With 54% of small businesses expecting to earn less in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to the same period last year, seasonal hiring has taken a hit. Only 7% of small business employers plan to hire additional staff this year. Last year, 36% hired new employees and only 29% say they have fully recovered from the pandemic.
Other reasons given for the decline in employment include higher labor costs and fear of a recession. This has led some retailers (43%) to reduce the amount of new inventory they will bring in.
Nationally, restaurants are also not hiring for the season as strongly as last year. In 2021, 56% of independent restaurants hired additional holiday help. In 2022, this number has been reduced to 17%.
Kroger wants to buy Albertson: The grocery chain that took over Fred Meyer in 1998 – Kroger – is set to buy its only big competitor in Oregon – Albertson, which since 2015 includes Safeway. This means that some stores that might seem redundant will close.
Kroger is looking at a purchase price of $24.6 billion with the benefit of generating annual revenue of about $200 billion from nearly 5,000 stores, or 13% of the total US grocery market. The goal is to create a stronger combined force against Walmart and Amazon, but that can’t happen until the Federal Trade Commission, lawmakers, and several states get their two-cent contribution to the deal. .
To date, Washington State has joined Illinois, California and DC in opposing the payment of a $4 billion dividend to Albertson shareholders, which would officially give the kick off the merger or, alternatively, would put the grocery chain in immediate bankruptcy. The states and DC say the deal would create new food deserts across the United States — on top of rising unemployment and rising food prices.
Other groups that want to have a say are the grocers’ unions. Jhe United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), representing grocers at Albertsons and Kroger stores in Oregon, said “the proposed merger between Kroger and Albertsons has serious implications for hundreds of thousands of our UFCW members.” They added that the union “will oppose any merger that threatens the jobs of America’s essential workers, union and non-union, and undermines our communities.”
Beyond the workers you see daily in stores, Oregon-based management and warehouse workers would likely also see a large number of job losses.
While Kroger says they will invest $500 million in savings for customers, they also say $1.3 billion will be invested to improve the customer experience. However, a study by Princeton University in 2008 showed that in four out of five horizontal mergers like this, prices rose between 3% and 7%. Add to that the 11% increase in food prices since this time last year, and the likelihood of people not being able to afford food continues to grow.
New money in town: Recently, a committee proposed changes to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) – the body that governs the specific details of commercial transactions in the United States – to include certain types of “electronic money”.
The committee, which was made up of members from the Uniform Law Commission and the American Law Institute, was tasked with incorporating the cryptocurrency “as collateral-backed financing” into the UCC. The new rules are “recommended for enactment in all states,” but each state will be responsible for how to move forward with it.
The final version of the rules speaks of “verifiable electronic records” which covers blockchain-backed assets – i.e. cryptocurrencies – as well as future types of digital assets and includes non-fungible tokens. (NFT). These assets are recognized in the separate category called “e-money”.
2022 has seen the general acceptance of digital assets in American culture. Oregon was one of 13 states, districts, and territories in the United States to have no legislation regarding the acceptance of cryptocurrency as a valuable commodity for businesses in 2022.
2023 business strategies: There are many views on what to expect in 2023 in the business world. With the International Monetary Fund predicting that the global economy is likely to slow and living conditions will worsen for many people around the world, the question to ask is how strong is your business and means this downturn in the economy. for you.
After more than two years of pandemic, 2022 brought the world a war between Russia and Ukraine, an economic slowdown in China and inflation. Still, according to Fannie Mae, the United States is still expected to see overall economic growth of 1%, in part because the forecast for third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) is higher than expected at 2.3%. This better than expected GDP should be tempered by a negative annualized rate at the end of the fourth quarter due to the slowdown in the housing markets and the increase in inflation which could be brought under control by this impending recession that everyone has been waiting for.
What to do?
Prioritize the space where your business has its highest market share if possible. Sounds like simple advice, but if you’ve taken a stand in a new space that hasn’t materialized, don’t risk too much. In times of difficulty, people like to stick with brand names that they feel comfortable with. Beyond that, find ways to set up your business to be ready to take over someone else’s share if they suddenly exit the market – this means keeping your assets somewhat liquid and development the right connections to take a step forward if the right opportunity presents itself.
Keep an eye out for possible digital initiatives that could grow your business. If you can find a way to automate a process and get those experienced hands to do other more important things, you’ll win on many fronts.
Maintain your values within your company. Consumers will start to think more carefully about where they spend their money, so you want to look better than everyone else. And let’s face it, sustainability is the new black – especially in the Mid-Willamette Valley. Then, expect renewed scrutiny as to where you claim to be green.
By Sally K Lehman