There’s a famous (though probably apocryphal) Chinese curse that is frequently cited when the world becomes unstable and chaotic: “May you live in interesting times.”
Donald Trump, whether he likes it or not, has become president at a very interesting time in history. Only months after taking office, he faces a world rife with potential problems, any one of which could potentially erupt into a full-blown crisis. Continue reading “Foreign Policy Challenges To Test President Trump”
Tech companies are eyeing a huge new market: The next billion customers coming online for the first time by 2022, mainly in India, China, Indonesia, parts of Africa and other developing regions.
Falling costs and improving technology are making it possible. Low-cost smartphones, running $100 or less, make mobile broadband far more accessible to consumers with little income. Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei, Xiaomi and ZTE are flooding the market with cheap but capable handsets, almost all of them running Google’s Android operating system. Plus, steady advances in wireless radio antennas and other telecom equipment make it cheaper and easier to build mobile networks with faster speeds, more coverage and lower data prices. Continue reading “Who Profits from the Next Billion Internet Users?”
The odds of repealing and replacing Obamacare look even worse after House Republicans couldn’t unite around replacement legislation and the bill had to be pulled before today’s vote.
The failure represents a major setback for President Trump and for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Continue reading “What’s Next For Health Care, Trump’s Agenda?”
The threat of terrorism in Europe is far from over. That much was clear after the recent attack in London that killed four people, injured dozens and jolted the United Kingdom as the country prepared for negotiations to exit the European Union.
This was the latest in a string of attacks in Europe over the last two years, many of them committed by “lone-wolf” assailants: Those who have been radicalized by online propaganda from groups such as the Islamic State, but aren’t actually affiliated with them. Continue reading “The Terror Attack in London”
Now that the Fed has raised the effective federal funds rate a quarter of a percentage point to 0.9%, and indicated its intention to raise twice more this year, the effects will ripple out to most borrowing rates, but only to some savings rates.
The bank prime rate, which is the short-term borrowing rate available to the most credit-worthy customers, has already fully adjusted. The prime rate usually rises within one day of a Fed hike. Ditto for home equity lines of credit, which are tied to the prime rate. Continue reading “What Now for Borrowers and Savers After the Fed Move?”
Gasoline prices are behaving themselves right now. But if you’re planning a spring or summer road trip, you should budget for higher prices at the pump. Continue reading “Gasoline Prices To Trend Higher This Spring”
For much of 2017, oil markets had seemed abnormally calm. Sure, prices gyrated up and down every trading day. But the moves were never very substantial. Between Jan. 18 and last Wednesday, benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude never closed lower than $51.08 per barrel, and never higher than $54.45 per barrel. Then, in a span of a few days last week, WTI dropped to about $48 per barrel.
What happened? And what happens next? Continue reading “What’s Next for Oil Prices After Last Week’s Tumble?”
While labor shortages have been most severe for technology and health care businesses, they are cropping up in more and more industries, now that the U.S. unemployment rate has fallen. A recent survey of small businesses found that half of them can’t find enough qualified job applicants. The question: What can businesses do to make sure they have the workers they need? The answer, human resources professionals say, comes down to a three-part strategy: Recruit, retain and train.
With good workers increasingly scarce, employers are having to get creative about recruiting. A job ad posted on the company website might not cut it anymore. Companies may need to hire recruiters in order to find the social media websites or career niche websites where folks with desired skills tend to hang out. Recruiters can make sure that want ads are mobile-friendly for the millennials who never use desktop PCs, for example. They can arrange for quick interviews using Skype or Facetime. Some also offer applicant tracking systems. Continue reading “Finding and Keeping the Workers You Need”
As is the case with most presidents, Donald Trump’s first budget proposal is already “dead on arrival” in Congress, with Democrats and many Republicans opposed to his plan – though for different reasons – to finance an increase in defense spending with steep cuts to several federal agencies.
And with the parties at odds over how and where to spend taxpayer money, expect another year in which Congress fails to pass a budget. Continue reading “Will GOP Sink Trump’s Budget?”
Labor shortages are starting to weigh on businesses in many industries across the U.S., as this week’s Kiplinger Letter documents. (Click here to get the first page of this week’s Letter.) A recent survey of small businesses found that 30% of them have had to increase pay during the last three to six months to find or retain enough workers. That’s the highest level since 2001. About half of small businesses say they can’t get enough qualified job applicants. And the shortages span the pay scale across different industries: Everyone from carpenters to cooks to computer programmers.
One business that is no stranger to the problem: Trucking. Fleet owners have been grappling with a dearth of qualified, licensed truck drivers for years. Veteran drivers are reaching retirement age without enough young recruits joining the industry to take their places. That forces fleets to pony up higher salaries, bigger bonuses and richer benefits to attract or retain drivers. And since labor is the industry’s biggest cost, the competition for drivers points to rising freight rates for shippers this year. Continue reading “A Shortage of Truckers Will Drive Up Freight Rates”