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US tech stocks close lower in mixed session as investors weigh recession worries alongside potential for another Fed rate hike

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 4:10pm
  • US stocks ended Monday's session mixed, with the Nasdaq trailing rival indexes. 
  • Investors returned from the Good Friday break anticipating another Fed rate hike after the March jobs report. 
  • Consumer inflation data and the first bank earnings after Silicon Valley Bank's collapse are due this week. 

US stocks finished mixed on Monday with tech stocks hurt as investors priced in the potential of another interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve ahead of inflation data due this week. 

The Nasdaq Composite fared the worst among Wall Street's major stock indexes. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 finished lower at the end of last week's trading action that was shortened by the Good Friday holiday. 

Among individual moves Monday, Tesla stock dropped after the company cut prices again for its electric vehicles. 

Traders entered Monday's session with a fresh warning about a recession from Bank of America, which shared 12 charts indicating the US is on the verge of entering a contraction. But traders were also continuing to price in expectations the Fed will raise interest rates again by 25 basis points, with those odds rising to 71% during the day.  

"We continue to believe that a mild recession is on the horizon and that volatility will likely remain elevated as an economic contraction plays out," Brent Schutte, chief investment officer at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management, wrote in a note Monday. 

"However, we reiterate our belief that any such recession will be mild and, importantly, will also serve as the final nail in the inflationary coffin." 

Here's where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. closing bell on Monday: 

Monday was the first full session for stock investors to react to Friday's March jobs report. The US economy added 236,000 nonfarm payrolls last month, below the 239,000 median forecast and cooling from February's 326,000 reading. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, and the labor force participation rate rose. 

"Visibility into the persistence of inflation, direction of interest rates, and pace of earnings growth should improve this week," Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at US Bank Wealth Management, told Insider in emailed comments.

Coming later this week will be the March consumer price index report and the first quarterly results from big banks after the collapses of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. 

Financial results are due on Friday from JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo, which have seen surges in deposits while regional banks have seen big withdrawals

"FOMC minutes from the March 22 meeting are scheduled to be released on Wednesday. Market watchers will focus on any language that may signal future Fed action, including no action," Sandven wrote. Meanwhile, "keen interest will be on the balance-sheet status of banks, including lending and deposit trends."

Investors, by odds of nearly 70%, are expecting the Fed to raise interest rates by another 25 basis points, to a range of 5%-5.25% at its May 2-3 meeting. That would be the 10th consecutive rate increase. 

Here's what else is happening today:

In commodities, bonds, and crypto:

Read the original article on Business Insider

Here's why people shouldn't freak out yet about losing their jobs to AI automation

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 4:08pm
Economics writer Noah Smith talked about why we should freak out—yet— about AI automating our jobs.
  • As AI tools revolutionize business, workers are worried they're at risk of losing their jobs.
  • Yet Noah Smith, who writes the Noahpinion newsletter, contends there are nuances amid the expected impact.
  • "We've been deploying automation technology for centuries, and as of 2023, pretty much every human who wants a job has a job," Smith wrote.

With businesses now deploying AI tools to do everything from translating speech to building language learning models for big law, many workers are worried they might soon be out of a job

Yet Noah Smith, the writer behind the popular Noahpinion economics newsletter, contended in a post on Monday that people shouldn't worry about losing their jobs to automation just yet. 

"The "folk model" of automation is that it throws humans out of work — today you had a job performing some sort of valuable work, and tomorrow you're on the welfare rolls," Smith wrote.

"We've been deploying automation technology for centuries, and as of 2023, pretty much every human who wants a job has a job," Smith wrote, "but there's basically no way to get people to believe that this next wave of automation will be the one that finally sends humans into obsolescence."

What exactly does automation mean?

In his post, Smith examined several studies on job automation over the years from researchers at firms ranging from Citibank to PriceWaterHouseCoopers

Smith points out that the term "automation" in these studies is never clearly defined and together they illustrate hypotheticals that poses different levels of "replacement." Some scenarios, such as "You're going to get new tools that let you automate the boring part of your job, move up to a more responsible job title" even present newfound benefits.

That means it's hard to draw sweeping conclusions about what automation means for any particular individual. 

The other issue Smith pointed out is that these studies don't touch on how the labor market will change overall. "If one job is destroyed by automation and two more are created for higher wages, workers obviously won out," he suggested. Yet studies on the topic only seem to focus on automation, which can suggest that workers are the losers in the situation, even if that's not really the case, Smith wrote

Assessing "replacement" is often subjective 

Smith also pointed the subjectivity used in older studies for assessing a job's risk of replacement. 

In one study, Frey and Osborne (2013), researchers noted that they "subjectively hand-labelled" jobs from a database developed by the US Department of Labor with a score of 1 if they were "automatable" and 0 if they were not.

The researchers also noted that they only focused on a small percentage of jobs in the database "whose computerisation label we are highly confident about" in order to further reduce the risk of "subjective bias affecting our analysis."

The good thing, Smith said, was that studies have improved their methodology since then. 

study by Goldman Sachs published earlier this month assessed AI’s impact on automation by viewing jobs as a sum of tasks described in a government database as opposed to a holistic entity.

Smith noted that Goldman's researchers also recognized that "automation often ends up complementing a worker's effort instead of substituting for it" when only some tasks are automated. 

Added to that, the study supported the point that automation doesn't always spell layoffs, noting that "technology can replace some tasks, but it can also make us more productive performing other tasks, and create new tasks — and new jobs" which supports the point that automation doesn't always spell layoffs. 

Yet Forbes reported on the study with the headline "Goldman Sachs Predicts 300 Million Jobs Will Be Lost Or Degraded By Artificial Intelligence." 

"A lot of people are so used to the "robots take our jobs" narrative that they report every result they see through that warped and distorted lens," Smith wrote

Smith did not immediately respond to Insider's request for a comment. 




Read the original article on Business Insider

I get paid by companies to find them job candidates. Here are my 9 best tips for increasing your odds of landing a job in a tough market.

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 4:04pm
80% of jobs are found through networking.
  • Elisette Carlson is an executive search professional. 
  • She says leading with your accomplishments is essential when you reach out. 
  • When reaching out to recruiters, keep emails short but specific. 

Finding a job at an executive level can be a lengthy process. As you get more advanced in your career, there are fewer and fewer opportunities likely to be the ideal fit for you, much less a position that meets your role, salary and company culture requirements. The current economic climate has also made the competition more fierce.

As an executive search professional, I know from experience that such a task can take a year or more, and most of the attractive jobs are part of the "hidden job market" and rarely ever make it to job postings or boards.

Given that about 80% of jobs are found through networking, your best chances for success are via a referral, either a trusted colleague, friend or search professional that the hiring manager knows. I speak to multiple candidates in search of a job, and while I don't get paid to connect with those looking to get hired (I get paid when my clients, the companies, hire me to find a candidate), I seek to help and support as many people as possible.

Before targeting recruiters, one needs to understand the two main types of executive search firms and recruiters. There are retained and contingency firms and recruiters.

  • Contingency recruiters are paid after the search process when the client decides to hire one of the recruiter's proposed candidates.
  • Retained executive search firms charge a consulting fee — paid as a monthly retainer or a percentage of the candidate's salary.

I work with a retained search firm, and we are hired by companies, our clients, who pay us to find candidates. We do not get paid by referring a candidate to a company we are not retained by.

Below are nine tips to help candidates land a job by connecting with an executive search consultant without having to pay for anything.

1. Target your search firm consultant — but do your homework first

Understand the search firm you are targeting and what practice areas they are known for and specialize in. Then, look for individuals within the firm that specialize in areas that you are an expert at or interested in. Put yourself in my shoes — I focus on people that will best fit a search I'm working on.

If you're focused on a general or functional area I work on, I will want to know about you, irrespective. I always like to get to know great people, and as such, I will put your resume in our database. I also recommend adding your resume to Blue Steps Database, the largest and most diverse global community that offers C-suite executives mentoring, resources and visibility to the top retained search firms. You want to be visible to those. There are different levels of fee-based membership for this, so the recommendation is optional.

2. Have your LinkedIn, biography and resume up to date before your outreach

You've got one shot at a first impression to reach out to a recruiter, so ensure that your resume, bio and Linkedin profile are fully updated. Over 75% of recruiters rely on LinkedIn. We have resumes flying by our desks all day, and this is your first shot to stand out. If your first outreach isn't appealing to a recruiter, your bio isn't updated, or your social media profile shines some negative light, they likely won't spend more time on you.

3. Get right to your accomplishments from the initial outreach

One value I teach to my kids and colleagues is to "spread sunshine," meaning I'm always happy to help others where I can. But note I'll likely only give your email 60 seconds, so get to your accomplishments right from the start. Rather than begin with your bio, take me through a case history.

Help me understand how you have been a benefit to anyone you have worked with. The STAR method is a good place to start. This is the Situation, Task, Action and Result. For example, explain to me that the company's numbers were down and they needed a reboot. They brought you on as a Chief Marketing Officer, you rebuilt the team, put people in better roles, and after six months, the company's numbers were up, or more specifically, the company was generating $20M in revenue per month, up from an average of $14M per month. I'm most interested in the results, and so are the companies you are targeting.

4. Note soft skills and people skills on your resume and email

In today's business environment, soft and interpersonal skills are in high demand, particularly at the C-suite level and in leadership positions. Recruiters and hiring managers are really interested in communication, leadership, teamwork, interpersonal skills and how you adapt.

At Boyden, we look for what we call Human-Centered Leadership - we want candidates and leaders to embrace flexibility, empathy and especially diversity and inclusivity.

5. Be specific on your willingness to travel, work a hybrid model or be in an office

More companies are looking for in-office roles or hybrid instead of strictly work-from-home. If you don't live in the city where the companies you are targeting are based, note your willingness to travel or move closer to the headquarters or satellite offices.

6. Increase your visibility

Alongside having your LinkedIn updated, increase your visibility in target communities by looking for or sharing recent speaking opportunities, podcast appearances, published articles or major awards and recognitions. Highlighting accomplishments increases your odds of being noticed and keeps you current with your target recruiters and companies.

If I see a candidate with a skill set that matches a search I'm working on, that can get results, has excellent soft skills and is keeping current, they will stand out.

7. Network, network, network!

But do it with intention and purpose. Networking doesn't mean just talking to everyone you know and meeting as many people as possible. Rather, connect with colleagues, classmates and friends that can help get you referred. Use Linkedin to your advantage by searching for mutual connections and people that can be a great introduction point or reference. Start with the network you know, and dig a little deeper into their networks to see where they might have opportunities.

8. Be specific and simple

When targeting recruiters and companies, keep the emails short and specifically explain what you are best at and how you have excelled at your current and past positions. Be simple (think the K.I.S.S. philosophy) by including your key value points, and do so quickly. If I'm reading your email, I'll give you 60 seconds to 2 minutes, so ensure you hit those points clearly and as concisely as possible.

9. Be professional and courteous

It may sound obvious, but this is not the place or time for slang, social media acronyms, nor poor grammar. As with any professional email, check for spelling, discrepancies and syntax errors. Ensure you say "thank you," and most importantly, check the spelling of the name of the hiring manager you are contacting. I cannot tell you how many times my name has been botched! While I do forgive, getting the name wrong doesn't leave the best impression.

Looking for and finding a job that meets your skill set, interest, salary requirements and location can be a challenge. Take confidence in that companies are on the hunt for top talent, and many open positions are out there. The key lies in your ability to know how to network, best present yourself and develop relationships. You can even frame your follow-up as networking. For example, mention a mutual connection to your target. I love relationships and connecting with people, and if you mention a mutual contact that we share, I'll be more inclined to pick up the phone and ask my contact about you. Keep your optimism high as you search for a job, be authentic and make yourself memorable without trying too hard. Using these tips, you should be salient.

Elisette Carlson is a partner at executive search firm Boyden.

Read the original article on Business Insider

From threatening skeptical execs to approving expenses with emojis, here are the 6 most damning claims from FTX's first debtors report

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 3:59pm
  • Sam Bankman-Fried threatened FTX employees who voiced concerns about its business practices. 
  • FTX, a crypto empire once worth $32 billion, had employees file business expenses via Slack.
  • Insider compiled the six most shocking claims about the failed crypto exchange from its debtors report. 

FTX's debtors report was released on Sunday, the first detailed account of wrongdoings against the failed crypto exchange and its affiliated companies since CEO John J. Ray III took over last year. 

Claims range from egregious accounting mistakes that cost the company a fortune, threats against employees who spoke up about alleged wrongdoings, and several others. The report, which is 45 pages long, compiled interviews of 19 former FTX employees and "received substantial information through counsel" for five others.

"At its peak, the FTX Group operated in 250 jurisdictions, controlled tens of billions of dollars of assets across its various companies, engaged in as many as 26 million transactions per day, and had millions of users," the report reads. "Despite these asset levels and transaction volumes, the FTX Group lacked fundamental financial and accounting controls."

FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November after losing at least $8 billion in client funds. Prosecutors have referred to the catastrophic turn of events as one of the "biggest financial frauds in American history."

Insider compiled a list of the six most damning claims against FTX from the newly-released court document.

1) SBF threatened FTX execs

Multiple FTX execs were threatened after voicing concerns over the company's business practices.

Brett Harrison, the former president of FTX.US, reportedly resigned after a "protracted disagreement" with founder Sam Bankman-Fried and former FTX engineering director Nishad Singh "over the lack of appropriate delegation of authority, formal management structure, and key hires" at the US affiliate. 

After Harrison addressed these issues, his bonus was "drastically reduced" and "senior internal counsel instructed him to apologize to Bankman-Fried for raising the concerns, which he refused to do."

Harrison previously confirmed via Twitter that he resigned for similar reasons, adding that he was "threatened on [Bankman-Fried's] behalf that I would be fired and that Sam would destroy my professional reputation," he wrote.

"I was instructed to formally retract what I'd written and to deliver an apology to Sam that had been drafted for me."

—Brett Harrison (@BrettHarrison88) January 14, 2023


Just three months later, an attorney for FTX was terminated after expressing concerns over sister trading shop Alameda Research's inadequate corporate controls and lack of risk-management practices.

2) FTX.US was in talks about an IPO, but efforts were shelved

Management of FTX Group previously considered taking its US affiliate public on the Nasdaq in December 2020. FTX.US needed to be audited, however, a process that would include looking through company policies and various work flow procedures. 

As a result, the report says: "Senior FTX Group personnel scrambled to cobble together purported policies that could be shown to auditors. In requesting the assistance of certain employees in quickly writing policies, FTX Group management informed them that because the auditors [would] spend time in understanding and reviewing [FTX] internal processes, internal controls would have to be documented. FTX Group management asked employees 'well-versed with' 'parts of the [work]flow' to provide first drafts of policies and procedures in a mere 24 hours."

3) An Alameda exec instructed employees to fudge numbers

An unnamed upper-level Alameda insider instructed staff to "come up with some numbers? idk" in response to requests for marking the fund's positions for certain tokens.

Although Alameda was once viewed as one of the best in the industry, behind the scenes the trading shop couldn't keep track of its own investment strategies.

In fact, Bankman-Fried previously described Alameda as "hilariously beyond any threshold of any auditor being able to even get partially through an audit," adding: "Alameda is unauditable. I don't mean this in the sense of 'a major accounting firm will have reservations about auditing it'; I mean this in the sense of 'we are only able to ballpark what its balances are, let alone something like a comprehensive transaction history.'"

He added via internal messaging: "We sometimes find $50 [million] of assets lying around that we lost track of; such is life."

4) Employee expenses were approved with emojis

FTX Group also had employees file business expenses and invoices via Slack. These were then approved by emoji, according to the report.

5) FTX had 80,000 transactions labelled as 'Ask My Accountant' 

Transactions for FTX were often tracked through QuickBooks, accounting software that is commonly used for smaller and medium-sized companies. The firm used generic phrases like "investments in cryptocurrency," per the report.

"Approximately 80,000 transactions were simply left as unprocessed accounting entries in catch-all QuickBooks accounts titled 'Ask My Accountant,'" the debtors report reads. 

6) There was too much power held among a small handful of execs

Major decisions surrounding FTX, according to the report, were in the hands of Bankman-Fried, Singh, and cofounder Gary Wang, leaving many employees in the dark over their individual responsibilities. 

One former executive described Singh's and Wang's oversight on FTX Group as: "If Nishad [and Gary] got hit by a bus, the whole company would be done."

"These individuals stifled dissent, commingled and misused corporate and customer funds, lied to third parties about their business, joked internally about their tendency to lose track of millions of dollars in assets, and thereby caused the FTX Group to collapse as swiftly as it had grown," the report reads. 

"In this regard, while the FTX Group's failure is novel in the unprecedented scale of harm it caused in a nascent industry, many of its root causes are familiar: hubris, incompetence, and greed."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Junk-filled garages are transformed into luxe apartments for $150,000 in just a few weeks — take a look inside

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 3:49pm
The San Jose, California garage, left, turned studio apartment, right, that Rebecca Möller's startup Symbihom converted.
  • Rebecca Möller turns garages into apartments using wall panels and parts prefabricated in a factory.
  • She installs nice finishes and appliances to make livable accessory dwelling units, or ADUs.
  • Her clients have used them to house family members or to rent out for income. See inside two homes.
Many California homeowners build accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, on their properties. While many of these ADUs are freestanding tiny homes installed in backyards, it's also possible to convert garages into apartments with their own addresses.The exterior of a garage turned into an accessory dwelling unit, an additional living space on the same lot as a main house that has its own address.After learning that people in Europe convert garages into living spaces, commercial-real-estate veteran Rebecca Möller set off to start a company that helps Americans do the same.Möller inside a garage she turned into a one-bedroom ADU in Burlingame, California.Möller uses proprietary wall panels and parts prefabricated in a factory that allow transformations from garages to apartments to take about four weeks after proper permits are secured.The exterior of a 325-square-foot garage in San Jose that Möller's firm Symbihom turned into a studio apartment.The walls to divide the garages into separate rooms and other materials for the transformation are trucked to the garages to be installed.Symbihom materials sit on a truck to be transported from the factory to the garage to be converted.

While Möller waits for the building permits to start the conversion, she hooks up the utilities, like water and electricity, which are typically connected to the main house. 

Möller is able to build studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom units in garages, depending on their size. They cost homeowners between $150,000 and $250,000 to build.Before any transformation starts, the garages look like this one — unfinished — with roll-up doors.Möller turned this San Jose garage —  previously used for storage — into a studio apartment. Aging parents who live in the main house built it for their child, who is also their caregiver.This garage is about 325 square feet.Möller installs concrete slabs — called stem walls — around the perimeter of the unit. To turn the garage door into a proper exterior wall, the stem wall has holes where the windows will go.The front of the San Jose unit while the garage door was being closed up and turned into an exterior wall.The walls Möller manufactures in a factory slot into the stem walls to create separate rooms. Then the windows go in.After converting the garage door into an outer wall, Möller paints the front to match the rest of the house.The new front door for this unit, which cost the homeowner $185,000 from start to finish, is on the side of what was once the garage.There is a small patio by the new front door.Möller covered the stucco facade with paint, just like the rest of the house, and made the trim white.The front of ADU, left. The door to ADU, right, is made of nickel, which Möller said is both "classic" and "doesn't age."Just inside the front door of the ADU is a seating area. The wall with molding on the left hides a Murphy bed.The floors are a mix of bamboo and cork.The queen-sized Murphy bed pulls down to reveal artwork with cherry blossoms.The San Jose studio unit with the bed pulled down.A bookshelf separates the front door and adjacent shelving from the bedroom and seating areas.What looks like a mirror in the corner of the studio is actually a doorway to the laundry room, which is shared with the main house.

Owners have the option of buying furniture off of Möller's recommendations or to furnish it on their own. 

The kitchen is located in the corner of the unit.There is ample floor space in the studio when the bed is folded up.The kitchen countertops are quartz and the appliances are stainless steel.To the left of the appliances for cooking — an electric stovetop and a stainless steel convection oven — is a 24-inch refrigerator.The bathroom, located at the foot of the bed when it is folded down, has a classic sink and a quartz-lined shower.The bathroom door is a sliding barn door to save space.Here's the "before" view of a garage in Burlingame that Symbihom turned into a high-end apartment.This garage is not attached to the main house.The bare garage before its conversion into an ADU.It's about 450 square feet.The "after" view shows how a wall with windows replaced the garage door.The exterior of the Burlingame unit.The homeowner paid $250,000 total to convert this garage into a one-bedroom apartment that they rent out to tenants for additional income.Möller added high-end details, including an awning, outdoor lighting, and potted plants.The door to the apartment opens to a living room. A hallway on the left leads to the bedroom.The view from the front door.The living room is lit by the row of four windows where the garage door used to be.The living room with a couch and rug.The kitchen sits to the left when you walk in the front door.The kitchen is located across from the gray-L-shaped couch in the living room.Gas stoves are prohibited in new construction in California, but Möller was able to add it to this one-bedroom unit because it is an existing structure.Möller uses stove hoods from Broan or Klein. A washer-dryer is tucked in the corner of the kitchen.A sliding barn door leads from the living room to bedroom, which has a bathroom through the open door on the left and a walk-in-closet with sliding doors on the right.The bedroom.Read the original article on Business Insider

Should you sign that severance package? Here are 5 things to consider first.

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 3:23pm
Laid-off employees should look through the fine print and consider their options before signing a severance agreement, labor attorneys said.
  • Some employees being laid off by Big Tech companies can expect generous severance packages.
  • But accepting severance also means giving up the ability to bring future claims, labor lawyers said.
  • Employees should consider their options before signing a severance agreement, they said.

As layoffs roil tech and other industries, many departing employees face a consequential workplace decision: signing a severance agreement. 

Some tech companies appear to be offering fairly generous packages. Google and Meta are providing at least four months pay for those laid off, with veteran employees qualifying for longer payouts. But exit documents also contain information about health insurance and returning any office equipment, as well as details on seeking unemployment. Once the agreement is finalized, it can be difficult to challenge it later, attorneys said.  

Here are five things to consider when signing your severance agreement, according to labor lawyers: 

1. Learn if there are WARN act requirements in your state 

Companies are often required to let affected workers know ahead of mass layoffs. The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN Act, which applies to big employers, calls for a 60-day notice period. 

States also have their own versions of the law, which could require employers to offer even more notice. New York's WARN act, for instance, can require companies to provide a 90-day notice period. New Jersey's similar rule, which calls for certain employers to provide a 90-day notice period, went into effect on Monday. 

When WARN Act rules apply, the notice period can determine the time in which employees being laid off need to be paid. For instance, in December 2021, the online mortgage startup Better increased its severance pay for laid off employees to 60 days, coinciding with the 60-day notice duration outlined by the federal WARN Act. 

It's not clear how state laws would apply to employees working from home, especially if their employers are not located in those states, said Shannon Liss-Riordan of Lichten & Liss-Riordan PC.

"There are issues to be worked out about who is subject to which laws in this day of widespread remote work," she said. Liss-Riordan is currently representing more than 1,800 former Twitter employees seeking more severance. An attorney for Twitter did not respond to Insider's emailed requests for comment, and emails Insider sent to Twitter's press address received poop emoji autoreplies. 

"Right now, I would say, if you worked in New Jersey or for a New Jersey employer, I'd highly encourage you to talk to a lawyer before signing anything," said Liss-Riordan.

2. Take a closer look at confidentiality clauses in the agreement 

The National Labor Relations Board, a key federal labor agency, decided in February that employers shouldn't muzzle workers in exchange for severance. The ruling gives employees room to question language that prevents them from speaking freely about their time at the company, said Nicholas De Blouw, name partner at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP, a labor law firm that represents workers in employment cases. 

The agency's fairly new decision could still be challenged in court.

"It certainly can give the employees a little more ammunition to break some of these confidentiality clauses, but be very careful," he said, referring to the NLRB ruling. "The law can evolve on these issues."  

Companies can also dictate certain penalties for violating terms of their severance agreements — including non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality clauses — and employees should make sure they understand them before signing, said De Blouw.

3. Consider what you are willing to give up in exchange for the severance payment

When employees accept a severance package, they're asked to give up something in exchange —  like their ability to sue the company. They may want to consult an attorney to consider the trade-off or explore if they have potential legal  claims, attorneys said.

Employees being laid off could explore claims for bias or discrimination, for instance, if they can demonstrate evidence that the layoffs targeted a protected group of workers, Liss-Riordan said. 

"We have been receiving a lot of calls from workers laid off by tech companies," she said.

"Usually people are trying to figure out if they might be entitled to more severance pay," she added. "There are employees who want to get their job back — that's difficult to do." 

4. Know your deadline for signing the agreement 

Laid-off employees usually have a few weeks to sign severance agreements and often a brief additional window after that to change their minds. Acting early will give employees more time to seek any necessary information from their companies, like any documents they've signed, their performance evaluations, and any wage statements, according to De Blouw. 

Such documents can help employees determine if and how they can bring legal claims against their employers, if they want to go down that road. If they've signed an arbitration agreement, for instance, they'd have to file an arbitration claim rather than a lawsuit.  

"If they wait, we, as attorneys, do not have adequate time to review their case file," De Blouw said. 

5. Learn ways to get support after you leave  

Departing workers could request other forms of support, like letters of reference or even language in the severance agreement that says the company won't oppose any decision by a state agency to grant unemployment, said Richard Volin, principal at Volin Employment Law.

"Employees can try to negotiate for non-monetary benefits that an employer may be willing to give," he said.  

Workers can sometimes also try to negotiate with the company on health insurance, even though employers aren't required to contribute to ongoing health insurance payments, said Liss-Riordan. 

"This is a common issue that gets negotiated when an employee seeks counsel from a lawyer after they've been laid off," she said. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Nintendo stock jumps after 'The Super Mario Bros. Movie' breaks records in $377 million box office haul

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 3:12pm
Mario and Luigi in "The Super Mario Bros. Movie."
  • Nintendo stock jumped on Monday following the successful release of "The Super Mario Bros. Movie."
  • The movie smashed box-office records in its opening weekend after generating $377 million in global sales.
  • The successful movie release could lead to more of Nintendo's content reaching the big screen.

Nintendo stock jumped 4% on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and its US-listed shares climbed 2.5% on Monday following the successful release of "The Super Mario Bros. Movie."

The animated film, which has an ensemble cast including Chris Pratt playing Mario and Jack Black as Bowser, smashed box office records after it generated $377 million in global ticket sales over the weekend.

That made the film the biggest global opening for an animated film ever, and the success could help kick Nintendo into high gear in terms of monetizing what's commonly viewed as one of the deepest vaults of high quality characters and stories, only rivaled by Disney. 

The success of "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" is unique in that while it has a PG rating, it attracted more than just families to the movie theater. The movie also drew generations of adults that grew up playing different iterations of the highly successful Mario game franchise.

In other words: nostalgia drove much of the success in the movie's release.

"The film is based on incredible IP, which is beloved by people of different generations," Universal Pictures president of distribution Veronika Kwan Vandenberg said.

Other records broken by the movie include the biggest video game opening of all time, the biggest opening of 2023 so far, and the biggest opening of all time for Illumination, the film-making subsidiary of Universal that has found success with its "Despicable Me" and "Minions" movies. 

And the success can continue in the near term as there are no blockbuster movies expected to be released in theaters for at least a few more weeks. Also, the movie has not yet opened in Japan, where it's scheduled for an April 28 release, so that could help the longevity of the film's success at the global box office.

"The box office just kept growing and growing. It's a tremendous worldwide debut, and the movie has a clear runway," Universal's president of domestic distribution Jim Orr said.

There could be more Mario on the way following this past weekend's success at the box office. Chris Pratt and Charlie Day, who voiced Luigi in the movie, hinted that sequels could come in the form of "Mario Golf" or "Luigi's Mansion," and that a post-credit sequence could foreshadow the plot for the not-yet announced sequel.

"Listen, there's like, at the end of the film there's a post-credit sequence that gives you a taste of what the sequel could be about. And that gets me very, very excited. But there's been talk of Luigi's Mansion," Pratt said in a recent interview.

And Mario isn't the only Nintendo character that might get its big-screen treatment down the road, especially after Nintendo entered into a licensing deal with Illumination in 2018. Since then, Nintendo added Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri to its board of directors.

While details of the deal between Nintendo and Illumination are not known, JPMorgan estimates that "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" could contribute as much as $300 million to Nintendo's 2023 profits if the movie generates global ticket sales of $1.45 billion. 

JPMorgan also said the success of the Mario movie could fuel sales for Nintendo's Mario video games, creating a flywheel effect that benefits from more movie releases. 

"We believe the movie could make a considerable direct contribution to earnings, but we also focus on the contribution to Mario-related sales, centered on games," JPMorgan said in a Monday note.

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How the White House Easter Egg Roll became one of the oldest American traditions

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 3:02pm
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden attend the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in 2022.
  • The White House Easter Egg Roll has been a spring tradition for more than 130 years.
  • Rutherford B. Hayes started the tradition after kids were banned from rolling eggs on Capitol Hill.
  • The Bidens hosted the White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday.
On Easter Monday, the hottest ticket in Washington, DC, is the annual Easter Egg Roll.President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden participate in the 2023 White House Easter Egg Roll in April 2023.

Washingtonian families have spent the day on the South Lawn of the White House rolling and playing with their dyed Easter eggs since President Rutherford B. Hayes opened the gates to the Executive Mansion in 1878.

Since then, the affair has become one of the most high-profile events that takes place at the White House each year. In a 2017 interview with The New York Times, Melinda Bates, who organized eight years of Clinton-era Easter Egg Rolls said, "The White House and the first lady are judged on how well they put it on."

President Hayes started the widely successful White House tradition in 1878 after Congress banned children from rolling their eggs on Capitol Hill.Children playing on the South Lawn during the White House Egg Roll in April 1929.

The Evening Star reported, "Driven out of the Capitol grounds, the children advanced on the White House grounds to-day and rolled eggs down the terraces back of the Mansion, and played among the shrubbery to their heart's content."

The children loved rolling their eggs and themselves down the "Jefferson Mounds" on the South Lawn.Children play on the South Lawn.

The Jefferson Mounds, landscaped by President Thomas Jefferson himself, add a gentle hill to the White House's South Lawn.

In 1887, President Grover Cleveland began inviting children into the East Room of the White House, ruining several rugs in the process.President Grover Cleveland in the East Room with his Easter Egg Roll guests.

In fact, The Washington Post described the White House floors as "ground full of freshly smashed hard-boiled egg and broken egg shells."

President Benjamin Harrison couldn't help but join in on the fun and made the first presidential appearance in 1889, holding his grandson Benjamin Harrison McKee.President Harding speaks from the South Portico of the White House before the start of the Easter Egg Roll.

After Harrison's appearance, presidents regularly watched and joined in on the White House revelry, according to The History Channel.

Harrison also added music to the festivities for the first time.An illustration shows the US Marine Band, which has become a signature part of the egg roll's entertainment.

In 1889, the United States Marine Band directed by John Philip Sousa played on the South Lawn, according to the White House Historical Association.

Easter Monday festivities were canceled several times due to war and construction between 1918 and 1942.The White House as viewed from the South Lawn.

In 1918, the District of Columbia food administrator canceled the event due to the destruction of eggs, saying, "nothing that is an article of diet should be destroyed" during the war.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower reinstated the egg roll for good in 1953.Children wander the litter-strewn lawn following the annual White House Easter Egg Roll in 1953.

Eisenhower's grandchildren even participated in the event until security had to extract the three children from the huge surrounding crowds.

Jimmy Carter transformed the event from a simple egg roll to a full-on carnival complete with a three-ring circus.President Jimmy Carter and his grandson Jason.

The president's 2-year-old grandson Jason Carter even made an appearance on the South Lawn in 1977.

Rising to the occasion, the Reagans added Broadway show performances and balloons from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.President Ronald Reagan whistles to begin the egg race.

They also hid wooden eggs signed by celebrities around the grounds for children to find, a tradition that is still upheld today.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush really got into the Easter celebration.President George H.W. Bush blows a whistle at the White House Easter Egg Roll in 1990.

President Bush blew a whistle indicating the start of an egg roll competition that his 3-year-old granddaughter Marshall took part in.

Continuing the new whistle tradition, Bill Clinton also signaled the start of the 1993 Easter egg hunt with a whistle blow.President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton cheer during the 1993 White House Easter Egg Roll.

A big fan of the Easter event, first lady Hillary Clinton never missed a single egg roll while her husband was in office and even had an official grandstand built for the occasion.

The Obama-era White House egg rolls did not disappoint.President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll in 2014.

The entire Obama family, including Barack's mother-in-law, joined kids and their families on the White House lawn to read books, shoot some hoops, and take part in healthy cooking demonstrations.

In an attempt to open up the event to more people, the Obama administration established an online lottery for tickets. They also invited scores of celebrities including Idina Menzel and Christian Bale.

Donald Trump's egg rolls included all of the event's classic markers, with several of the president's nine grandchildren in attendance.President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, their son Barron Trump, and members of the first family, at an Easter egg roll in 2017.

The Associated Press reported that 30,000 parents and children attended the White House Easter Egg Roll in 2018.

Several egg-free activities have joined the festivities over the years, including inflatable bowling.Guests participate in activities during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, April 2, 2018.

Melania Trump added inflatable bowling to the Easter Egg Roll in 2018.

At the 2019 Easter Egg Roll, Trump joined young attendees at the coloring table.President Donald Trump at the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll.

The event also featured Easter-egg hopscotch.

The annual Easter Egg Roll was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, and the Easter Bunny in 2021.

In 2021, the Bidens appeared on the balcony of the White House with the Easter Bunny, who was also wearing a face mask.

"The virus is not gone, and the second year in a row most will be apart from their families or friends and a full congregation to fill us with so much joy. But the Scripture tells us, 'Joy cometh in the morning,'" Biden said in his remarks.

The White House Easter Egg Roll returned in all its glory in 2021.President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden attend the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in 2022.

"We weren't able to host this Easter Egg Roll last year because of the pandemic. But this year, we're finally getting together again, and it's so special," President Biden told the crowd. "It means so much to see and hear the children and all the families show up to be here today. The joy, the laughter, and the occasional — at least with my young grandson, who's only 2 — the occasional, 'There's the Easter Bunny.' A little startled sometimes. But the joy and the laughter is something that has been a wonderful tradition here at the White House for a long, long time."

In keeping with the "EGGucation" theme, celebrity guests Jimmy Fallon and Kristin Chenoweth joined the president and first lady for story time in 2021.The Bidens with "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon at the 2022 White House Easter Egg Roll.

Fallon read a copy of his children's book "Nana Loves You More!"

At this year's Easter Egg Roll, the Bidens' youngest grandson, Beau, helped the first lady read "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"First lady Jill Biden sits with her grandson Beau Biden as she reads "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" to children in the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden in April 2023.

"Thank you Beau. Thank you for reading with Nana," the first lady said when she finished reading the book by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and husband Chasten Buttigieg brought their 1-year-old twins, Penelope and August.Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg takes a picture of his husband Chasten Buttigieg and their children Penelope Rose and Joseph August, at the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in April 2023.

Around 30,000 people attended the annual event, which was broken into nine sessions, according to a White House press release. Activities included the traditional egg roll as well as an egg hunt, talent show, a photo booth with costumed characters, and a dinosaur activity tent.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Russian economy is much worse than it appears as Moscow's data is a 'collection of lies and distortions,' economist says

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 2:47pm
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Russia's economic data is full of 'lies and distortions,' economist Alexei Bayer wrote.
  • Official stats from Moscow that show a resilient economy are more akin to propaganda, he added.
  • Consumer inflation should be at least 30% versus of the official rate of 11% in February.

In the year since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, official statistics from Moscow indicate a resilient economy that's largely withstood the impact of Western sanctions.

But independent economist Alexei Bayer said observers shouldn't place too much faith in those numbers.

"Russian economic statistics are a collection of lies and distortions," he wrote in the Jerusalem Post. "They are meant to convince people at home that their economy is chugging along despite the war, and people abroad that Western economic sanctions don't work and therefore should be rescinded. Many international economists, including official organizations, have bought into this type of Russian propaganda."

After the war began, analysts expected Russia's economy to contract by up to 15% in 2022, as Western sanctions would wear the country down. Instead, it shrank by at least 2.2%, according to best-case scenarios from the likes of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the OECD.

But those estimates are based on official data from the Russian government, said Bayer, who pointed to consumer inflation numbers.

While the official rate stood at around 11% in February — only 2 percentage points more than before the war started — he argued that this metric should be significantly higher, given that nearby Baltic states experienced bigger surges in their inflation.

Despite what Russian data shows, Bayer explained that sanctions must have had considerable consequences on the nation's supplies, as Russia was heavily dependent on food and component imports, especially from the West.

Productivity may have also dropped in the absence of components. Meanwhile, in the face of Moscow's war effort and citizen draft, firms may have had to lift wages to combat a shrinking labor market.

At the same time, the Kremlin's demand for food and clothing to fuel its invasion would also have meant a deeper supply shock. Even corruption premiums may have gone up, Bayer added, amid insecurity about the war.

"Taken together, all this suggests that Russia's consumer prices rose much faster in reality than in official statistics," he wrote. "At least by 30%. It is actually a conservative estimate."

Doubt in the validity of Russian metrics has popped up elsewhere, as Bloomberg recently reported that the country's claim of cutting back oil output by 700,000 barrels per day does not align with export data. 

And historically, economic data from the Kremlin has been unreliable, Bayer noted.

"During the Cold War, the CIA concluded, using Soviet statistics, that the Soviet Union had the world's second-largest economy," he wrote. "When communism collapsed, Russia's economy turned out to be not much larger than Portugal's."

Meanwhile, other economists have seen signs of deterioration, while also drawing Soviet parallels.

Russia's economy is becoming increasingly primitive as its war in Ukraine drags on, and the repercussions could push it down the same path the Soviet Union endured three decades ago, according to University of Chicago professor Konstantin Sonin.

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Americans are already feeling the effects of a credit crunch

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 2:46pm
A bank teller using a cash counting machine counting dollar bills in a bank branch.
  • A Monday New York Fed survey found that Americans' feel like their access to credit is deteriorating. 
  • Fed Chair Jerome Powell previously said the banking stress that started with Silicon Valley Bank could trigger a credit crunch.
  • The survey also found that Americans' inflation expectations increased at the short-term and medium-term, but decreased in the long-term.

Fed Chief Jerome Powell warned in March that the financial tumult that started with Silicon Valley Bank could eventually lead to a credit crunch — but Americans already say they feel the squeeze. 

A consumer expectations survey published Monday by the New York Federal Reserve found that an increasing number of US households perceive that their access to credit has deteriorated, with the share of respondents saying so reaching a new high. 

"Respondents were more pessimistic about future credit availability as well, with the share of households expecting it will be harder to obtain credit a year from now also rising," the New York Fed economists wrote.

As the chart below shows, the percentage of households that are finding it either "much harder" or "somewhat harder" to get credit is at the highest since at least 2014.

Additionally, the survey found that the perceived probability of missing a minimum debt payment in the next three months climbed 0.3% to 10.9%. That remains its 12-month trailing average of 11.4%, however.

Powell, for his part, had warned at the end of last month that the banking fallout could trigger a credit crunch with "significant" implications for an economy already expected to slow down.

"We'll be looking to see ... how serious is this and does it look like it's going to be sustained," Powell said at a press conference after the Fed's 25-basis-point rate hike. "It could easily have a significant macroeconomic effect, and we would factor that into our policies."

Securing a credit line had already become more difficult in the last year, with the Fed raising interest rates nine consecutive times.

In the fourth quarter of 2022 — before the collapse of SVB — nearly 45% of banks made it more difficult for businesses to get a commercial and industrial loan, according to a separate Fed survey of senior loan officers. 

"The credit crunch has started," Torsten Slok, chief economist at Apollo Global Management, said in response to the report

With multiple bank failures in March and regulators' introduction of a new emergency backstop, commentators have warned of more trouble ahead.

Tighter credit conditions means lenders raise the bar for borrowers, and households have to meet stricter parameters to obtain a loan. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

WATCH HERE: One Planet, an Insider spotlight event

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 2:34pm
  • This live conversation will introduce you to Insider's One Planet, the optimist's destination for climate action, and honor Earth Month with a conversation around climate action.
  • Learn what climate action means, what it looks like on a day-to-day basis, and how we move forward from here. 
  • Hear how optimism is not just about hope, but about willingness to change the status quo.


Watch the event hereSpeakers include
  • Elijah McKenzie-Jackson
    Co-founder, Waic Up, head artist, EMJearth, and climate justice activist, Fridays For Future
  • Lily Katzman
    Special Projects Editor, Insider
Resource link


Read the original article on Business Insider

Cheap new cars are going extinct while $60,000 SUVs and trucks flood the market

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 2:21pm
New vehicles had an average transaction price of $47,713 in March. Five years ago, that number was $35,794.
  • Last month, 17% of new vehicles sold were under $30,000, compared to 44% five years ago.
  • It's a sign that auto companies are prioritizing high-profit cars over cheaper starter cars.
  • It's bad news for the whole car-buying market, but especially those looking for a deal.

Automakers are abandoning entry-level vehicles, often called "starter cars" — and it's a problem not just for buyers looking for a less-expensive one amid today's sky-high interest rates, but all car shoppers. 

New vehicles had an average transaction price of $47,713 in March, according to Edmunds. Five years ago, that number was $35,794. 

Though those figures are averages, it's clear that lower-end vehicles are more costly than they used to be — a direction automakers have been moving in for years

The $60,000 car is having a moment — and may be here to stay

In 2018, 44% of new vehicles sold were under $30,000, per an Edmunds release. By last month, that number was only 17%. Edmunds called this the "rise of the $60,000 new vehicle."

Some of the more stark price increases include those for full-size trucks, 50% of which were over $60,000 last month compared to 5% five years ago; large SUVs, 94% of which sold for over $60,000 last month, up from 54% five years ago; and luxury midsize SUVs, 70% of which were above that price point, compared with just 31% five years ago. And it's hurting all types of consumers.

It's "profit-maximizing behavior due to the supply chain crisis," Tyson Jominy, J.D. Power VP of data and analytics, told Insider. "It's not indicative of demand, which is very strong below $30,000." 

Why is there a pricing crisis?

There are a few reasons automakers have gone this route. Part of it is related to the pandemic-induced inventory challenges brought on by the chip shortage

"They shifted their focus of chips onto the things that the customers wanted the most," Whitney Yates-Woods, dealer principal of Yates Buick GMC in Goodyear, Arizona, said of automakers like GM — which includes larger vehicles and trucks. "But that meant that some of the cheaper stuff went by the wayside."

Some of this has been going on since before COVID, especially as many automakers discontinued sedans several years earlier. Low interest rates plus longer loan terms had car-buyers embracing tech-equipped luxury trucks and SUVs. 

Profit, as Jominy pointed out, is also a key factor — and automakers are even willing to sacrifice market share for it. 

"The more economical vehicle market they're exiting as they find that profits are much greater on these higher dollar heavier units," Scott Kunes, COO of Kunes Auto and RV Group, which owns more than 40 dealerships in the Midwest, told Insider earlier this year. 

"There is definitely a void happening in the market for those vehicles," Kunes added. 

What car buyers can look out for

The used market isn't much better, Kunes noted, "which really puts a lot of pressure on that lower-end market, and there's no manufacturers really stepping up to fill that void."

While many shoppers have indicated they are willing to pay more for luxury vehicles and upscale features, the new and used vehicle cost dynamics, coupled with today's interest rates, are pricing a lot of other shoppers out of the car-buying market entirely. 

It means many are holding on to their vehicles for longer; the average age of a car hit about 12 years recently. 

"The lower-end models that they're not building are what's needed. And whoever starts to build those will start to capture some more market share," Ambrose Conroy, CEO at supply chain and manufacturing management consultancy Seraph, told Insider in February. 

"I think the Hyundais, Kias of this world are very well positioned, whereas the GMs who have moved away from the 'every man's car' are going to struggle," Conroy added. "If they focus purely on luxury cars and high-end SUVs that cost $100,000, there are only so many people that can afford those."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Chick-fil-A fans are so extreme that the chain can't even take a side salad off its menu without fans freaking out

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 2:15pm
Chick-fil-A is reversing its decision to eliminate its side salad.
  • Chick-fil-A is keeping its side salad on the menu "at participating locations," the chain said.
  • Fans said the salad was a key reason they kept visiting the fried chicken restaurant.
  • The move reverses Chick-fil-A's decision last month to retire the side salad from its lineup.

The latest change at Chick-fil-A isn't about a chicken sandwich or free food — it's about a side salad.

The fast-food chain is reversing course and keeping the salad on its menu, the restaurant chain said on Friday. In March, Chick-fil-A said that it planned to stop serving the side salad in an effort to streamline its menu. 

"In an effort to simplify and refresh our menu, we made the difficult decision to remove the Side Salad from our menus earlier this month," the chain said. "However, based on feedback, we've chosen to continue serving the Side Salad at participating restaurant locations."

A Chick-fil-A spokeswoman told Insider that "participating locations" means "the locations that are currently serving the side salad will continue to serve them."

Chick-fil-A's side salad is beloved by certain diners.

The salad is one of the most unassuming items on Chick-fil-A's menu. It consists of "fresh bed of mixed greens" with two kinds of cheese, grape tomatoes, charred tomatoes, red bell peppers, and dressing, according to the restaurant chain's website.

But fans made their appreciation for the salad clear on social media after Chick-fil-A announced that it would be discontinued.

One Chick-fil-A restaurant in Georgia posted about the salad's ouster on Facebook, which attracted commenters who were unhappy with the move.

 "A lot of people eat that salad with nuggets," one commenter wrote.

"I go to CFA much less frequently since you took my beloved coleslaw off your menu," another wrote.
When I do go, I order a side salad with my chicken sandwich. If you ditch the salad, you'll lose me entirely."

It's not the first time that fans of a fast-food restaurant have gotten credit for bringing a menu item back.

Last year, Taco Bell brought back the Mexican pizza to its menu after a two-year hiatus. The chain had eliminated the pizza and several other items to make way for new ones in 2020.

But the item returned to menus after fans showed interest, from posting TikTok videos asking for its return to creating recipes that mimic the dish. When the Mexican pizza returned in May, it sold out, prompting Taco Bell to pull it again temporarily to source enough ingredients to meet demand.

Last fall, KFC said it would bring back wraps that combined its chicken with coleslaw and mac and cheese in a pilot after roughly a decade of fans asking for them. The chain has since rolled out the wraps to all its US stores.

Fast-food chains regularly remove items with less demand from their menu. In 2020, chains like McDonald's offered a limited menu to streamline operations in the early months of the pandemic.

Read the original article on Business Insider

'The credit crunch has started': Here's what tighter lending standards mean for American consumers and businesses as banks navigate the SVB wreckage

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 2:09pm
Banks began raising lending standards again in 2022.
  • The blow-up of SVB and Signature Bank is stoking concerns that standards to obtain a loan will become even tougher. 
  • Lenders started raising the bar for borrowers last year when the Fed started raising interest rates. 
  • "Each bank is going to apply those credit standards differently," a source told Insider. 

Securing a loan or a credit line has gotten tougher since the Federal Reserve started jacking up interest rates, but the recent banking crisis is raising concerns that lending standards will tighten even further, resulting in a potentially harmful credit crunch.

Nearly 45% of banks made it more difficult for businesses to obtain commercial and industrial loans in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the Federal Reserve's survey of senior loan officers. The $2.8 trillion C&I loan market helps businesses buy equipment and hire staff, among other uses. Requiring higher minimum credit scores and minimum repayments and curbing credit limits were among tweaks banks were making. 

That tightening was happening before the blow-up of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank kickstarted a run of at least $500 billion in deposits out of small and mid-sized banks. 

With lending a vital part of economic growth, investors are watching to see how risk-averse banks and other lenders will become. 

A Dallas Federal Reserve Bank survey released this week gave markets a snapshot of what's happened at regional financial institutions since the bank failures. Lending to consumers dropped and credit standards and terms "continued to tighten sharply," with marked rises in loan pricing.

"The credit crunch has started," Torsten Slok, chief economist at Apollo Global Management, declared in response to the Dallas Fed's report

But what does a tighter credit environment actually look like for borrowers?

First, what's a credit crunch?

A "dramatic worsening of firm and consumer access to bank credit," is how a 2014 paper on the Federal Reserve's website describes a credit crunch.

Banks have two key concerns, Brett House, professor of professional practice in economics at Columbia Business School, told Insider.

The first is if borrowers facing higher interest rates can afford to repay and service their loans. The second is centered on a bank's own ability to maintain liquidity so that if depositors pull their money, they have the cash to meet those demands.

That lays the groundwork for banks to protect liquidity which can feed into higher hurdles for potential borrowers and spill into a credit crunch. 

"Many more lenders were tightening at the beginning of 2023 and that's only going to continue," Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at, told Insider. 

Tightening standards 

The Fed survey found a significant net share of banks raising lending standards for credit card loans, and a moderate share toughening requirements for auto and other consumer loans.

"There's no hard and fast regulatory rule on these things. Each bank is going to apply those credit standards differently," said House.

The median consumer credit score is 700, so loan seekers with that score or higher should land approvals and receive competitive rates, said McBride.

House said lenders may also look for long employment histories, solid and upper levels of income and consider if they have lengthy relationships with prospective borrowers.  

"It may mean you need to have higher assets in order to reassure the bank that if you lose a job, get sick, or see some other dent in your income that you have the assets to pull on to maintain the loan payments," he said.  

"It's a big moving target" said McBride. "And a lot of those details they keep close to the vest for competitive reasons." 

Tighter lending standards may have a big impact on floating-rate loans versus fixed loans, CFRA equity analyst Alexander Yokum told Insider. The average mortgage rate paid by most Americans has "barely gone up" as they bought homes before the Fed's latest rate cycle began. 

"Whereas with credit cards, almost all floating [rates], so the average rate that consumers are now paying on credit cards has gone up substantially," he said. 

Credit card balances in the fourth quarter rose by $61 billion to $986 billion, surpassing a pre-pandemic high,  according to the New York Federal Reserve data. The NY Fed said the share of current debt shifting into delinquency rose for almost all types of debt. 

Defaults should be more pronounced at lower-income households, said Yokum. Those workers logged big wage gains during the pandemic but since then, inflation has outstripped their pay.  That means lenders are unlikely to view them as strongly as they would have a few years ago, he said. 

"I still think if you're at the high-end of [income earners], it's not difficult to get a loan," Yokum said. 

People who have credit scores below 620 have difficulty getting loans "even in the best of times," said McBride.  "There aren't as many lenders in that market, the terms aren't as favorable and when credit is tightening that becomes even more the case," he said.

A Federal Reserve chart shows the percentage of banks tightening standards for business loans.Read the original article on Business Insider

How to fall in love with your 9-to-5 again

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 2:01pm
To find joy in your work experts and quiet quitters advise reworking your schedule, finding opportunities outside the office, and communicating with your manager.
  • Employee engagement dropped last year and experts say this could hurt workers' mental health.
  • Enjoying your time at work is a crucial part of happiness and life satisfaction, Insider reported.
  • Employees and career coaches share trips for creating workplace satisfaction.

"Quiet quitting" went viral last year when workers across age groups and industries began speaking publicly about their burnout remedies. While quiet quitting has several meanings, depending on who you ask, many define the term as simply doing what's expected of you at work – nothing more, nothing less. 

In June 2022, at least 50% of workers across the country were quiet-quitting, according to a poll by Gallup. Many quiet quitters fit Gallop's definition of being "not engaged" at work because, if they only do the minimum required, they are psychologically detached from their jobs. However, worker engagement is on a downward trajectory. 

Engagement for employees 35 years and younger dropped from 40% in 2020 to 33% in 2022, while engagement for workers over 35 dipped from 35% to 32% in the same time frame, according to Gallop. Meanwhile, experts warn that being engaged with and enjoying your time at work is crucial in maintaining your mental health and happiness, Insider reported. 

Insider spoke with employees and career coaches to understand how workers can find a balance between being engaged and avoiding burning out. They say restructuring their days and finding alternative ways to meet their job requirements have resulted in an uptick in happiness, productivity, and a desire to stay in their roles. 

"That awareness of knowing that maybe I don't have to do as much as I thought I did is making me feel better," said Tay L, a corporate lawyer and quiet quitter who asked Insider not to use her last name to prevent any conflicts with her employer. "It's helping me not burn out as much, and I'm actually doing a better job at work because I'm not resentful or tired all the time." 

Focusing on work-life balance, taking inventory of the most and least enjoyable tasks, and embracing the essential parts of a role can help create workplace satisfaction, especially for those who can't afford to or don't want to leave their positions.

Set a daily schedule based on work and personal priorities

To find time in the day for both the tasks that are required and the tasks that make you feel fulfilled, restructure your calendar, said Bridgitt Haarsgaard, the founder and CEO of The GAARD Group, a corporate-leadership-training company.  

"For the things that are really important, or the things that you really like, try to structure those around your most energetic times of day," Haarsgaard told Insider.

For example, Haarsgaard feels the most energized in the mornings, so she will start her day by doing the work that motivates her.

Additionally, Tay L, whose typical workday goes from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., suggests scheduling time for yourself throughout the day. For her, if there's a chunk of her day without meetings or deadlines, she'll put a personal meeting on her calendar. 

"Send yourself a meeting invite just for an hour or two to go walk outside and stretch your legs. Take a workout class," she said. "I pencil it into my calendar so that I prioritize the things that I need for myself." 

Setting these boundaries and being intentional with her schedule have helped her mental health tenfold and kept her accountable and productive while working, she said.

Prioritize professional development 

It can be frustrating to feel stuck in a position you don't love while you watch former colleagues move on to new opportunities, but Lupe Colangelo, a career coach and outcomes manager at General Assembly, says sticking around can lead to greater fulfillment down the line. 

For example, if you're unhappy in your role, Colangelo suggests taking classes or workshops to strengthen your skills in areas that interest you. That way, you'll be ready for a job that better aligns with your wants and skills. 

Lynn Luong, founder of a career development startup, suggests volunteering or seeking out internal professional-development opportunities. For example, some companies offer workers the chance to pursue pro-bono or community work as volunteers, Huong said. Take on these more fulfilling roles if you're looking "to still be succeeding in your work and furthering yourself but in the guise of that 9-to-5," Luong said.

Pursuing external goals can also help fill professional voids, Tay L said. 

"Sometimes people think that their job is their entire identity," she said, adding that while her role was once her dream job, quiet quitting and starting a side hustle had helped her see the "bigger picture" — including discovering other passions. 

"Having this other thing that really makes me feel like I have a purpose was even more incentive to set boundaries," she said. "Now when I'm working, I'm focused on work, but I'm super efficient in getting work done so I can focus on my business." 

Communicate your needs with your manager

People don't usually leave bad jobs; "they leave bad managers," Arika Pierce, a freelance career and leadership coach, said.

A toxic boss and work environment are what drove Danielle Farage to leave her previous employer, she said. After leaving that job, she said she found a team that respected her. But that didn't come without being assertive and clear with what she needed as an employee, said Farage, who now works as the director of marketing at the human-resources-technology startup Café.

She started by crafting a list of concrete goals and requesting that her boss review them with her. 

"That's so tangible to ask for, and it's also not too much work for them because you're the one coming up with the goals," Farage said. 

Beyond professional goals, it's also important to share personal needs. Living in a New York City apartment, Farage told her manager she felt stuck working from home every day. She asked whether the company would help pay for an alternative workspace, and it accepted.

In the new coworking space, she's been able to find community and motivation, which has helped with her workplace productivity and enjoyment, she said. 

Taking initiative on both professional and personal priorities has prevented Farage from quiet-quitting because she feels in control of her situation, she added.

"One of the best ways to evoke change in a company is to be the one to take initiative," Farage said.

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Billy McFarland, a year out of prison, says Fyre Festival II is 'finally happening'

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 2:00pm
Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland tweeted on Sunday about a possible "Fyre Festival II."
  • Billy McFarland, creator of the failed Fyre Festival, teased a possible resurgence of the event.
  • In a tweet Sunday, McFarland asked Twitter users why they should be invited to "Fyre Festival II."
  • McFarland has been out of prison for a year after being released early from a six-year sentence.

Billy McFarland, the creator behind the failed Fyre Festival, is floating the idea of a possible follow-up.

"Fyre Festival II is finally happening," McFarland said in a tweet on Sunday.

He also asked Twitter users to let him know why they deserved an invite.

—Billy McFarland (@pyrtbilly) April 10, 2023

McFarland hasn't revealed any further details about a potential follow-up to Fyre Festival, and didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for additional comment ahead of publication.

But he has been active in the replies to his tweet about the follow-up festival, replying to tech cofounder Chris Bakke, who tweeted out a screenshot appearing to show the Fyre Festival creator personally inviting him to "Fyre Fest II." Bakke didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment on whether McFarland discussed any further details over text. 

"Going to crush the island version first, but @ElonMusk Fyre 3 definitely needs to be in space," McFarland replied on Twitter.

McFarland has been out of prison for a year now

Last March, McFarland was released early from his six-year prison sentence, following his guilty plea to charges of wire fraud and a forfeiture order of $26 million after being accused of defrauding more than 100 investors in the 2017 Fyre Festival. 

—Billy McFarland (@pyrtbilly) March 26, 2023


Back in 2017, McFarland sold over 5,000 tickets to what he claimed would be a two-weekend luxury music festival on a private beach on the island of Great Exuma in the Bahamas. McFarland, along with rapper and co-founder Ja Rule, recruited influencers like Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski, and Hailey Bieber to promote the event. (Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, said he was scammed himself and was later dismissed from a $100-million class action lawsuit brought by attendees, according to The Guardian.)

According to the BBC, tickets for the festival were on sale for up to $75,000, which were said to include luxury accommodations like eco-friendly "domes and villas."

The reality proved disastrous. The failed music festival left hundreds of attendees stranded at the venue in the Bahamas without adequate food, water, shelter, or even the musical acts that had been promised as big names like Blink-182, Pusha T, and Lil Yachty had backed out days prior to the event's start. 

Photos and videos of the infamous event made the rounds on social media throughout the weekend. Stranded attendees posted photos of the disappointing meals, accommodations, and transportation lines.

Since then, the aftermath of the event has spawned two documentaries from Netflix and Hulu, the latter of which McFarland participated in.

As detailed in Netflix's 2019 documentary, "Fyre," Bahamian locals that constructed the festival and helped cater the food said they were never compensated for their work. After the documentary was released, GoFundMe pages raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the caterers and day laborers. 

While McFarland agreed, as part of his plea deal, to never serve as a director of a public company again, he has spoken about his ambitions to work in the tech industry.  

Shortly after his release from serving four years in prison, McFarland announced his next startup, PYRT, on the "Full Send Podcast" last November.  He told the podcast hosts PYRT would include a hotel, events, "treasure hunts," and merch.

The tweet from Sunday isn't the first time McFarland's alluded to undertaking another festival. On the podcast from November, McFarland also mentioned a possible PYRT fest. 

"So I have to do a PYRT fest, right? It can't be tomorrow, it can't be in four months, but there's going to be PYRT fest," McFarland told the "Full Send" podcast hosts.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The State of Payment Methods: More Choice and Economic Changes Are Affecting How Consumers Spend

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 2:00pm
  • Cash and checks are declining but not disappearing.
  • Debit, credit, and prepaid cards will compete for growing digital spending.
  • FedNow's launch could increase the prominence of bank-based payments and intensify competition.

Although debit still reigns supreme, with consumer preferences moving toward digital, cash and checks will continue to be displaced in the US. 

Consumer interest has been skewing toward digital alternatives, and cash is taking a major hit: Less than one-fifth (19.0%) of US adults cited cash as their preferred method for in-person spending in 2021, according to the Federal Reserve Banks. Younger consumers and fewer low-value purchases are driving the dissipation of cash. But even though cash usage is dwindling, the Federal Reserve reports that 79% of US adults still hold cash daily. It is suspected that the wide availability of ATMs, state requirements for stores to accept cash, and typical weekly purchases among Black and Hispanic adults will keep cash from completely fizzling out. 

Along with cash, checks are trending downward: In October 2021, just 46% of US adults stated that they had used a check in the past 30 days, according to the Federal Reserve. Generally, consumers use checks for infrequent, high-value transactions. However, with the increasing availability of online bill pay and mobile peer-to-peer payment apps, digitization and convenience are hastening the check decline. Additionally, business transactions made with checks plummeted to 33.0% in North America last year due to a need for more efficient reconciliation, better fraud control, and cost savings, according to an Association for Financial Professionals survey. 

Cash and check usage may be dwindling, but debit and credit cards are seeing upticks among economic uncertainty. With that being said, an estimated 82% of US adults have access to a debit card, per Pulse, making growth difficult. For credit cards, the risk lies in the ability for consumers to make minimum payments paired with less frequent high-ticket purchases as concerns about inflation and job security persist. In order to circumvent these risks and keep consumers spending, issuers are beefing up their rewards programs. 

Another winner of the pandemic has been buy now, pay later (BNPL) as it combines the flexibility of credit with short repayment terms, app-based shopping, and a simple user experience. So long as consumers are struggling to make ends meet, merchant acceptance rates continue to increase, and new entrants improve accessibility, BNPL will keep growing and threatening the use of credit cards. 

As consumers become more concerned about the economy and job security while also steadily adopting new digital solutions, we are seeing shifts away from traditional payment methods. Curious to learn more about the state of payment methods? Click here to purchase this report directly from Insider Intelligence. Looking for more data? Click here to purchase The Payments Ecosystem 2023 collection.

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Why economists study hemline lengths and men's underwear sales for clues we could be headed for a recession

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 1:54pm
The hemline index says that as the economy gets worse, skirts get longer.
  • Economists have tracked all sorts of buying behavior over the years that indicates the health of the economy. 
  • For example, one measure called the lipstick index says that people buy more little luxuries, like lipstick, when the economy is worse. 
  • These measures aren't foolproof and some are even downright wacky. But they could be a fun way to gauge which direction the economy is heading. 
Lipstick index

What is it? 

The creation of the lipstick index is widely attributed to Leonard Lauder, one of the billionaire heirs to the Estée Lauder cosmetics fortune. 

Back in 2001, when the US economy was in the throes of a recession, Lauder noticed that lipstick sales were actually rising, not falling. Lauder's theory was that lipstick sales and the health of the economy were in inverse proportion to one another — essentially, as the economy got worse, lipstick sales got better.

Can it actually predict a recession? 

The lipstick index has borne out several times throughout history. Lipstick sales at mass retailers were up 11% back when Lauder invented the index; some of the world's biggest cosmetics brands reported a sales boost in 2008 as the US headed into a recession; and even though high inflation has stayed a constant in the US over the past several months, beauty sales have boomed

Still, lipstick probably isn't a reliable recession indicator — there are plenty of times when cosmetics sales have boomed during times of relative economic prosperity and dipped during downturns

Underwear index

What is it? 

The men's underwear index was probably made most famous by former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan. The theory states that when the economy worsens, men will stop buying new underwear, since it's a garment most people won't see on a daily basis. Then, when the economic outlook improves, they'll start replacing their boxers or briefs again. 

Can it actually predict a recession? 

It's not foolproof, but there are instances where Greenspan's theory was correct. Men's underwear sales dipped in 2008 and 2009, during the Great Recession, and rose between 2010 and 2015, according to Euromonitor data. US sales of men's underwear also dipped dramatically in 2020 amid the uncertainty of the pandemic before rebounding in 2021, Bloomberg data shows

Hemline index

What is it? 

Developed in the 1920s, the hemline index asserts that skirts and dresses get shorter when the economy is doing well and longer during a downturn. 

Can it actually predict a recession? 

Almost certainly not, but there are times when the theory has been proven out. The mini skirt became trendy in the 1960s while the economy was booming, but when the oil crisis hit in the 1970s, skirts got longer again, as Bloomberg noted. And in early 2022, the ultra-mini skirt, also called the micro mini, was the "it" item for spring — now, after months of sky-high inflation and renewed fears about an impending recession, the ankle-length maxi skirt is one of spring's hottest trends

Cardboard box indicator

What is it? 

The thinking goes that cardboard boxes can act as a barometer for the health of the economy, since they play such a crucial role in transporting goods — not just to consumers who buy things online, but to stores and warehouses that receive those goods in bulk. That means that if demand for cardboard is slowing, consumers are buying less stuff. 

Can it actually predict a recession? 

This indicator is more accurate than some of the others, since there's such a direct correlation between cardboard demand and consumer purchasing. Back in early 2009, as the US was in the midst of a recession, cardboard shipments declined drastically and US cardboard manufacturers' operating rates dipped as well. A similar trend arose in early 2023: the Fibre Box Association, a trade group that represents the industry, reported that cardboard shipments had fallen 8.4% in the fourth quarter of 2022, the steepest decline since the financial crisis.

Diaper rash indicator

What is it? 

Diapering a baby is a costly endeavor for parents — to the tune of $500 to $900 annually — and during economic hard times, some parents may be forced to ration diapers to save money.

But when you change a baby's diaper less frequently, there's a higher chance the baby will develop diaper rash, leading to increased sales of ointment to treat it. The lower diaper sales and higher ointment sales can serve as a clue that the economy is contracting.

Can it actually predict a recession? 

There are examples of this indicator coming into play during periods of belt-tightening. The trend began during tough economic times in 2011, when parents cut back on buying diapers or traded down to cheaper brands at the same time that ointment sales rose 8%, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time. 

But the index isn't airtight: the birth rate was declining around the same time, diaper technology improved to show parents whether a diaper was wet or not, and parents had begun potty training earlier in an effort to cut costs, the Journal reported. 

Champagne index

What is it? 

The Champagne index is basically the inverse of the lipstick index: when the economy is bad, people will stop buying as much Champagne and opt for cheaper alcohol instead. 

Can it actually predict a recession? 

It's played out before. Prior to the 2008 recession, US sales of Champagne surpassed 23 million bottles, but by 2009, that number had dipped to 12.5 million, according to UC Berkeley's Business Review.

The index may be more closely tied to societal sentiment more broadly, however, since fewer celebrations means fewer occasions for bubbly. Indeed, Champagne sales dropped 18% by volume in 2020, CIVC, a champagne industry trade group, reported at the time. Then, in 2021, as travel and socializing began to resume, sales of Champagne reached a record high of $5.7 billion, 14% higher than the pre-pandemic record.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Activist investors just had their busiest quarter ever as they looked to capitalize on weak share prices globally

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 1:30pm
  • Activist investors had their busiest quarter ever, with slumping share prices stoking campaigners, the FT said. 
  • Fights against Disney and Salesforce were among boardroom battles, although US activity fell 30%. 
  • A South Korean firm was the most prolific and took on K-pop music pioneer SM Entertainment. 

Activist investors worldwide have had their busiest quarter on record, with slumping share prices stoking campaigners to buy what they see as undervalued stocks and then putting their newfound power toward pushing for changes, according to a Financial Times report

The upswing took place after activists pared back work during the height of the COVID pandemic, then returned when stocks worldwide slid on a mix of factors including company-specific issues and rising interest rates. 

During the first quarter, 83 new campaigns were launched, the report said, citing data collected by Barclays. For the first time, campaigns in Europe and Asia accounted for more than 50% of overall activity.

South Korea's Align Partner was the most prolific activist investor during the first quarter, launching eight campaigns, including a high-profile battle against SM Entertainment, whose founder Lee Soo-Man is credited with bringing K-pop music to worldwide audiences with acts including BoA, Super Junior and EXO. 

US activity was down 30% year over year. Walt Disney's short proxy battle started by Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund Management was among the boardroom battles. Peltz in February said Trian would end its three-month proxy fight against Disney after CEO Bob Iger unveiled restructuring efforts, including layoffs and other cost cuts. Peltz reportedly made a $150 million paper profit from his battle against Disney. 

In other action, hedge fund Elliott Management in January took a multibillion-dollar stake in Salesforce, as the cloud-software maker dealt with layoffs and a management shake-up.

And last month, billionaire investor Carl Icahn was pushing forward with a proxy fight against Illumina, as he wants the company to divest cancer test developer Grail Inc. The Federal Trade Commission last week ordered Illumina, a maker of gene-sequencing machines, to divest Grail. 

The FT report said the landscape for boardroom battles may be reset after the Securities and Exchange Commission last year introduced a so-called universal proxy card, which must include all director nominees presented by management and investors for election at shareholder meetings. 

The rules will "enhance shareholder democracy," SEC Commissioner Gary Gensler said in November. "It will put investors voting in person and by proxy on equal footing. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

DA Alvin Bragg's one-time rival explains why he was '100 percent right' to leave a gaping hole in Trump's indictment

Mon, 04/10/2023 - 1:28pm
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
  • The Manhattan DA was sharply criticized for omitting key details that would justify upgrading the charges from misdemeanors to felonies.
  • Bragg's approach appears to be a deliberate strategy to choose among four different secondary crimes later on.
  • A 30-year veteran of the DA's office told Insider that Bragg will lay the specifics out in a so-called "bill of particulars" down the road.

Shortly after the Manhattan district attorney's office unsealed its 34-count felony indictment against former President Donald Trump, questions started pouring in.

To prove that Trump committed felony falsification of business records, as opposed to a misdemeanor, state prosecutors would need to show that he did so in order to commit or cover up a second crime.

And former prosecutors — some of them veterans of the Manhattan DA's office — wondered: why didn't DA Alvin Bragg include any information about a secondary crime in such a high-stakes case?

One 30-year veteran of the DA's office said Bragg's approach, however, is less an omission than a deliberate strategy. It's an approach that Diana Florence, who worked in the DA's office for three decades as a prosecutor focusing on white-collar crime, said was "100 percent the right way to charge this."

"When you have an indictment, anything you put in the indictment, you must prove it," Florence, who ran against Bragg for DA in 2021, told Insider in an interview. She added that so-called "speaking indictments" in cases like Trump's are very rare — they're generally more common in conspiracy and racketeering cases that require a long narrative of alleged criminal acts.

Indeed, when reporters asked Bragg about the underlying crimes at a news conference following Trump's arraignment, the DA said his office chose not to include those details because it wasn't required by law to do so.

"We are not going to go into our deliberative process on what was brought," the DA said. "The charges that were brought were the ones that were brought. The evidence and the law is the basis for those decisions."

Bragg laid out 4 alleged underlying crimes in post-arraignment presser

Though Bragg didn't include the specifics of Trump's alleged underlying crimes in the charging documents, he laid them out in his post-arraignment news conference.

Trump's alleged scheme — coordinating a $130,000 hush-money payment to the adult film star Stormy Daniels — violated New York state law, "which makes it a crime to conspire to promote a candidacy by unlawful means," Bragg said.

Second, the alleged scheme violated federal election laws because the hush-money payment "exceeded the federal campaign contribution cap," Bragg said.

Third, the DA alleged that Trump also broke New York laws when he and his then-lawyer Michael Cohen worked with the publisher American Media Inc. on a "catch-and-kill" scheme, and AMI falsely characterized payments made as part of the scheme in its accounting books.

The fourth underlying crime alleged by Bragg related to false statements "that were planned to be made to tax authorities."

Bragg elaborated on that alleged underlying falsehood in a statement of facts included as an addendum to the indictment. Cohen had admitted to acting as a bag man for the hush-money payment, wiring his own personal funds to Daniels' lawyer less than two weeks before the 2016 election.

The tax falsehood allegedly arose the following year. That's when Allen Weisselberg, then the Trump Organization's chief bookkeeper, characterized Trump's repayment of the hush money as taxable income for Cohen, instead of as the reimbursement it actually was, Bragg's office alleged in the statement of facts.

Florence told Insider that "these underlying misdemeanors are elements of the crime of falsifying business records in the first degree" — which is what Trump was ultimately charged with — "but the law does not require you to name them."

"Though Bragg doesn't have to name them now, he will down the road," she said. "Now, you can't ride this train forever, right? There's a point where you have to pick a theory" and inform the defense that prosecutors allege that business records were falsified to conceal a specific, underlying tax or election crime, which Bragg said Tuesday that his office will do.

Those will be put on paper when the DA submits to the defense a so-called "bill of particulars," Florence said.

'The case will go forward'

Trump's defense team, for its part, is expected to try to get the case dismissed.

"The indictment itself is boilerplate," Trump lawyer Todd Blanche told reporters after the ex-president's arraignment. "It's really disappointing. It's sad, and we'll fight it."

Legal experts recently told Insider that, based on their public statements and media reporting, Trump's attorneys will likely roll out three key defense strategies: hammering Bragg for not including any underlying crimes in the indictment itself; alleging that Bragg's office is bringing a selective and politically motivated case; and shredding Cohen's credibility as a witness given that he's an admitted felon.

"The prosecution is boxed in at this stage of the game," Ty Cobb, who served as White House special counsel during the Trump administration, told Insider. "They've got the indictment, they have to defend it. They're gonna be totally reactive and the strategic opportunities available to the defense are pretty extreme."

But experts said that, whatever the flaws in the charging document may be, Trump's team likely won't be successful in getting the case dismissed, which means the former president will be headed toward a blockbuster trial.

"I think there's enough there to get the indictment through motions to dismiss," Kevin O'Brien, a former federal prosecutor who specializes in white-collar criminal defense, said of the charges. "The case will go forward."

Read the original article on Business Insider

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