‘The season to be thankful for a bountiful harvest.
Coronavirus and its variants have made 2021 a difficult year in many ways for many, especially those who are financially speaking. Yet many business patterns set a course for being grateful—even if you’re not lucky enough to find help from one or all of these tricks.
In the spirit of holiday gratitude, I applaud 10 trends in the commercial world we’ve seen since our last traditional turkey meal — regardless of the puzzles, complications, consequences, or controversies associated with these swings.
California owners added 811,000 workers over the past year as the economic throttle of the pandemic eased.
The big winners were leisure and hospitality workers were rehired as the fun business made a modest return to normal.
Other industries with large workforce growth were business services, education, and health and transportation.
Owners scramble to restart their businesses and competition for talent has heated up in many industries.
As a result, paychecks rose—and in some cases, by a large amount.
Southern California wages and salaries grew at a 6.5% annual rate in the 12 months ended September, up from 3.1% a year earlier, according to a federal wage index.
In the Bay Area, the same index showed a 3.3% gain — down from 4% a year ago.
Mortgage rates are slightly higher this Thanksgiving — an average of 3.1% versus 2.8% a year ago.
But anyone who has even had some gray hair knows that 3.1% is a big deal.
Many consumers and corporations have benefited from the use of historically low interest rates to keep the economy flowing during the pandemic – especially those who own, or want to own, real estate.
buy more homes
California’s pace of home purchases will hit a post-Great Recession high this year.
This is because the many challenges created by the coronavirus have prompted a lot of households to become homeowners.
Tight living quarters—multiplied by how many were working or schooled at home—made a housing upgrade a necessity.
And those cheap mortgages certainly helped ease the pain of rapidly rising prices.
Those who dared to invest on Wall Street were well paid for their risk taking.
I’ll focus only on the year’s 35% gain in the Nasdaq stock index — a technology-based benchmark filled with many success stories from corporate California.
That sharp appreciation not only gave many families extra cash to spend – further boosting the economy and company’s bottom lines – it’s also a major reason the state government has another huge surplus.
Stock winners typically pay capital gains tax.
working from home
In October, 11.6% of US workers worked from home because of issues related to the pandemic, government figures show.
Yes, that’s half the peak level of remote work at the end of 2020 – but it’s still enough to reveal remarkable flexibility in the workplace.
Love it or hate it, remote working allowed the economy to thrive in challenging times. And it’s a tool that gives both boss and worker bees many options for the future.
The year’s hottest spot for respite was no new twist at a luxurious resort or theme park.
Rather it was Mother Nature. For example, national park attendance grew 23% year over year. Yosemite? up 46%. Death plaintiff? up 44%. Joshua Tree? up 34%.
The vast open space became a necessary respite to the crowded life of the pandemic era – whether it was a walk in the local greenbelt, a camping trip or visiting a historic piece of landscape.
If you weren’t comfortable shopping in stores or dining out at a restaurant, there was an ample supply of businesses that would bring everything you needed right to your home.
Delivery not only eased some of life’s stresses, it also helped people find goods in short supply.
And at the same time, it created new employers and jobs, with 721,000 Californians in transportation and warehouse jobs in October.
It is rare to see industries with more jobs since the coronavirus hit – up to 39,000 during the pandemic.
spark EV sales
Electric vehicle sales in California are up two-thirds compared to before 2019.
Major reason why: Gasoline is upwards of $4.50 per gallon in most of California.
Wild, pandemic-related swings in energy demand and production pushed crude oil prices to a seven-year high. Refiners passed with the price of gasoline—the main ingredient—and drivers now face severe pain at the pumps.
Well, unless your ride is powered differently. like me.
Vaccines were created at record speeds that dramatically reduce the risk of serious illness or death from the coronavirus.
The treatment was available to everyone nationwide – for free, thanks to government generosity.
And, thankfully, this science saved the lives of an estimated 1.25 million Americans.
Jonathan Lancer is business columnist for Southern California Newsgroup. He can be contacted at [email protected]