43% of tech workers fear losing their jobs due to age
According to a survey from Indeed.com
Nearly half of workers in the technology field fear losing their jobs because of their age, according to survey from Indeed.com. 18% of respondents "worry about it all the time."
Wal-Mart employees walk past a sign in the lobby at the Walmart.com office in California. (Photo: Jeff Chiu / AP)
Walmart is nearing a deal with Lord & Taylor, which would give the department store a dedicated space on Walmart.com, reports the Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed source who says that the move "would be the first step in creating an online mall that shoppers could access from Walmart's website."
Why it matters: Walmart has swiftly grown its online business in recent quarters, and has convinced investors that the firm has the will and the way to take on Amazon in the battle to dominate American e-commerce. Traditional retailers like Lord & Taylor have taken notice, and now see Walmart as a potential distribution partner in a world where customers are eschewing the shopping mall for the online retail experience.
Boxed's Union City warehouse. Photo: Christopher Matthews / Axios
UNION CITY, NJ — Visit Boxed headquarters, and you'll find lighthearted employees working right alongside an automated picking machine that retrieves items without human help, two miles of conveyor belts that move items faster than people can, and other robotic devices. The online retailer, a competitor of Costco and Sam's Club, has attracted years of fawning publicity for carrying out all this automation at its warehouses without laying off a single employee. Plus, it is even raising salaries.
The cruel twist: Boxed is already shrinking the number of added workers required for expansion — one executive said that to triple business at the warehouse, he'll only need to hire 33% more labor. That aligns with an axiom of automation — that jobs offering the best chance of rising pay are usually in industries that are growing and adding labor-saving technologies at the same time, before the number of jobs eventually declines.
What the data say: In a study published in June, MIT economist David Autor looked at 19 countries over 35 years, and showed that automation doesn't kill overall employment, but reduces jobs within automating sectors.
But it's more complicated, too: Autor tells Axios that automation can only tell part of the story of the decline of American manufacturing employment. Trade plays a huge role in the plunge of manufacturing jobs, he says, with China's 2001 accession to the WTO a major factor in convincing American employers to move jobs there. "Although the predominant force that has slowly eroded manufacturing employment in the post-WWII era is productivity growth, that's not the right story for the 2000s," he writes in an email.
Customers enter Nordstrom's downtown Seattle location. Photo: Ted S. Warren / AP
Though the S&P 500 was in the black on Monday, stocks of retail companies fell broadly, with shares of Nordstrom, Sears, and cosmetics vendor Ulta all losing favor with investors during trading hours.
A Dollar Tree in California. Photo: Lenny Ignelzi / AP
Bloomberg looked at the rise of dollar stores across rural America, which are replacing the mom-and-pop grocery stores of old and entering communities where big-box retailers like Walmart don't see an opportunity for profit.
Why it matters: The biggest dollar store chains like Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar all tend to operate in poorer, older, less-educated towns where residents are more likely to receive some sort of federal assistance. Their stores often are one of the only food options for rural residents who would otherwise have to travel miles to a supermarket.
Dollar General is implementing a $22 billion plan to open 1,000 new stores in poor, rural communities, across the U.S., calling the firm's yellow-and-black logo "the small-town corollary to Starbucks' two-tailed green mermaid."
Packages at an Amazon fulfillment center. Photo: Ross D. Franklin / AP
Amazon has contracted the largest sportswear manufacturers to produce for its own private-label brand of activewear, Bloomberg reports.
Why it matters: The news sent shares in Lululemon, Under Armour, and Nike tumbling in late trading Friday, though Nike stock recovered by day's end. Analysts say that Amazon's move is intended in part to create leverage in its negotiations with suppliers like Nike — which recently reversed a longstanding policy not to distribute directly through Amazon — and to fill gaps in inventory when competitor-suppliers like Nike are not offering what customers are looking for.
The Google logo is seen at the Vivatech, a gadgets show in Paris, France in June. (Photo: Thibault Camus / AP)
Several key roboticists have departed Google in recent months, an indication of the firm's failure to make good on several high-profile investments in the sector made back in 2013, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.
Why it matters: Rosanna Myer, CEO of the startup Carbon Robotics, told Businessweek that Google's acquisitions of companies like Boston Dynamics and Redwood Robotics "held the industry back more than moving it forward," by failing to materially advance or commercialize their inventions. Jeremy Conrad, a partner at hardware incubator Lemnos Labs voices similar complaints. "These were some of the most exciting robotics companies," he says "and they're just gone."
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios
For generations, the Republican Party has pitched the cure of tax cuts for whatever ails the American economy, and 2017 is no different. In an era of unprecedented disunity within the GOP, the only thing the White House and Congress can seem to agree on is taxes. As President Trump puts it, "Our country and our economy cannot take off like they should unless we dramatically reform America's outdated, complex, and extremely burdensome tax code."
What history says: If tax cuts are what the country needs to generate plentiful jobs and higher wages, it's reasonable to wonder why they didn't have that result when George W. Bush used the same approach in the early 2000s, or in several similar efforts going back to Ronald Reagan. Neither did the cuts arrest troubling trends like expanding income inequality, middling wage growth, and the rising costs of housing, education and health care.
Behind the theory: Advocates link tax cuts with economic growth, calling their approach "supply-side economics," whose most famous proponent is Arthur Laffer, a Reagan administration economist. They argue that higher tax rates convince valuable workers not to put in extra hours, and companies not to invest in new projects and equipment.
two Wal-Mart employees walk past a sign in the lobby at the Walmart.com office in California. (Photo: Jeff Chiu / AP)
Walmart stock rose roughly 4.5% on Tuesday morning, following an investor-day presentation in which it estimated that its e-commerce sales would grow by 40% in the fiscal year ending January 2019, while maintaining its current pace of profit growth.
Why it matters: The failure of traditional retailers to shift their businesses from the storefront online, without significantly shrinking profit margins, has crushed the stocks of well-known companies like Foot Locker, Macy's and Target in 2017. But Walmart has emerged as one Amazon competitor that is more gracefully transitioning to a world of e-commerce.
What Walmart has done right: Cowen analyst Oliver Chen writes in a note to clients that Walmart is:
An Amazon worker picks items for shipment. (Photo: Ross D. Franklin / AP)
Nearly half of retailers in the United States, Europe, and Japan have been forced to cut their prices in the face of online-only competition, according to a survey of retail executives by Applied Predictive Technologies.
Why it matters: It's more evidence explaining why investors have lost confidence in most major retailers outside of Amazon in recent months.
For context: Stocks in 14 out of 29 companies in the S&P 500 retailing industry group have fallen in value this year, a time when more than 70% of stocks in the S&P 500 overall have risen in value, according to S&P Capital IQ. Investors fear these companies' inability to raise prices without also losing market share to the likes of Amazon.