May 14, 2021

US EMPLOYERS INCREASING WAGES TO ATTRACT WORKERS

  • Employers in the US are increasing wages to attract workers:
    • McDonalds announced that it will increase hourly wages in the US by 10%, bringing the average wage to more than $13/hour
    • Chipotle Mexican Grill increased wages to $18/hour from $11
    • Target raised wages to $15/hour
    • Costco increased wages to $16/hour
    • Amazon increased wages in Canada and the US to $17/hour

CRYPTOCURRENCY AND HACKING

  • Colonial Pipeline reportedly paid a ransom in bitcoin of $5,000,000 after a cyberattack shut down the pipeline for most of this week.
    • The ‘dark’ website which received the payment is no longer accessible
  • Ireland’s Health Service shut down their computer systems amid a “significant” cyberattack.
    • Caused cancellation of appointments at various facilities including a maternity hospital
  • Elon Musk announced that Tesla will NOT be accepting bitcoin as a method of payment for its’ vehicles.
    • Reason provided was the environmental impact of bitcoin mining
    • Speculation is that there are accounting and SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) questions regarding the booking of sales and profits in bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency

US INFRASTRUCTURE

  • A traffic jam on the Mississippi River near Memphis, TN swelled to 771 barges on Thursday due to a significant crack in a 48-year-old bridge which closed the waterway. Expected to reopen next week.
    • Both the bridge and Mississippi river are crucial for crop exports
  • Every river-barge taken out of the supply chain adds 70 tractor-trailers to roadways.
  • 1/3 of all US bridges require major repair work or replacement with more than 46,000 rated in poor condition (American Road and Transportation Builders Association).

COVID VACCINATION PROGRESS

  • Centre for Disease Control says that ‘fully vaccinated’ Americans no longer need to wear masks in most settings, even indoors or in large groups.
    • Guidance is designed to encourage Americans to get vaccinated
    • 1/3 of Americans are now fully vaccinated
  • Ohio Governor offered a $1,000,000 prize draw for citizens who get fully vaccinated.
  • Over 25% of EU adults would be unlikely to take a COVID vaccine when it is offered.