Holiday season

Mass retailers had a good holiday season, compared to last year

COMPANY

Confidence hit a low in Mass. in December

Business confidence continued to slide in Massachusetts last month, hitting a 10-month low amid a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases and supply chain disruptions. The Massachusetts Associated Industries Business Confidence Index fell to 56.7 in December, down 1.2 points from November. The index is still above 50, which means the mood remains more optimistic than negative, but it has been falling for five consecutive months. AIM said its members’ confidence had been shaken by the evolving public health crisis, inflation and an ongoing labor shortage. — JON CHESTO

INSURANCE

Bad weather caused $280 billion in damage last year

Damage from Hurricane Ida in Louisiana and flash flooding that hit Europe last summer helped make 2021 one of the costliest years for natural disasters, the reinsurance company said Monday. Munich Re. The company’s annual report puts overall economic losses from natural disasters worldwide last year at $280 billion, making it the fourth costliest after 2011, the year an earthquake and a massive tsunami hit Japan. Insured losses in 2021 amounted to $120 billion, the second highest after 2017, when hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria hit the Americas, according to Munich Re. More than a third of those insured losses the year last were caused by Ida ($36 billion) and floods in western Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands ($13 billion). — ASSOCIATED PRESS

AVIATION

Air France-KLM will charge more to pay for sustainable fuel

Air France-KLM will apply a surcharge to its ticket prices to help finance the additional cost of using sustainable aviation fuel, going beyond the voluntary measures that have prevailed in the industry so far. The move will add between $1.10 and $13.60 (1 and 12 euros) to the cost of a flight depending on the distance flown and the class, according to a statement on Monday, the first day that additional costs will arise. will apply. Airlines are turning to SAF to reduce their carbon footprint in the decade or more before hybrid, electric and hydrogen-powered airliners become widely available. At the same time, fuel, which requires raw materials such as algae and cooking oil or synthetic processing methods, remains scarce. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

WORKPLACE

American workers want good money, benefits. French? Interesting work

What do workers really want in a job? The answer partly depends on where they come from, according to a global survey by management consultant Bain & Co. Americans and Japanese demand good pay and benefits above all else, but the French, who want meaningful work, pay less. Brazilian and Nigerian workers seek learning opportunities, while those from Indonesia appreciate a good relationship with their colleagues. Chinese job seekers are looking for a company that inspires them, and Germans yearn for job security. The findings, compiled from 20,000 workers in 10 countries, come at a time when Americans are quitting their jobs at a record rate, and employers around the world are grappling with the pandemic’s disruption of long-standing norms regarding when, where and how the work takes place. . — BLOOMBERG NEWS

IMMOVABLE

Investors drive up single-family home prices

Single-family homeowners eager to take advantage of soaring US rents have stepped up their home purchases. According to analysis by Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, investor trades – including a smaller portion of pinball machines – helped push prices up more than 20% on average, crowding out normal buyers. Investors accounted for 26% of single-family home purchases in the third quarter, up from 15% a year earlier, according to the study. Cities with the largest increases in investor purchases – Atlanta; Jacksonville, Florida; Phoenix; Charlotte, North Carolina and Las Vegas — also saw some of the biggest price gains, said Zandi, whose analysis included data from CoreLogic. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

CRYPTOCURRENCY

Bitcoin got off to a bad start this year

Bitcoin fell for the fifth time in six days, putting it on pace for its worst start to a year since the digital alternative to cash’s early days. The original cryptocurrency fell 3.7% before closing at $41,050. The drop is the biggest for a start to the year since at least 2012. Ether fell slightly, while the Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index fell for a fourth day. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

FURNITURE

Ikea will penalize unvaccinated workers

Ikea has imposed a financial penalty on UK employees who fail to get their COVID-19 vaccine and miss work because they have to self-isolate. Furniture retailer reduces sick pay for staff who cannot work due to close contact with an infected person to 96.35 pounds ($131) per week during the required 10-day isolation period – less than a quarter of the average pre-tax weekly wage, The Guardian newspaper reported on Monday. Ikea said it could not comment immediately. The furniture retailer, which has 10,000 employees in the UK, is following in the footsteps of other big retailers like Walmart in the US. and British grocer Wm Morrison Supermarkets Ltd. to put pressure on staff who refuse to be vaccinated without a valid reason. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

INTERNATIONAL

Chinese tutoring company lays off 60,000 people in government crackdown

New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. has laid off tens of thousands of staff, the biggest layoffs announced since China embarked on a sweeping crackdown on private companies more than a year ago. Yu Minhong, founder and chairman of the Chinese tutoring giant, revealed in a post on WeChat over the weekend that the company laid off 60,000 workers in 2021 and saw revenue drop 80% after ending all services K-9 tutoring program following Beijing’s $100 billion overhaul. post-school education sector last July. Even after the cuts, the company still has about 50,000 employees and teachers, Yu said in a separate post Monday. The revelation underscores the widespread disruption caused by Beijing’s unprecedented decision last summer to ban profiteering across swathes of the after-school education industry – upending a market estimated at $100 billion at its peak. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


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