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In this issue of ACWI Advance we take a closer look at these stories:
- Holiday consumer spending is forecast to be down from last year, but still healthy.
- The Chemical Activity Barometer shows a six-month-long economic recovery.
- Total intermodal volumes rose 1.2% year-over-year during the third quarter.
- CDC redefines “close contact” regarding COVID-19, causing headaches for employers.
- California voters say ride share drivers can be independent contractors.
- Fraud can make it very expensive to use third-party payroll services.
Send your company news to Editor David Sparkman at [email protected], and please understand that there is no cost to you when we use your news in this newsletter.
Although consumer holiday spending is expected to be down slightly from last year, it still should still be quite healthy, especially given this year’s pandemic and economic downturn.
Consumers plan to spend an average of $997.79 on gifts, holiday items such as decorations and food, and additional “non-gift” purchases for themselves and their families, according to the annual survey conducted by the National Retail Federation and research firm Prosper Insights & Analytics.
The Chemical Activity Barometer, the leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council, rose 0.9% in October on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis, a marked deceleration from the 1.5% gain in September and 2.6% gain in August.
On a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the barometer was down 3.3% in October. The unadjusted data show a 0.1% gain in October following a 0.8% gain in September and a 1.9% gain in August.
Intermodal turned a corner in the third quarter, according to a report by the Intermodal Association of North America.
Total intermodal volumes rose 1.2% year-over-year during the quarter. At the same time, domestic containers and trailers both gained 9.8% compared to the third quarter of 2019, while international shipments (measured in ISO containers) dropped 6.5%.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has broadened the definition of “close contact” for purposes of Covid 19 contact tracing and quarantining requirements, which could cause headaches for employers.
Originally, the CDC had defined a “close contact” as a person who had spent 15 consecutive minutes within six feet of someone who was infectious.
Voters in California stemmed their state’s assault on independent contractors a bit by approving a referendum reasserting contractor status for those who work for ride share companies.
The referendum campaign had been mounted by Uber, Lyft and DoorDash after the state legislature last year passed a law virtually eliminating contractor status for a wide range of professions and occupations, including truck drivers.
The IRS warns employers to be careful when using third-party payroll services because choosing the wrong one can end up being very expensive indeed.
IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig explained to employers, “A business doing everything else right can suddenly find its future in doubt if it falls victim to an unscrupulous third party that fails to make the required payroll and withholding deposits.”