What’s Up? (Jan. 2-8)
Employers: Shifting Guidance
As workers tested positive for Covid-19, workers were called in sick and businesses faced increased staff shortages. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provided shifting guidance on what workers should do to ensure their safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention affirmed its guidance Tuesday that Americans who are positive for coronavirus may be allowed to end isolation after five consecutive days, provided they do not receive a negative test. Some public health experts have criticized the absence of a testing requirement. The agency was widely expected to include testing in its guidelines. Walmart told workers Tuesday that it would reduce the paid time off for workers who contract a virus to one week from two. The Supreme Court heard arguments about the legality and constitutionality of two rules issued by the Biden administration. One requires large private businesses that workers be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing, while the other requires that some health care workers be vaccinated. Macy’s requested the vaccination status of its employees last week, while Starbucks set a Feb. 9 deadline for its U.S. workers to be fully vaccinated and Citigroup said it would dismiss unvaccinated employees by the end of the month.
Stabilization of Job Growth
Employers still have difficulty finding workers. According to Friday’s Labor Department report, the U.S. economy added 199,000 jobs in Dec, compared to 249,000 in November. It was the lowest job growth of the year, even if the Omicron variant coronavirus presented a threat to the economy. The problem appears to be that there is more demand than there are available workers. The unemployment rate in December fell to 3.9 percent from 4.2 percent, while average hourly earnings rose 4.7 percent over the year — a sign that companies are struggling to attract and retain workers. Tuesday’s data showed that Americans were more likely to quit their jobs in November than any other month.
Guilty Verdict in Elizabeth Holmes Case
After a lengthy trial that lasted for more than three months and seven consecutive days of deliberations on Monday, the jury in Elizabeth Holmes case convicted the founder of Theranos on four of the 11 charges of fraud. Each count carries an maximum sentence of 20 year imprisonment, and terms that are likely be served concurrently. The case raised questions about Silicon Valley’s “fake it until you make it” culture and set off a debate about whether Ms. Holmes’s behavior reflects anything other than one entrepreneur’s false and misleading actions. Ms. Holmes is likely appeal and a sentencing date will be set for this week.
What’s Next? (Jan. 9-15)
Awards Season Fizzles
This week’s entertainment industry awards season will be less competitive in 2022. The Critics Choice Awards originally scheduled for Sunday have been delayed indefinitely due to concerns about coronavirus. After questions were raised about financial missteps and the lack of diversity in the group that gives out the awards, the Golden Globes, which are also scheduled for Sunday, will be held without an audience or a Red Carpet. The Grammy Awards, originally scheduled to take place on Jan. 31, were postponed. The Palm Springs International Film Festival, which was scheduled to run this week, was canceled. The Sundance Film Festival will be held online only at the end January. Although plans for an Academy Awards in-person ceremony on March 27 are unchanged, very few people have seen the films most likely to win Oscars.
A Measure of Inflation
On Wednesday, the Department of Labor reports on how much December’s prices rose. The Consumer Price Index, a key measure of inflation, rose in November at the fastest pace in almost 40 years. Central banks around the globe have started to cool the economy. Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s December meeting released last week suggested that it may withdraw support for the economy more quickly than previously expected.
Fed Confirmation Hearings
The Senate will hold separate confirmation hearings this week for both Jerome H. Powell, who was nominated by President Biden for a second term as Federal Reserve chairman, and Lael Brainard, Mr. Biden’s nominee for deputy chair. Though some progressive Democrats, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, have said they will oppose Mr. Biden’s renomination of Mr. Powell, both Democrats and Republicans have expressed support for the appointment, which was widely seen as a signal of consistency. Mr. Powell will likely be questioned about the controversy surrounding Richard H. Clarida’s financial transaction. Mr. Clarida bought shares of an investment fund that held stocks one day before it announced that the Fed would rescue markets that were plunged at the start the pandemic.
What’s the Rest?
BlackBerry models that use the company’s operating systems stopped working on Tuesday, ending an era for the once-ubiquitous device. Apple’s market capitalization briefly hit $3 trillion for the first time. Despite warnings from C.D.C, cruises continued to cruise despite these warnings. Airlines continued to cancel thousands more flights each day.
Source: NY Times