Business Stories of the Week: Aug. 25

by August 25, 2017
The solar eclipse on Monday provided a boost to local economies across the United States, as thousands traveled to the towns that offered the best view. Image by Pixabay user Doinkster.

The solar eclipse on Monday provided a boost to local economies across the U.S., as thousands traveled to the towns that offered the best view. Now they wonder: How to get them back? (Image by Pixabay user Doinkster)

Google and Walmart take on Amazon

In an effort to compete in voice shopping—an area dominated by Amazon—Walmart is working with Google to make thousands of items available through Google Express. Launching in late September, the service will let consumers order everything from milk to mops from Walmart via Google. It will also allow Walmart customers to link their accounts to Google so the tech giant can learn their shopping behavior and predict what they want in the future, the New York Times reported on Wednesday. This is the latest move for Walmart as it takes on online superstore Amazon, and comes a week after the company announced that its online sales increased 60 percent from a year earlier.

Eclipse boomtowns are born

The Aug. 21 solar eclipse’s path of totality curved from Oregon to South Carolina, with a handful of small towns becoming hubs for viewing and prompting city officials and tourism directors to wonder what to plan for and how much of an infusion of spending to expect. While some towns overshot the mark, The Atlantic reports, most of the totality towns saw a large uptick in tourists and are now left to wonder how they can turn those one-time visitors into repeat guests.

Americans sure love chicken wings

Typically relegated to Sundays during football season, the classic chicken wing is having a moment. Americans are eating so many that prices are hitting new highs and poultry processors are seeing increased profits, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. A 40 percent increase in jumbo wing prices helped Mississippi-based Sanderson Farms top analysts’ average profit and sales estimates during the fiscal third quarter.

New-home sales continue to suffer

The average price of a newly built home continues to increase even as sales slump, CNBC reported on Wednesday. Sales of new construction dropped 9.4 percent in July compared to June, but the median sale price increased 6 percent. It costs about 35 percent more to buy a new home than it does an existing home, which is why analysts think that home buyers are continuing to opt for resales when it’s time to purchase a home. Homebuilders say that the costs of land, labor, materials and regulation prevent them from lowering their prices. As the scars of the housing bust still reverberate through the economy, consumers just aren’t willing to spend more.

(Other) business groups court the White House

As some of President Trump’s business advisory councils disbanded following his comments on white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va., other industry leaders jumped at the opportunity to make their interests known to a business-friendly administration. Hopes that tax reform will be the president’s next priority and expectations of a more solid partnership between business leaders and the White House appeared to hearten Wall Street. The major stock market indexes rose sharply on Tuesday, the New York Times reported.

Global economies grow together

For the first time in 10 years, the world’s major economies are growing in sync, Fox Business reported on Wednesday. The growth is a result of lingering low-interest-rate stimulus plans and the recovery of economies after the crises that have plagued countries from the U.S. to Greece, Brazil and beyond. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, all 45 countries are on track to grow this year and 33 of them are in a position to speed up their growth from a year ago. Simultaneous growth around the world has been rare over the last 50 years, and ironically, it comes as nationalist movements in the U.S. and Europe have flourished, egged on by suspicion over global trade deals.