation in the Caspian Sea region, the Kremlin said. According to the Turkmenistan government, the 6th Caspian Summit was held at the "luxurious Arkadag Hotel."But before the meeting took place in what Turkmenistan's foreign affairs ministry referred to as the "Large Conference Hall," there was a more intimate meeting at the hotel's "Small Conference Hall." The sixth Caspian Summit featured not one, but two large meeting tables. The second, while far more understated, was still of an above-average size for a meeting table.Office of the President of RussiaThe table at the sixth Caspian Summit was so huge that Putin himself — seated on the far end —can hardly be seen in some official photos..Office of the President of RussiaIt didn't take long for photos of the large rectangular table to make the rounds on social media.Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to Ukraine's internal affairs minister, tweeted a photo of the table underneath a significantly smaller table used by heads of state at this week's G7 summit in Germany.—Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) June 29, 2022Various journalists also tweeted their thoughts and made jokes about the table.—max seddon (@maxseddon) June 30, 2022—Alina Selyukh (@alinaselyukh) June 30, 2022This isn't the first time Putin has sat at above-average-sized tables for meetings, but the one in Turkmenistan certainly dwarfs the others. He previously met with French President Emmanuel Macron in February at a 13-foot-long table in Moscow, and the Kremlin broke out the same table for a meeting with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres a few months later. Russian state media even broadcast Putin meeting with other world leaders at a "long but round" table in May — a step away from the long one. The New York Times previously reported that Putin may be obsessed over his health and safety — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 30th, 2022

An American Airlines passenger drove to Denver airport to rebook his seats after the airline"s customer service center left him on hold for nearly 4 hours

Brian Driver told The Wall Street Journal it was "by far the worst airline call center experience I've ever had." US carriers collectively canceled at least 35,000 flights during the weekend of Brian Driver's call center trouble.DANIEL SLIM / Contributor / Getty Images An American Airlines passenger spent nearly four hours trying to rebook his seats over the phone. He eventually gave up and drove 45 minutes to the ticket counter Denver airport, per The WSJ.  It's a microcosm of the travel frustration faced by passengers this summer. An American Airlines passenger who spent nearly four hours on hold with the airline's customer service center grew so frustrated he drove 45 minutes to the airport to rebook his seats at the ticket counter.Brain Driver, a radio station manager, needed to rebook his flight home after a business trip to Denver ended early, The Wall Street Journal reported. He said he initially tried to switch his flight using the airline's mobile service and website but was unable to do so.He then called the airline's customer service center and was given a callback time of eight hours, per The Journal. Eventually, he spoke to an agent via the airline's chat platform — but nonetheless experienced further difficulty choosing his seats, according to the publication.Driver tried calling the airline again the next day but was told to try later because the lines were busy, per The Journal. When he tried again the following morning he spent three hours and 45 minutes on hold, eventually growing so frustrated that he drove 45 minutes to rebook his seats at the ticket counter at Denver International Airport. "This has been by far the worst airline call center experience I've ever had," Driver told The Journal. A spokesperson for American Airlines told The Journal that weather and air traffic control issues were behind long mid-June hold times, the highest it had seen over the past several weeks. "These challenges, combined with an anomaly in this customer's booking, resulted in an experience that did not meet what we aim to deliver for our customers," the airline said in a statement to the newspaper. The spokesperson said hold times were currently "significantly lower" compared with the middle of the month.American Airlines did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. Driver could not immediately be reached for comment.Driver's predicament is a microcosm of the travel frustration faced by passengers this summer amid a spate of flight delays and cancellations, as airlines struggle to cope with rising travel demand and passenger numbers. In what is increasingly becoming the norm, US carriers collectively canceled at least 35,000 flights between the day of Driver's first call on June 16 and the end of the Juneteenth long weekend. There's no singular issue, but ongoing staff shortages across the industry, exacerbated by mass layoffs during the pandemic, have left the aviation system with little slack to cope with disruptions caused by poor weather, technical glitches that arise, or high passenger demand. The result has been long lines at airports as airlines readjust their flight schedules to minimize disruption. On Tuesday, Delta announced that it will let passengers reschedule tickets booked on flights between 1-4 July for free. The airline hopes to give passengers more flexibility to plan around busy travel times. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 30th, 2022

My hawks keep pigeons out of Wimbledon matches. This is how my family business stops a problem plaguing the Grand Slam.

Rufus the hawk has become a staple of the Grand Slam. His owner Joanna Doniger explains how her family business came to work at the All England Club. Donna Davis with Rufus at Wimbledon.Ben Solomon Donna Davis' Harris's hawk Rufus is the official pigeon scarer of the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, and the Duchess of Cornwall are among Rufus' fans. This is how Davis' business came to work keeping pigeons out of matches, as told to Claire Turrell. This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Donna Davis, the 55-year-old director of Avian Environmental Consultants. It has been edited for length and clarity.In 1985, I set up Avian Environmental Consultants with my husband. We flew hawks and falcons at Royal Air Force bases and flour mills in the UK to scare off gulls and pigeons; I never thought the 153-year-old All England Club would become our office.I've always been a tennis fan, but there was one match in particular that I remember watching: when Pete Sampras played at Wimbledon in 1999.Right in the middle of the action, a pigeon landed on the grass court and stopped play. When this — frequently — happened, a ball boy or girl would try to chase the interloper away, but I knew I had the solutionHis name was Hamish. He was a Harris's hawk, weighed about 1 pound, 7 ounces, had a wingspan of 120 centimeters, and flew at speeds of up to 28 mph. I gave the All England Club a call, offered Hamish's services, and within weeks he became the chief bird scarer and patrolled the grounds regularly.Rufus in flight.Ben SolomonEach week, Hamish would patrol the club to stop pigeons from roosting in the grounds and chase them away from the lawns, where they would land to nibble at the grass seed. His grandson — Rufus — has now followed in his footsteps and, after working at Wimbledon for 14 years, is a firm fixture of the tournament.Not only do professional tennis players such as Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray ask to meet him, but one American fan chose to dress like Rufus, and other fans follow Rufus on Twitter.Rufus with Donna Davis' daughter Imogen, as the hawk meets Andy Murray at the 2014 tournament.Getty ImagesWe live on a farm in Northamptonshire, but during the tournament we stay in Wimbledon Village.As it's a family business, my husband, my daughter, or myself will wake at 3:30 a.m. on competition day and be on the site by 4:30 a.m. with Rufus. We also take two other hawks — Castor and Pollux — to help split the work.As soon as we arrive at the court, we make sure they have their GPS trackers on and weigh them to check they are at their ideal flying weight of 1 pound, 7 ounces.If they are too heavy, they have eaten too much and won't be in the mood to chase pigeons.Our first port of call is Centre Court, where I release RufusAt this time of day, we have the place to ourselves, and it's magical. To be working and flying hawks here is unreal.When you bring a hawk to a new venue, you need to show it where it needs to look through hand signals. However, after 14 years, Rufus knows that he needs to check under the roof to see if there are any pigeons roosting, and fly over Murray's Mount — where the avian invaders could be snacking on picnic remnants.Donna Davis with Rufus on day one of this year's tournament.Getty ImagesUsually, the patrol goes smoothly. Occasionally, one of the hawks may mistake a BBC sound boom for a rabbit and try to grab it. Rufus is a wild bird, so he will sometimes bask in the sun on the court roof or fly over to the nearby golf club to take a bath in a water feature. He only comes back for food, which is a diet of quail, day-old chicks, or pigeon. It wouldn't be ideal if he caught a pigeon himself; he wouldn't be interested in coming back to me.The birds will patrol the courts for 95 pounds per hour until 9 a.m., when the crowds start to arrive. Castor and Pollux may go back to their aviary at our rented home where they can relax and have a bath, and Rufus may stay to do his media rounds.  We only truly had one stressful time bringing the hawks to WimbledonIn 2012, someone stole Rufus from our vehicle. But luckily, with all the media interest, the kidnapper apparently gave up and three days later a passerby found Rufus in his cage, unharmed, on Wimbledon Common. We bring the hawks to the venues from an early age so they can get used to the sights and sounds of the city. However, Harris's hawks are very placid: We can train one within three weeks through food. They start to fly free once they get used to us feeding them.Rufus on a BBC TV camera at this year's tournament.Getty ImagesWe start by placing the hawk on a perch and attaching the bird to a light cord called a creance. We will show the hawk the food in our gloved hand, and the bird will simply hop to the fist to claim its reward.The following day, you will step further back and repeat the process. By the time we are three meters away from its perch and the hawk is flying to our hands to receive food, we are comfortable to let it fly free: It now knows that we are a food source. We also work with peregrine falcons and gyrfalconsWhile the hawks will scare off the pigeons, we use the larger falcons to scare away any gulls.For the Queen's Jubilee, we worked at St. Paul's Cathedral and used our birds to scare away the gulls that dive-bombed the camera crews and security.Being able to use an ancient art form as a sustainable solution in the modern, urban landscape is incredible. The pigeons don't get hurt; they just know they need to roost elsewhere.We are not afraid that Rufus will retire in the near future. The world's oldest Harris's hawk in captivity is over 30, so Rufus is just going through his teenage phase.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 30th, 2022

How One CEO Improved Results By Investing in His Workers

For the past 40 years or so, frontline workers in America have been getting a smaller and smaller slice of the economic pie. As corporate profits and executive compensation packages have soared, employees at many of the country’s biggest companies wound up taking an effective pay cut, year after year. Income growth for the bottom… For the past 40 years or so, frontline workers in America have been getting a smaller and smaller slice of the economic pie. As corporate profits and executive compensation packages have soared, employees at many of the country’s biggest companies wound up taking an effective pay cut, year after year. Income growth for the bottom 90 percent of American households has trailed gross domestic product growth for the past four decades, meaning that even as the country has gotten richer overall, most people have received a shrinking share of that wealth. Things are worst of all for those at the bottom. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation it would be more than $25 an hour. Instead, it is stuck at $7.25. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] In my new book, The Man Who Broke Capitalism, I trace this dramatic shift in our collective fortunes back to the reign of Jack Welch, who took over as the CEO of General Electric in 1981. Over the next 20 years, Welch reshaped the company and the economy, unleashing a series of mass layoffs and factory closures that destabilized the American working class, becoming the first CEO to use downsizing as a tool to improve corporate profitability, and embracing outsourcing and offshoring in an endless quest for cheap labor. And because GE was so influential, and Welch was so successful in his prime, these strategies became the de facto law of the land in corporate America. More than two decades after he retired, we are all still living in the world Jack Welch helped create. Today however, there are tentative signs that change is afoot. Some companies are investing in U.S. manufacturing, doing their part to combat climate change, and trying to clean up their supply chains. At a few select companies CEOs are even trying to push back on the forces that have led to such drastic income inequality in America and invest more in their workers. Companies like Target, Walmart and Chipotle have raised wages in recent years. And at PayPal, the online payments company, CEO Dan Schulman has embarked on an ambitious effort to improve the financial wellbeing of his frontline employees—going well beyond simply raising wages and creating a comprehensive financial wellness program that stands apart in corporate America. When Schulman took over PayPal, the online payments company, in 2014, he embraced the idealistic language of Silicon Valley, trumpeting a corporate mission statement that suggested technology could solve all the world’s problems. “Our mission as a company is to try and democratize the management and movement of money,” Schulman said. “It’s a very inclusive statement.” Schulman assumed that most all of PayPal’s employees were well off. After all, the company is worth more than $80 billion, and Silicon Valley behemoths are known for their generous compensation. But several years ago, Schulman learned that many of PayPal’s lowest-paid employees were having a hard time making ends meet. In 2017, the company set up a $5 million fund to help employees who were experiencing unexpected financial crises. As soon as the fund was announced, it was overwhelmed with applications. “We found urgent requests for help were increasingly the result of everyday events, like an unexpectedly steep medical bill, a student loan payment, or a car breaking down,” he told me. The next year, PayPal decided to survey its low-paid and entry-level employees, a group that included many men and women working in call centers, and which accounted for about half the company’s workforce. Schulman went into the exercise with high hopes. “I thought the results that would come back were going to be really good, because PayPal is a tech company, and we pay at or above market rates everywhere around the world because we want to attract really great employees,” he said. That was not the case. Two thirds of respondents said they were running short on cash between paychecks. “We got the survey results back and I was actually shocked to see that our hourly workers—like our call center employees, our entry-level employees—were just like the rest of the market, struggling to make ends meet,” he said. At an enormously profitable technology company, more than 10,000 employees were barely making enough to survive. “What we found out is that employees were making trade-offs, like do I get health care or do I put food on the table?” he said. “That’s ridiculous.” Schulman was stunned. “What it told me is that for about half our employees, the market wasn’t working. Capitalism wasn’t working.” Schulman resolved to do something, but he knew it wouldn’t be enough to just hand out some bonuses and hope for the best. Instead, he looked for data that would tell him whether or not whatever interventions PayPal devised were making a difference. He wanted a way to measure “the financial health of our employees” that went beyond basic metrics like the minimum wage, the purchasing power of which varies by zip code. Over the course of a few months, PayPal worked with academics and nonprofit groups to create a new metric: “net disposable income,” or NDI. That, Schulman explained, amounted to “how much money do you have after you pay all of your taxes and your essential living expenses, like housing and food and that kind of thing.” PayPal and its partners estimated that an NDI of 20 percent was about what was needed for a family to meet its needs—basics like rent and food, plus things like medical expenses, school supplies, and clothes—and still be able to save. With the new metric in hand, Schulman’s team revisited the survey data. The results were grim. About half of PayPal employees had an NDI of 4 percent, leaving them with just a small fraction of their paycheck after paying for basic necessities. It was a bleak statistic, but now Schulman had a target. The goal would be to get all PayPal employees to at least an NDI of 20 percent. There wasn’t one silver bullet that would easily accomplish that. Instead, PayPal created a four-part financial wellness program for its lower-paid employees that was unique among big companies. First, PayPal raised the wages for those employees with low NDIs. The company already paid above minimum wage everywhere it had offices, but that clearly wasn’t enough. So it upped hourly compensation for its call center workers. It then gave every employee, even entry-level ones, an opportunity to own stock in the company. That was hardly a token gesture. Given the disproportionate amount of value that is created through the appreciation of public company stock, it could be a meaningful way for workers to accumulate real wealth. And sure enough, PayPal stock doubled in the year after the program was introduced. Next, PayPal rolled out a comprehensive financial literacy program for its employees, offering pointers on saving, investing, and managing money. All of that was above and beyond what most big companies were doing, but Schulman then took one more critical step. One surprising finding from financial wellness survey was just how much health care was costing PayPal employees. Each month, workers had to choose between medical care and textbooks, between prescriptions and gas for the car. Health care costs were consuming a meaningful part of their NDI. So Schulman lowered health care costs for the company’s lowest-paid employees by 60 percent. It was the most impactful of PayPal’s interventions. “I think if we had just done health care, it would have been a gigantic relief for our employees,” Schulman said. Several months after the program was implemented, PayPal surveyed its employees again. This time, many of the targeted employees had net disposable income of more than 20 percent, with the lowest coming in at 16 percent. Many other companies have raised wages in recent years. What PayPal did was different. Between the raises, the stock grants, the financial literacy training, and the additional support for healthcare costs, Schulman and his team effectively rewrote the social contract with their lowest paid employees, proving that companies can still be highly profitable while taking exemplary care of their employees, too. The financial wellness program at PayPal cost tens of millions of dollars, money that didn’t go out the door in buybacks or dividends. “It was a significant material investment in our employees,” Schulman said. But he likened it to investments in other parts of the business, be it advertising or infrastructure. “I believe very strongly that the only sustainable competitive advantage that a company has is the skill set and the passion of their employees,” he said. Schulman insists that the expense was worth it. In the months after the program began, customer satisfaction ticked up, employees were more engaged, and PayPal’s stock continued to soar. And in recent months, PayPal has changed the vesting schedule for some of the stock awards to give employees more chances to cash out. “Over the medium and long term, that investment will pay back to shareholders,” Schulman said. “This whole idea that profit and purpose are at odds with each other is ridiculous. I mean, if you ever have any chance of moving from being a good company to a great company, you have to have the very best employees, that love what they’re doing, that are passionate about what they’re doing. Everything else will emanate from there.” Adapted from “The Man Who Broke Capitalism: How Jack Welch Gutted the Heartland and Crushed the Soul of Corporate America–and How to Undo His Legacy.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeJun 30th, 2022