Weekly Update – January 27th 2022

It is being reported that the rapidly spreading Omicron variant is causing worker shortages across the entire economy as employees are out sick or quarantining. At Delta Airlines, 8,000 employees contracted COVID-19 recently, contributing to more than 2,200 cancelled flights. Grocery stores and many other businesses are cutting back on their product lines. A shortage of truck drivers means shipments are delayed, so store shelves are empty. Children are taking public buses…  Read more

Weekly Update – January 20th 2022

Yet again, some people are seeing bare shelves in grocery stores. Our just-in-time supply chain depends on synchrony in all links to keep shelves stocked, but a combination of factors is disrupting the timing. The fast-spreading omicron variant means grocery store workers are calling in sick, as are workers at food producers. Besides workers who are temporarily out sick, grocery stores are dealing with a labor shortage, as people quit over the…  Read more

Weekly Update – January 13th 2022

With the more contagious Omicron variant rapidly becoming the dominant strain, many experts are recommending upgrading from cloth to N95 masks. This article in Popular Science explains what to look for in a mask, how long they can be worn, how to safely reuse them, and when they should be discarded. Masks designated as KF94, N95, or in the FPP family are all subject to strict government oversight and quality control. However,…  Read more

Weekly Update – January 6th 2022; Welcome to a New Year

The rapid spread of the Omicron variant is impacting businesses large and small, keeping some staff members home or quarantined. Record levels of new infections in the US are forcing airlines to cancel flights, stores to close, and available workers to work longer hours or in different areas than normal. While new CDC guidance decreases the number of quarantine days from ten to five, the infectious nature of the new variant may…  Read more

Weekly Update – December 23 2021, Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday Season

Even if you’re fully vaccinated and have your COVID-19 boosters up to date, there is a possibility you’ll still get a breakthrough case of COVID-19. Vox has a list of things you can do now to prepare: get a booster and a flu shot figure out how you can most easily get tested, including possibly purchasing an at-home test kit continue wearing your mask, and consider upgrading to a more…  Read more

Weekly Update – December 16th 2021

We are in the early days of understanding the possible impact of the new Omicron variant; it can be difficult to parse fact from opinion. In The Atlantic, Derek Thompson looks at the studies and anecdotal evidence available at this point so we can develop an early if imperfect evaluation of the risks. Omicron is more transmissible and will spread faster than Delta. Omicron will cause more breakthrough infections. On the…  Read more

Weekly Update – December 9th 2021

What happens to the people who don’t quit or retire during the “Great Resignation?” Those left behind may be picking up additional responsibilities, earning bonuses,  while putting in those extra hours. Over time, managers begin to see the extra hours and work that their team puts in as the norm.  This may also lead to burnout and the loss of knowledge from the workplace as people with specific skill sets are not…  Read more

Weekly Update – December 2 2021; Happy Holidays

Over the weekend, several countries reported their first cases of the new Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. While little is known about the new variant, genetic sequencing indicates it has at least 30 mutations on the spike protein, which it uses to bind to human cells, so it could be even more easily spread than the Delta variant. In response to the uncertainty, Israel has banned all foreigners from entry, while…  Read more

Weekly Update – November 26th 2021, Happy Thanksgiving; Happy Holiday

In honor of the Thanksgiving Holiday this week, we are keeping this short and sweet. Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving I am so grateful my family can be together this thanksgiving holiday.  Yesterday morning my husband David and I flew into Detroit (DTW) minutes before my daughter Jessie’s flight from Atlanta landed a few gates away. DTW We all headed for the pick-up area where my daughter Emily and her husband…  Read more

Weekly Update – November 18th 2021

Just a few weeks ago, it appeared that the Delta variant was on the wane in the US. However, cases are climbing, in pockets of the Midwest, Southwest, and Northeast, and just ahead of the holiday travel season. Minnesota is experiencing its highest average daily case counts since April, at 3,500 per day, overwhelming some hospitals. In response, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has enlisted the National Guard to staff temporary sites…  Read more

Weekly Update – November 11th 2021

Sending best wishes and our thanks to our veterans and their families this Veterans day 2021.  We salute you and appreciate your courage and service to our country.   We’ve been hearing about the tight market for available workers, so what’s the solution?  Per this recent Wall Street Journal article, some companies are responding by loosening hiring requirements such as the need for a bachelor’s degree, work experience or or background check. …  Read more

Weekly Update – November 4th 2021

As the pandemic continues, many people are having a harder time making small daily decisions such as what to wear or what to have for lunch. According to a recent survey by the Harris Poll, nearly a third of adults were still so stressed by the pandemic that small decisions were difficult. Millennials and parents with children under 18 are having the hardest time with decisions. The combination of safety precautions,…  Read more

Weekly Update – October 28th 2021

On November 8, the U.S. will open borders to foreign travelers, marking a new and exciting stage in the pandemic. The Delta variant surge seems to be easing, vaccinations and boosters are available to more people, and mask mandates are being dropped. Case counts appear to be decreasing, and hospitalizations are declining in most parts of the country. However, worker shortages – particularly in restaurants – persist as a reminder that…  Read more

Weekly Update – October 21st 2021

The pandemic may change business travel as we know it forever. The Global Business Travel Association reported a nearly 90% drop in business travel last spring, as businesses were forced to conduct business via video chat software like Zoom or Webex.  While travel is increasing compared to a year ago, it is still sharply down from pre-pandemic levels. Post-pandemic, virtual business meetings may continue to be the norm, but those special…  Read more

Weekly Update – October 14th 2021

Global supply chain delays have become so bad that the biggest U.S. retailers are chartering their own cargo ships to stock shelves this holiday season. Walmart, Home Depot, Costco, and Target are among companies that are paying the additional expense to mitigate holiday disruptions. While the smaller ships these companies will use are far more expensive than the larger ones, they have the advantage of the ability to dock at smaller, less…  Read more

Weekly Update – October 7th 2021

What does it cost to be hospitalized for COVID-19? A study by The Wall Street Journal found the cost can vary by tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the hospital and the insurance policy. While most insurers waived out-of-pocket costs for patients for most of the pandemic, many patients are now receiving bills for hospital stays, which can depend on rates negotiated between hospitals and insurers. For example, at one…  Read more

Weekly Update – September 30th 2021

This recent article in the Washington Post has highlighted (please sing as you read) where have all the employees gone…to the legal cannabis industry,  which has been absorbing furloughed, laid-off, and disenchanted retail and restaurant workers at a rapid pace throughout the pandemic. An estimated 321,000 people in the U.S. work in the industry, more than work as dentists, paramedics, or electrical engineers. Burnout, overwork, and challenges with unhappy customers in retail during…  Read more

Weekly Update – September 23rd 2021

Even before the pandemic, some restaurant owners were challenging the model of paying servers only $2.13 an hour and depending on tips from customers to make them whole. Today, as restaurants and bars struggle to find enough workers to stay open, a few are making further changes to their business model. Some are raising wages and offering sign-on bonuses. Others are adding service charges to every bill, and others are simply…  Read more

Weekly Update – September 16th 2021

The recent announcement by the Biden administration of a plan that mandates COVID vaccinations or weekly testing has drawn both phrase and critizim from the business community.   Some business leaders applaud the plan as a way to keep the surge in COVID cases from hurting the economy, although smaller employers may find the mandate difficult to enforce. Expanding testing may not be possible unless capacity is also significantly increased. Some business leaders…  Read more

Weekly Update – September 9th 2021

Thanks to tight supply chains and logistics in the developed world, many people have grown accustomed to receiving whatever they ordered promptly and predictably. That era may be over, as shortages are likely to continue. Toyota will be slashing production of cars by 40% in the face of a continuing chip shortage. It may be another year – or two – before shortages in sectors from construction to medical testing to…  Read more

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