10 business news to be thankful for – the Mercury News

It is the season of thanks for a bountiful harvest.

The coronavirus and its variants have made 2021 a difficult year in many ways for many people, especially economically. Yet many business models have charted a course to be thankful for, even if you haven’t been fortunate enough to be helped by some or all of these moves.

In the spirit of holiday gratitude, I offer my appreciation of 10 trends in the business world we’ve witnessed since our last traditional turkey meal – without noting the puzzles, complications, consequences or controversies associated with those fluctuations.

More jobs

California bosses have added 811,000 workers in the past year as the economic stranglehold of the pandemic has been reduced.

The big winners have been re-hired leisure and hospitality workers as the fun business has seen a modest return to normal.

Other industries with large increases in personnel were business services, education and health, and transportation.

Salary increases

Bosses rushed to staff their companies and the competition for talent in many industries became fierce.

As a result, paychecks have gone up – and in some cases, by a significant amount.

Wages and salaries in Southern California rose at an annual rate of 6.5% in the 12 months ended September, down from 3.1% a year earlier, according to a federal wage index.

In the Bay Area, the same index showed gains of 3.3%, down from 4% a year earlier.

Cheap money

Mortgage rates are a bit higher for Thanksgiving, averaging 3.1% compared to 2.8% a year ago.

But anyone with even a few gray hairs knows that 3.1% is a steal.

The use of historically low interest rates to keep the economy buoyant during the pandemic period has benefited many consumers and businesses, especially those who own or wish to own real estate.

No more home purchases

California’s pace of home purchases will peak after the Great Recession this year.

This is because many of the challenges created by the coronavirus have caused many households to become homeowners.

Cramped housing – multiplied by the number of people in a household who worked or studied at home – made housing upgrades a necessity.

And these cheap mortgages have certainly helped ease the pain of rapidly rising prices.

Increased stocks

Those with the nerve to invest on Wall Street have been paid well for their risk taking.

I’ll just note the 35% gain for the year in the Nasdaq Stock Index – a tech-laden benchmark filled with many corporate California success stories.

This strong appreciation has not only given many households more money to spend – further boosting the economy and business results – it’s one of the main reasons why the state government has another huge surplus.

Stock winners typically pay capital gains taxes.

Work at home

In October, 11.6% of American workers were working from home due to pandemic-related issues, according to government statistics.

Yes, that’s half of peak remote working levels at the end of 2020 – but it’s still high enough to reveal noticeable flexibility in the workplace.

Love it or hate it, remote working has allowed the economy to grow in difficult times. And it is a tool that offers employers and workers many options for the future.

Popular parks

The respite hotspot of the year wasn’t a glitzy resort or a new twist at a theme park.

Rather, it was Mother Nature. For example, attendance at national parks climbed 23% during the year. Yosemite? Up 46%. Death Valley? Up 44%. The tree of Joshua? Up 34%.

A vast open space has become the must-have relief from the crowded life of the pandemic era – whether it’s a stroll through a local green belt, a camping trip, or visiting a slice of the landscape. historical.

Delights of delivery

If you weren’t comfortable shopping in stores or dining in a restaurant, there were a large number of companies that would bring the products you needed to your home.

Not only did the delivery ease some of the stresses in life, it also helped people find products that were in short supply.

And on top of that, it created new employers and jobs, with 721,000 Californians in transportation and warehouses in October.

That has increased by 39,000 in the era of the pandemic – rare to see industries with more jobs since the coronavirus hit.

EV Selling Spark

Sales of electric vehicles in California are two-thirds higher than before the 2019 pandemic.

Main reason why: Gasoline is above $ 4.50 per gallon in most of California.

Wild swings in energy demand and production linked to the pandemic have forced crude oil prices to seven-year highs. Refiners passed on the cost of the main ingredient in gasoline – and drivers now face severe pain at the pump.

Well, unless your vehicle is powered differently. Like mine.

Rapid drug manufacturing

Vaccines have been created at record speed that dramatically reduces the risk of serious illness or death from coronavirus.

The treatment was available nationwide – free of charge, thanks to government largesse.

And, thankfully, this science has saved the lives of about a quarter of a million Americans.

Jonathan Lansner is an economics columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be contacted at [email protected]


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