August 10, 2017

restaurantThe U.S. economy has managed to add thousands of jobs so far this year thanks to big gains in industries like construction and health care. But even these substantial sectors can’t compare to the robust growth of the restaurant industry, which has gained nearly 200,000 new jobs in 2017 alone. And unlike manufacturing or construction work, these jobs aren’t localized to a few lucky cities scattered across the nation. Instead, nearly every American metropolis has seen a boom in restaurant Continue reading

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June 16, 2017

In Japan you can buy almost anything from a vending machine: hot tea, sushi, umbrellas, even bread in a can. This video takes a look at the economic and cultural factors that have contributed to Japan’s vending obsession, such as an excess of coinage and a shortage of unskilled labor.

Questions:

  1. How does Japan’s low birth rate contribute to its vending machine culture?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of relying so heavily on vending machines?
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For most non-rural people, the classic image of a dairy farm likely involves a solitary, bucket-toting farmer trudging out to the barn to milk the cows before dawn. As this video shows, though, modern American dairy farms are far more advanced than most city slickers would imagine. From automated milking machines to robot feeders, these high-tech tools help dairy farmers cut costs while also improving efficiency.

Questions:

 

  1. What are the advantages of automation on dairy farms?
  2. How have labor Continue reading
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April 27, 2017


bankers-regulatorsThe 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform act stands as one of the most complicated pieces of legislation ever devised. The law includes more than 22,000 pages of rules, which is equivalent to about 15 copies of Tolstoy’s epic novel
War and Peace. These guidelines tell banks how much money they must set aside, how they can advertise, what sort of investments they can make, and many other stipulations and requirements.

As you can imagine, keeping track of all those regulations Continue reading

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April 18, 2017

ibmIn the 1980s IBM was one of the first companies to make remote work a priority for its employees. Starting with “remote terminals” installed in staffers’ houses, by 2009 40 percent of the tech company’s 386,000 employees worked from home. In the process, IBM reduced office space by 78 million square feet and started saving $100 million in annual costs. Other companies took IBM’s lead and began to follow the remote trend as well. In fact, 25 percent of American Continue reading

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March 29, 2017

ChantelMcGeeFrom factory floors to Wall Street financial firms, robotic labor is becoming an increasingly important part of production for many companies. And according to the head of Yum Brands, fast food could be the next industry to adopt automation on a wide scale. This week CEO Greg Creed said that robots could start replacing humans at Yum-owned chains like Pizza Hut and Taco Bell by the mid-2020s.

Other fast food companies have already begun to experiment with automation. Wendy’s, for Continue reading

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March 10, 2017

UBS-Reinvents-WorkSpaceOver the years, Silicon Valley startups have become famous for developing open work spaces free of personalized desks or big corner offices. The idea is to allow employees to gather together and collaborate rather than leave them enclosed in their cubicles. While other companies avoided this unconventional approach at first, more firms have switched to open offices as the concept has become more popular. Still, these companies have tended to be smaller operations as many big businesses remained skeptical that Continue reading

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March 9, 2017

SwedishSoftwareCompany-wo-CEOThree years ago, the staff of the Swedish software consulting firm Crisp felt it was time for a change in leadership. The company had been recently experimenting with its upper management structure, going from a standard CEO model to one that replaced the top executive annually through a staff vote. Then, a radical idea took root in the minds of Crisp’s employees. “We said, ‘what if we had nobody as our next CEO – what would that look like?’” said Continue reading

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March 7, 2017

LisaNottinghamIn recent years, many companies have sought to create work environments that place a heavy emphasis on collaboration. With flattened hierarchies and open door policies, these workplaces give employees easy access to managers and other top performers. The system is meant to improve office efficiency by allowing staffers to receive unique advice that makes their jobs easier.

But while regular employees can have their workloads lightened, managers quickly become overwhelmed by overly collaborative workplaces. After all, executives who spend much Continue reading

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January 19, 2017

ArvindGroverFor many corporate executives, non-compete agreements are just a part of doing business. Since companies want to hang on to top talent as long as possible, they often insert clauses in contracts that prevent employees from joining competitors for a certain amount of time. While this limits a staffer’s options when looking for a new job, their high-level status usually provides them with plenty of alternative choices.

That’s not quite the case for sandwich makers, however. While non-compete clauses are Continue reading

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