Basis Points – July 20, 2021

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Above the Fold

As the World Gets Back to Work, Another Strange Thing Is Happening in the Labor Market …

You may have seen the viral image posted last week after the entire staff at Burger King in Lincoln, Nebraska, quit their jobs and announced the collective walkout on the company’s own street sign. The workers left because their store was understaffed, overly-busy and workers felt upper management was doing little to help ease the strain. 

But this highly publicized event echoes the anxiety that many workers and consumers are facing across the country as understaffed businesses struggle to keep up with high demand. For those who choose to stay, conditions can be stressful, but a growing number of workers are simply choosing to walk away. NBC News reports that a record number of employees nationwide are leaving high-pressure jobs to find a better work-life balance. And these changes are not just happening at the white-collar level, but across the income spectrum. 

So while a strong American labor market spells good news for those looking to improve their work environment, it could mean that lower-paying, typically demanding jobs, like food service, retail and general labor, could go unfilled. These trends are likely to put a strain on shopping and dining experiences in some areas, and may add to already lagging goods production, construction and home-building trends. In response, we could see increases in wages and/or sweeping changes in the typical work environment in an effort to lure more workers. 


Three Things 

  1. Zoom Parlay’s Remote Work Windfall – Still riding high from a pandemic-driven push for digital interactions, Zoom will spend $14.7 billion of its stock to purchase cloud-software provider Five9 Inc. As the largest deal to date for Zoom, it’s hoping the acquisition will allow it to expand product offerings, specifically in its Zoom phone service, which replaces traditional office phone systems with its own proprietary cloud-based system.
  2. A Never-Dark iPhone? – With Apple’s lucky-number 13 iPhone expected to release in September, the rumor mill has been churning heavily. Most Apple-watchers don’t see too many dramatic changes over last year’s lineup, but reports are pointing to faster processors, camera improvements and even the return of the fingerprint sensor. One unique feature reported by Bloomberg would be an “always on” display that displays time, date and a few other elements at a lower-brightness setting. Let’s just hope this doesn’t have too big of an impact on battery life. 
  3. China Commodity “Dump List” Having Minimal Impact on Prices – The world’s largest importer of commodities continues to auction state stockpiles of metals such as aluminum, zinc and copper. But even as the nation sends more raw materials into the marketplace, the added supply is having little effect. A type of coal, called “coking coal,” which powers factories, is near its highest levels in the decade, as is steel. They are additional commodity markets that China has been working to moderate. Experts blame global demand and speculators on the still stubbornly high prices. 

Did You Know? 

Stepping Up Our Savings

​​Ironically, the effects of the pandemic have improved Americans’ savings rate overall, but the average consumer still has some work to do in order to improve our financial health. At the end of 2020, 56% of Americans had $5,000 or less in savings, while a third had less than $1,000. The Federal Reserve also reported that roughly 39% of Americans didn’t have enough cash on hand to cover a $400 emergency. And while it’s easy to assume that a six-figure income spells wealth, a Willis Towers Watson study found more than 18% of those earning over $100,000 were living paycheck to paycheck; and almost 60% of consumers overall were living check to check just before the pandemic struck.

The information contained herein represents the views of Westwood Wealth Management at a specific point in time and is based on information believed to be reliable. No representation or warranty is made concerning the accuracy or completeness of any data compiled herein. Any statements non-factual in nature constitute only current opinion, which is subject to change. Any statements concerning financial market trends are based on current market conditions, which will fluctuate. Past performance is not indicative of future results. All information provided herein is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as, an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell or otherwise invest in any of the securities/sectors/countries that may be mentioned.