Business Stories of the Week: Oct. 27, 2017

by October 27, 2017

New home sales climbed to the highest level in a decade, the Associated Press reported. (“House lights turned on” via Pexels, CC BY 2.0)

Americans retire later, die earlier

Even though the U.S. retirement age is rising, American’s aren’t living longer to enjoy their twilight years, Bloomberg reported on Monday. Americans health is declining and millions of middle-age workers are likely facing shorter, less-active retirements than their parents, new data released last week showed. U.S. age-adjusted mortality (a measure of the deaths per year) ticked up 1.2 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the Society of Actuaries. That’s the first year-over-year climb since 2005—and the second rise greater than 1 percent since 1980.

FCC may save print

Change may be on the horizon for media companies: The Federal Communications Commission will vote next month to roll back an old rule designed to protect media diversity in local markets, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said on Wednesday. The Washington Post reported the roll-back aims to bolster struggling media outlets, especially traditional print mediums, in an era of digital consumption. Critics are worried the move will lead to even more media consolidation and the loss of independent media. The decades-old regulations, passed in 1975, ban any single company from owning both a full-power TV station and daily newspaper in the same market.

WeWork bags Lord & Taylor flagship

Lord & Taylor’s influential mark on New York’s landscape is fading. The parent of Lord & Taylor, Hudson’s Bay, announced on Tuesday that is selling its flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan to WeWork, a seven-year-old start-up whose office-sharing model is reinventing the way people work. Lord & Taylor will rent out a quarter of the building from WeWork, where it plans a smaller department store. The rest of the 676,000-square-foot space will be used for WeWork’s global headquarters and to lease shared office space to its customers, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. The $850 million sale of the Italian-Renaissance-style building is another sign that the ornate and spacious shopping spaces of the past are no longer economical or practical as more customers’ shop online.

NAFTA negotiations quiver

America’s demands for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (a central campaign promise from President Donald Trump), are so extreme, some experts doubt America wants a deal at all, The Economist reported on Saturday. While a total collapse is not imminent, the October 17th meeting of trade representatives from Canada, America and Mexico weren’t promising. Canada remains outraged that Bahraini businesses would have more access on government procurement contracts than Mexican and American ones. Mexico was disheartened that America has declined some text on telecommunications, anti-corruption and digital trade previously agreed to in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (from which Trump withdrew in January). Canada and Mexico also have indicated they will not agree to America’s proposal to impose anti-dumping duties to protect seasonal American agricultural products. In the meantime, NAFTA hangs in the balance and negotiations will continue in 2018.

Reefer resort comes to the desert

 The tiny town of Nipton, California (population less than 20) is about to morph into the first cannabis-themed resort in the U.S.  In July, Arizona-based American Green, the nation’s largest publicly traded marijuana company, signed a contract to buy the entire town of Nipton, which is just across the state line from Las Vegas. On Monday, the digital outlet, Water Deeply, reported on the company’s plans to extract water from an ancient aquifer beneath Nipton to irrigate marijuana crops. There are also plans in the works to launch a cannabis-infused bottled water. Critics of the plan have questioned whether a marijuana-themed park is the best use of the aquifer and California’s limited water resources.

New home sales skyrocket

In a sign the economy remains on sure footing, new home sales soared to the highest level in a decade, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday. New home sales rose 18.9 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 667,000, the most since 2007, data from the Commerce Department showed on Wednesday. Sales rose in all regions, including 26 percent in the South. A shortage of existing homes has led many shoppers to turn to new homes instead, which could encourage more construction. But in the new housing climate, developers also have struggled to keep up with demand and to find workers to start new projects, the Associated Press reported.