1. Economists Predict 2021 Recession
The last recession, otherwise known as the 2008 Great Recession, led to a loss of 8.4M jobs and was the most dramatic employment contraction since the Great Depression. Now, a majority of economists are expecting another recession hit by the end of 2021. 10% predict the recession to begin this year, 42% predict next year, and 25% anticipate for 2021, according to a semiannual National Association for Business Economics survey released Monday. Even though most believe the Federal Reserve will continue raising interest rates, Trump’s trading policies are an ongoing concern for many and it is predicted that GDP growth will reduce by 25 basis points and boost inflation for this year. The Fed has already raised interest rates four times in 2018, “Nearly three-quarters of panelists believe that the Federal Reserve’s policy is ‘about right, said NABE President Kevin Swift’” Fear continues to rise around a global slowdown, nearly 800 business leaders across the world listed global recession as their biggest 2019 concern. Last month, the International Monetary Fund said “the balance of risks remains skewed to the downside” and momentum is “past its peak.” What do you believe?
2. Oprah Loses Millions as WW Plummets
As a $30B industry, health and fitness have been growing annually by 3-4% for the last decade and show no signs of cooling down, since 20% of Americans have a fitness club membership to date. With the rise of wearable technology to a new demand for healthy food, there are a multitude of reasons why this industry is booming. However, Weight Watchers (WW) had an abrupt loss of value recently, 30% to be exact, after reporting less than half of what was previously expected. In 2015, WW soared 100% in a single day and gained 500% after Oprah Winfrey joined the board as an ambassador. Even after DJ Khaled became a social ambassador in January 2018, WW earned a record 4.6M subscribers during quarter one. Fast forward to today and stocks plummeted 33% by 10 a.m. CST. As Oprah owns more than 5M shares of the company, her wealth is expected to drop in weight by $50M. The loss is said to be due to a recent focus on wellness rather than on weight loss. WW is already working out to turn this initiative around by playing more on Oprah’s stake in the company. WW CEO Mindy Grossman said Winfrey has personally agreed to “play a central role in our upcoming TV and digital marketing campaign” in a move to get their membership back in shape.
3. FedEx Unveils Delivery Robot
Who is next on the list to jump onto the autonomous robot train? FedEx has recently unveiled their autonomous robot, SameDay Bot, which is expected to make “last mile” deliveries. At a top speed of 10 mph, equipped with LIDAR sensors and cameras, and battery-powered, SameDay Bot will be able to steer itself around pedestrians and traffic.
Image Source: FedEx
Since 60% of “same-day delivery” customers live within a 3-mile store radius, the robot is supposed to help with these same-day delivery services. Robot boot camp starts this summer in Memphis, TN (if approved) and between FedEx Office locations. They have already partnered with companies such as AutoZone, Pizza Hut, Target and Walmart for initial testing. Additionally, they have recruited Dean Kamen, AKA the Segway stand-up scooter and iBot stair-climbing wheelchair creator, for the project. Still uncertain about sharing the sidewalks with robots? The bot will also have front and back screens to communicate with pedestrians, stating its direction of travel and when it’s about to stop. Take a look at other companies racing to win the delivery war in 2019 here.