Consumers will demand more fresh foods and convenient formatting from food retailers next year, retail expert Mark Dunson writes. The Food Safety Modernization Act and changes to refrigerant regulations will also affect the food retail industry next year, along with an evolving workforce and more consolidation, he writes.
Too many bosses act like "hyper-roosters," preening and strutting around the office without focus and thus hurting their employees' ability to be productive, writes Art Petty. If you think this is you, "[s]pend more time up front clarifying goals and direction and then back off and let people show you what they can do," Petty writes.
Tight budgets have prompted changes to the National Assessment of Educational Progress testing schedule. Under the changes -- announced by the National Assessment Governing Board -- high-school seniors will not take the writing exam in 2017, and in 2018, they will not take the civics, geography and US history exams.
The Chicago manufacturing index fell below the break-even point of 50 in November, dropping to 48.7 from October's result of 56.2. Still, other regions are doing better, including southeast Michigan, which boasted a November manufacturing index of 57.1.
Wegmans will continue its expansion across Massachusetts with its sixth store in the state, which will open in Medford. The New York-based retailer will also open future stores in Natick and Boston's Fenway neighborhood as part of an expansion plan through the state that is well on its way after being delayed.
About 38% of US hospitals recruit patients and their families to serve on advisory committees in an effort to improve care, a survey published in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety found. Patients say they see the councils as a way to advocate for other patients, and hospitals that have patient and family advisory councils tend to have higher patient satisfaction scores than hospitals that lack the councils.
Brands such as Johnnie Walker, Moet & Chandon, Canada Goose, American Girl and JetBlue are using long-form video content starring or directed by A-list celebrities. "There's lots and lots of talk at the moment of things being shorter and of attention spans dying that has led to the Vine-able, Instagram-able, GIF-able world. ... But people are willing to engage with long-form content if the content is compelling enough," said Simon Owen of Anomaly, Johnnie Walker's creative shop.
Alibaba netted $14.3 billion in sales during this year's Singles' Day, an annual Chinese retail event loosely equivalent to Cyber Monday. Some of Singles' Day's innovations, such as alleged government-enforced discounting, would be hard to replicate in the US, says Marshall Meyer. Other strategies, such as selling directly through social networks or using thematic marketing, might be easier for Western businesses to borrow from.
Hackers cracked into 5 million customer accounts through "Learning Lodge," toy company VTech's application store, VTech confirmed. While credit card information was not stolen, identifying information tied to children, such as date of birth and gender, was compromised, as were customer names, encrypted passwords and addresses.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday set the volume requirements for the Renewable Fuel Standard at 16.28 billion gallons in 2014 and 2015 and 18.11 billion gallons next year, which are higher than its blending volume proposed in May but are still below the mandate that Congress set in 2007. Following the finalized requirements, BIO Executive Vice President Brent Erickson said "the rule undermines the goals of the statute, and it will continue to undercut investment in advanced and cellulosic biofuels and increase greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation fuel sector."
Samsung Electronics will try to revive its flagging smartphone business by handing the reins to D.J. Koh, who will replace J.K. Shin as overseer of day-to-day operations. Koh worked under Shin as chief of mobile research and development, leading the team that created the Tizen operating system and the Samsung Pay mobile payment platform.
Henry Cisneros, the former US secretary of Housing and Urban Development, says the country's infrastructure needs help if the economy is to grow. He cites the American Society of Civil Engineer's Report Card that gave the infrastructure a D grade and contends investment isn't a Democratic or Republican issue. "Increasing infrastructure investment on a national level by 1 percent of GDP over three years will result in an additional $270 billion in economic output," he writes. "Think about what that could mean for the countless families who will benefit from new jobs and new opportunities."
The total pipeline network for US crude oil, liquefied natural gas and refined products grew by 3.5% in 2014 to reach over 190,000 miles, according to data reported by the American Petroleum Institute and the Association of Oil Pipe Lines. The crude oil pipeline network grew by over 5,000 miles, representing a 9.1% year-over-year mileage increase.
JetBlue Airways announced plans to recruit potential pilots and provide its own training under a proposal awaiting approval from federal regulators. "JetBlue crafted its plan to gain access to a broader group of candidates, oversee their training from the start and expose them earlier to being part of a crew on large aircraft," said Doug McGraw, a JetBlue spokesman. Candidates still would have to meet US requirements, including 1,500 hours of flight experience, to be certified as commercial airline pilots.
The Florida Keys are expected to gain 1,600 new resort hotel rooms by the end of 2016 as more than a dozen new or renovated properties debut. "The dynamic for investment at this point is very, very good," said Jim Rhyne of Marathon's Coconut Cay Resort & Marina, which is being expanded.