Tuesday, January 19, 2021

14.5 million vehicles were sold in the U.S. in 2020, a 14.8% decline from the previous year

Experts believe this was partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic decreasing demand for vehicles. Top 10 vehicles sold, according to CNBC and Forbes:

  1. Ford F-Series (down 12.2%)
  2. Chevrolet Silverado (up 3.2%)
  3. Ram Pickup (down 11%)
  4. Toyota RAV4 (down 3.9%)
  5. Honda CR-V (down 13.2%)
  6. Toyota Camry (down 12.7%)
  7. Chevrolet Equinox (down 21.7%)
  8. Honda Civic (down 19.8%)
  9. GMC Sierra (up 8.9%)
  10. Toyota Tacoma (down 4%)
  • The Ford F-Series was the top-selling vehicle in America for the 39th consecutive year.
  • The Toyota Tacoma and GMC Sierra were new additions to the list replacing the Toyota Corolla and Nissan Rogue.
  • Initial forecasts project new vehicle sales in 2021 will range from 15.5-16 million.



Now’s the time for rent negotiations

Commercial landlords are becoming increasingly more amenable to rent leniency and even reduced rates as failing businesses threaten a wave of closures that could leave them without tenants for months or even years. Retail shops, restaurants and office tenants are finding themselves in a stronger position to ask for concessions after being turned away at the start of the pandemic. One advisory firm, A&G Real Estate Partners, say its concessions from 77% of landlords through most of 2020, saving clients $1.7 billion after renegotiating lease terms. (The Wall Street Journal)


The case for a bright tech future

In large parts of the global economy, the past 10 years have been marked by disappointing growth. The innovations of the 2010s,  smartphones, social media, didn’t seem to accelerate productivity as anticipated. But several signs suggest we are on the cusp of a growth spurt. Biological advances that have led to the rapid development of several COVID-19 vaccines, renewed investment in R&D from the private and public sectors and the swift adoption of digital tools during the pandemic offer hope that a new innovation era is dawning. (The Economist)


Pandemic massively curbed emissions

The coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing measures to put a halt to it sent U.S. carbon emissions to record lows in 2020, according to early estimates by researchers. Emissions plummeted 10%, putting the U.S. on track to meet environmental targets but at a massive economic and social cost given the rapidity of the fall. American carbon emissions had been falling slowly but steadily since 2005 amid a shift away from coal, but a reduction in commuting and air travel, along with a slow down in heavy manufacturing during the pandemic, kicked the decline into high gear. (Rhodium Group)


Homebuilders face a hiring crisis

Strong demand and low interest rates have powered the residential housing market through the pandemic, but some firms say they’re facing a shortage of workers even though millions of people are unemployed. Bloomberg, citing the National Association of Home Builders, reports that builders’ main concern is labor, with 85% now saying they expect future cost and availability problems, compared to just 13% in 2011. The number of unfilled construction jobs has remained relatively steady throughout the pandemic, in large part because most of the jobs involve skilled labor, not entry-level roles, according to a trainer in the industry. (Bloomberg)


Bumpy outlook for business travel

Travel insiders are divided on whether the pandemic’s damage to business travel will be temporary or permanent, but some say it will linger for years. According to the U.S. Travel Association, domestic and international business travelers directly spent $334.2 billion in 2019, supporting 2.5 million jobs. In 2020, the forced shift to remote work hammered airlines and made travel-dependent sectors suffer. An “optimistic” forecast by Delta Airlines’ CEO calls for profitability this summer, even though roughly half of corporate customers surveyed expect business travel to return to 2019 levels by 2023. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)


China only big economy to see growth

China’s GDP rose by 2.3% for the whole of 2020, according to official data released, making it the only major global economy to grow during the coronavirus pandemic. Recovery was led by growth in demand for exports, with fourth quarter economic activity expanding 6.5% year-on-year, and the country got back to work after infections were largely controlled towards the end of the year. Yet, economists point out the country did not escape challenges, with domestic consumption falling 4% in 2020 and unemployment in urban areas at 5.2%. (CNN)


Naked Man Attacks Riders at NYC Station, Dies From Electrocution Amid Brawl

Subway service was suspended in Manhattan when police say a naked man attacked two people at a station before suffering from a fatal injury. Authorities say the naked man grabbed the third rail, electrocuting himself, after engaging with the victims on the tracks of a subway line. The suspect allegedly pushed the first victim onto the tracks in an unprovoked attack, police said as part of their initial report. When a witness lowered down onto the road bed to assist the victim, the naked man repeated his attacks, this time on the witness. It was during the scuffle with the second victim that the suspect died, police said. The latest conditions of the two victims was not immediately known. (NBC New York)


Police say Oregon man who stole a car with a child in the back seat came back and ‘lectured’ the mom about parenting

The police in Oregon are looking for a man who they say stole a car with a child in the back seat only to return the 4-year-old and reprimand the mom about her parenting. The theft took place outside a grocery store in Beaverton, Oregon, when the mom left the car running with the child in the back seat, local authorities said. The mother left the car unlocked and went inside to buy a gallon of milk and some meat. The thief happened to walk by and hopped in the car. He soon realized the 4-year-old was in the back seat and pulled back into the parking lot, returning the child to the mother, but not without scolding her, according to Beaverton, Oregon police. “He actually lectured the mother for leaving the child in the car and threatened to call the police on her,” a Beaverton police spokesman said. The thief ordered the mom to take the child before driving off in the car. “Obviously, we’re thankful he brought the little one back and had the decency to do that,” the spokesman said. (The Oregonian)


After 35 years, Alaska video store becomes one of last holdouts to close

A video store in Bethal, Alaska that held on for years longer than most of its contemporaries has succumbed to economic pressure and rolled the final credits on its 35-year story. Video World in Bethel closed January 10th, long after streaming services caused the collapse of most video tape rental chains and independent shops nationwide. The small business slowed to a halt during the coronavirus pandemic despite its continued will to survive in the Bethel Native Corporation building since opening in 1986. (Seattle Times)


Disneyland killed its annual pass program

In the 37 years since, the annual pass program has been expanded, modified and adjusted repeatedly, with various tiers and blocked-out days, as the attendance has soared and Walt Disney Co. has worked to continue the offering without hitting its capacity limit too often. Then, this week, it ended. Ten months after Disneyland and the adjacent Disney California Adventure Park closed because of the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic, Disney pulled the plug on the program. Executives promise there will be alternative offerings in the future, but they haven’t yet offered details. After the pandemic has eased enough for the Anaheim parks to reopen, theme park experts predict, the pass program will return in some form, with a fresh overhaul to address the park’s stubborn crowding problem and to maximize profit. People who paid for annual passes that lasted beyond the parks’ closure in March are to receive automatic refunds for the days the parks were shut. Holders of passes that were active after the parks closed will continue to receive food and beverage discounts at the Downtown Disney restaurant and shopping district adjacent to the Anaheim parks and at California Adventure’s Buena Vista Street. (Los Angeles Times)


Apple is considering launching a paid podcast subscription service

The service would charge users to access exclusive podcasts or listen to content ad-free, it may also be bundled with other paid Apple services, including Apple Music and Apple TV+. The move would be a response to Spotify’s significant acquisitions within the podcasting space and Amazon’s recent acquisition of Wondery. (The Information)


Woman held in police custody gives Vancouver Island jail 4.5-star review in thank-you card

A woman who was arrested and spent several days in police custody in Langford last week sent a homemade thank-you card to her jailers, and even positively reviewed the accommodations at the RCMP cells. The West Shore RCMP did confirm that she was arrested and spent “a number of days” in the police lockup. The card was sent to the RCMP detachment after the woman left police custody. The Mounties do not provide craft supplies to persons in custody at the Langford jail. The sender offered special gratitude to the four “jailors who do a tough job and are often under appreciated (sic) by the people in their care.” West Shore RCMP spokesperson said she could not think of another instance in which guards had received such a card from someone they arrested and held in custody. Included in the card was a four-and-a-half-star review of the Langford jail facilities. The front of the homemade card bears the message: “If, for some reason, our airplane was experiencing problems, I would help you with your oxygen mask before adjusting mine.” (CTV News)


Tuesday Slashed Back With:

  • Popcorn Day
  • Tin Can Day
  • World Day of Migrants and Refugee
  • World Quark Day

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