Business Stories of the Week: Friday, April 6, 2018

by April 6, 2018

Credit card debt is up, but defaults are down. (Image via Pixabay.com)

College admissions struggle with computer errors

Some hopeful college applicants get accidental admissions letters, thanks to computer errors. MarketWatch reported on an uptick in database errors broadcast mass messages that are ultimately false. Many of these are in the college admissions field, due to the sheer amount of data they work with. Technological innovation has sped up processing this data. What once took hours now only take seconds. As more businesses rely on troves of user data, experts believe the speed of these processes will inevitably result in more errors — some of which may be very costly for businesses.

Chick-fil-A proves formidable against other chains

A Chick-fil-A may become the third largest fast food franchise company in the U.S. by 2020, according to analysis by Technomic cited by BuzzFeed news. The restaurant chain had about $9 billion in sales in 2017. Despite a 2013 boycott — and New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio’s support of the boycott — Chick-fil-A’s revenue has more than doubled and they’ve opened hundreds of new franchises.

Debt is up, delinquency is down

Although consumer debt is at a near-record high, MarketWatch reported that delinquencies were down to less than 2.5% — well below the 15-year average of 3.6%. Americans currently hold about $1 trillion in credit card debt, $1.1 trillion in auto loan debt, and roughly $900 billion in student loan debt. Given these numbers, credit industry analyst Matt Schulz told MarketWatch it was remarkable that Americans are able to make debt payments. “It speaks well for the state of the economy,” he said. The American Bankers Association says this could be tied to tax reform — higher paychecks may spur more people to get out of debt.

“Unretirement” on the rise

Despite putting decades into the workforce, saving money and collecting social security, many retirees are choosing to “unretire” — go back to work, often part time — for a multitude of reasons, the New York Times reported. A 2017 RAND corporation study found that, of all workers over 65, almost 40% of them had retired previously. Although many return to work for financial reasons, the Times said that, more and more, workers are returning due to boredom or feeling disengaged from society. “Earning money, while welcomed, rarely proved to be the primary incentive,” the Times said.

Virgin Galactic blasts off

Virgin Galactic launched its first flight since a fatal crash in 2014, CNBC reported. Spaceship Two reached supersonic speeds before it came to a safe landing in the Mohave desert. This comes after the Saudi government announced its plans to invest $1 billion in Virgin Galactic. The program’s ultimate goal is to provide private space trips. A Virgin Galactic ship will take passengers 68 miles above the earth’s surface for $250,000.