Business Stories of the Week: Friday, Dec. 22, 2017

by December 22, 2017

The insurance firm Swiss Re estimates the economic loss from global disasters in 2017 to be $306 billion. (Photo via

Bitcoin boosts business

Bitcoin is providing quite the boost for businesses. No, it has nothing to do with simply accepting the cryptocurrency. The New York Times reports that companies previously focused on making things like fitness apparel, cigars and beverages have rebranded as virtual currency or blockchain companies. The strategy has worked, with a number of companies experiencing a jump in their stock prices after the changes.

Papa John is gone

Company founder John Schnatter is stepping down as chief executive officer of Papa John’s International Inc. The announcement comes months after Schnatter criticized the NFL for the mishandling of player protests during the national anthem, claiming it hurt pizza sales. Papa John’s is a major sponsor of the league. Schnatter will stay on as chairman of the company, according to Bloomberg, which is the third-largest pizza chain.

Global disasters costly in 2017

The economic loss from global disasters almost doubled this year from 2016. Quartz reports that the insurance firm Swiss Re, which makes the calculation every six months, estimates the economic loss from things like hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires was $306 billion in 2017. That figure was estimated to be $188 billion last year. This year’s figure is also higher than the 10-year average, which is $190 billion.

Women losing retail jobs

Despite the improving job market, the retail industry shed more than 50,000 jobs last year. But new analysis of government data found a surprising disparity, according to the Washington Post: the industry has been pushing out women while offering more opportunities for men. Between October 2016 and October 2017, women retail workers lost 160,300 jobs. More than 100,000 men found new work in the industry over the same time period.