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Amazon places lobbyist in Georgia amid search for HQ2 home

The backdrop: Georgia is home to the corporate hub of Amazon Web Services ... just weeks after the Japanese giant (via its Vision Fund) plugged $450 million into real estate platform Compass and three months after its massive WeWork investment.

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Future of Work Link copied to clipboard. Get Axios in your inbox Subscribe (function() { // If the referrer is facebook or twitter, show the follow module. if(/facebook\.com|twitter\.com|t\.co/.exec(document.referrer)) { document.querySelector('.stream-social-cta').className += " is-active"; } })() Get The Future of Work Newsletter We’ll email you every Sunday with the most important news in robotics, artificial intelligence, and the global economy. Submit Thanks for signing up for Future of Work! You’ve successfully signed up for our Future of Work newsletter. function validateEmail(email) { var re = /\S+@\S+\.\S+/; return re.test(email); } rblms.require(['jquery'], function($) { var section_id = $('.topic-alert').data('section_id'), isAlert = !$('.topic-alert.topic-newsletter').length; if (!section_id) { console.log("Not valid section!"); return; } function bindTopicSubscribe() { $('.topic-alert__submit-btn').removeClass('is-disabled').on('click', function() { var $input = $('.topic-alert__input'), email = $input.val(); if ( !validateEmail(email) ) { console.log("Please enter your email!"); $input.addClass('input-invalid'); return; } var url = '/core/newsletter/sections/' + section_id + '/subscription/'+(isAlert ? 'alert' : 'newsletter') + '/email/' + email + '/'; $.ajax({ type: "POST", url: url, success: function(rsp) { if (rsp.status === 'OK') { $('.topic-alert__form').addClass('hidden'); $('.topic-alert__feedback').removeClass('hidden'); } else { console.log("Request failed with:", rsp.status); } }, error: function(rsp) { if (rsp.status === 400) { console.log("Request failed with:", rsp.responseText); } else { console.log("Request failed with:", rsp.status); } } }); }); } bindTopicSubscribe(); }); Steve LeVine 10 hrs ago Featured Retail bankruptcies soared in 2017 Big-box stores are dropping like fliesAs of November, the amount of shuttered U.Sretail space was already 16% higher than the Great Recession year 2008, according to CoStar, a real estate research firmAnd 43% of the 2017 closures—or 43 million square feet of space—were big-box stores like Sears and Macy's. But the more dramatic retail story of the year was bankruptcies, which are at a six-year high, according to S&P GlobalAs of Dec14, 50 U.Sretailers had filed for bankruptcy in 2017, higher than the 47 in all of last yearThat includes 21 major retailers (see chart below), more than double the nine that filed for bankruptcy in 2016The numbers are surging toward the peaks of the post-financial crash period, when, in 2010 and 2011, retail bankruptcies totaled 67 and 59, respectively. var pymParent = new pym.Parent('av-2017-12-20-retail-bankruptcy', '', {}); Reproduced from a Retail Dive report; Table: Axios Visuals Future of Work Link copied to clipboard. Steve LeVine 10 hrs ago Featured U.Smalls are closing because there are too many of them In October, Sears Canada said it is closingThis store is in Toronto(Photo: Rene Johnston / Toronto Star via Getty Images) The painful truth about the retail bloodletting is that it's been a long time comingSince about 2003, when they went on a construction tear, American builders have lived by the Field of Dreams rule: build it and customers will comeNow, there are way too many stores, and way too much space devoted to them: Credit Suisse says a quarter of American malls — up to 275 of them — will shut over the next five years; CoStar, the real estate research firm, tells Axios that the excess is more like 150 Quick take: "What we are seeing going on is Darwinism at play," says CoStar's Ryan McCullough"We believe that all these closures will have a healthy impact on the industry, but there will be a disruptive process till we get there." Keep reading ..words By the numbers: There are about 1,190 malls in the U.SAmerican retail as a whole is overbuilt—Americans have far more indoor shopping space than anyone else on the planetAs of a year ago, that was 23.5 square feet per personTwo next two on the list — Canada and Australia — have 16.4 and 11.1, respectively The bottom line: Analysts view this as an issue of productivity — sales divided by space, more or lessBy that measure, American retail productivity as a whole is 7.5% below the long-term average, McCullough says; for retail, the shortfall is 13%To get back to the average, 150 million square feet of mall space — adding up to 150 malls — "need to go away," he saysOverall, retail needs to close down 1.5 billion share feet of spaceMcCullough doesn't think the result will be so many malls closing, but a lot of individual stores shutting their doors across the whole population of malls Show less Future of Work Link copied to clipboard. Steve LeVine 10 hrs ago Featured Lawsuits may seek hundreds of billions from opioid makers Opioid overdose in Warren, Ohio(Photo: Spencer Platt / Getty Images) The city of Detroit yesterday joined a torrent of an estimated 400 cities, counties and states suing opioid makersTheir main allegation: the companies are complicit in an addiction crisis that has killed about 37,000 people in the U.Sin just the 12-month period ending in May, or 103 per day Read this statistic: When you add in heroin, to which opioid addicts often turn because it's cheaper and often easier to obtain, the 12-month number of opioid deaths through May exceeds 53,000, meaning 145 people per dayMore suits will be filed this week in Illinois, and Paul Hanly, one of the leading lawyers for the plaintiffs, tells Axios that the number of cases will rise to almost 1,000 by this time next year, a deliberate strategy of driving the opioid-makers to the negotiating tableThe suits, first filed in 2014, have vastly accelerated pace this yearIn a settlement, Hanly said, "we're talking tens of billions if not hundreds of billions for a nationwide resolution." The lawyers' model is 1990s litigation that led to a $246 billion settlement with Big Tobacco under similar allegations. Keep reading ..words Any settlement, Hanly said, is meant to reimburse localities for services like ambulance, hospitalization and, too often, morgues, funeral homes and cemeteries.The lawsuits list Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, the principal opioid on the market; Janssen Pharmaceuticals; Endo and othersIn September, Purdue filed motions to dismiss lawsuits filed by the states of Ohio and WisconsinIf it wins, the company presumably will use that as a model for its defense In a statement given to Axios, Purdue said, "We are deeply troubled by the prescription and illicit opioid abuse crisis, and are dedicated to being part of the solutionAs a company grounded in science, we must balance patient access to FDA-approved medicines, while working collaboratively to solve this public health challengeAlthough our products account for approximately 2% of the total opioid prescriptions, as a company, we've distributed the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, developed three of the first four FDA-approved opioid medications with abuse-deterrent properties and partner with law enforcement to ensure access to naloxoneWe vigorously deny these allegations and look forward to the opportunity to present our defense." Show less Future of Work Link copied to clipboard. Steve LeVine 11 hrs ago Featured Americans are still pretty flexible about changing jobs For months, we have seen reports that Americans are far less mobile than they used to be — even if jobs await in another part of the country, a lot of people just don't want to, or feel they cannot, moveBut they are pretty flexible at least in one respect, the willingness to change jobsAnd a big reason is that many are rewarded handsomely for doing so, according to ADP, the payroll firm. var pymParent = new pym.Parent('av-2017-12-19-turnover', '', {}); Data: ADP Workforce Vitality Report; Chart: Chris Canipe / Axios Keep reading ..words The bottom line: If you are a construction worker, and you held onto your job rather than accept an offer that came along, you are being paid a bit more on average than your workmate who switched to the other company — $31.71 an hour versus $28.51 at the new firmBut your buddy may surpass you later — the average construction switcher's wages were going up at a 5.8% annual rate in the third quarter of this year, compared with 4.9% for those who held onto their job. The numbers are starkest in the hospitality industry: Job-switchers in hospitality earned $23.18 an hour, versus $25.73 for those remaining loyal to their company; but switchers were seeing 6.9% year-on-year wage growth compared with 4.8% for those who stuck around. But but but: Given the tightness of the labor market—unemployment is at just 4.1% — why aren't wages higher for switchers from the get-go?Ahu Yildirmaz, an economist who directs the ADP Research Institute, says one reason is that high-wage baby boomers are leaving their jobs and being replaced by lower-wage millennialsSo the millennials may actually be receiving higher pay than they normally would at their level of experience The other trend is those willing to shift work, ADP saidJob-switching is at an all-time high, the firm said, with 27% saying in the third quarter of the year that they were in the midst of changing employment (up from 23% in the first quarter of 2015)And 63% said they are actively or passively looking for new jobs. Show less Future of Work Link copied to clipboard. Christopher Matthews 11 hrs ago Featured Amazon is harder on mom-and-pops than big-box stores ever were Rebecca Zisser / Axios By the time Walmart reached the level of sales that Amazon enjoys today, it had become the focus of a buy-local movement that accused the company of hollowing out local economies and labor marketsAmazon has so far avoided a similar backlash, but it has had a similar impact on local communities, say mom-and-pop retailers, manufacturers, and industry observers Why it matters: Small retailers say Amazon is their No1 threat, surpassing big-box chains and rising health insurance costs, according to a recent poll by Advocates for Independent Business and the Institute for Local Self Reliance Keep reading ..words Amazon differs from the big-box threat of the 1990s Half of all items sold on Amazon are from small, third-party sellers, according to AmazonAnd it's the conduit for about 100,000 small American retailers that do more than $100,000 in business a year on the platform.Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self Reliance says the net effect has been the continued weakening of small retail that began during the 1990sAccording to the Census Bureau, there were 572,000 mom-and-pops in 2007, accounting for 22% of retail jobs, but by 2015, the number had fallen to 505,000, or 19% of such jobs."Entrepreneurship used to be a reliable path to the middle class," Mitchell saysBut that new business formation is on the decline: The number of new U.Sstartups has declined from 107.7 per 1,000 businesses in 2007 to 85.4 in 2016, according to the Kauffman foundation"This is one factor driving higher income inequality," Mitchell saysHere are some stories from the Amazon AgeGina Schaefer opened her first hardware store in 2003 as part of the Ace Hardware buying cooperativeShe now owns a dozen locations in the Washington, D.Carea, successfully navigating competition from Home Depot and Walmart at a time many small business retailers closed in the face of this new competition.Schaefer said that mom-and-pops such as hers worried about losing a share of their sales to big-box storesBut she said the threat from Amazon and other platforms is scarier because each year they offer a growing number of products — and make them cheaper and more convenient.Rick Karp, owner of four Ace hardware outlets in San Francisco, says the threat has grown worse in recent years, which he detects from a 2% decline in sales each year for the past five years"This year it'll be 3%," he says.Dottie Munger owns Toad Hollow Athletics, a specialty sporting goods business with single locations in Paoli, Penn., and Wilmington, NC, launched in 1983She began selling on Amazon Marketplace in 2012, and it now accounts for half her salesBut because price competition on Amazon is so fierce, her online margins are much lower.Another strain is Amazon's strict rules against late shipments and other infractions that can get you suspended from the platform, a critical blow for businesses that have become dependent on itThen there are the Amazon "gray-market" sellersGray-market sellers are unauthorized dealers of excess inventory who sell below the minimum advertised pricing agreed to by manufacturers and their authorized retailers.Munger says this leads to her competing on Amazon both against the product manufacturer and gray-market sellers.Unauthorized selling has become a consuming problem for many small manufacturers as wellMichael Levin, owner of InnovateKids, a manufacturer of children's games and books, says he spends a growing number of hours and dollars each week tracking the pricing of unauthorized sellers, and figuring out how they got ahold of his inventory (one way may be through bots, Forbes reports)But, but ..Amazon has helped, or even made possible, other small businessesDouglas Cormier of Hubbardston Candle Company raves about his experiences selling on AmazonHe says it enabled him and his wife to ramp up a business making and selling beeswax candles out of their home within a matter of months"We never would have started this business without Amazon," he says.Michael Mandel, an economist at the Progressive Policy Institute, argues that the shift to e-commerce has actually led to more, better paying jobs in e-commerce warehouses that have more than compensated for the recent decline in traditional retail jobsMandel estimates that from the third quarter of 2015 through the third quarter of 2017, while brick and mortar stores have cut 123,000 jobs, e-commerce has added 236,000 jobs."The Amazon Marketplace is a win for customers looking for great products and prices, and for small businesses to reach customers around the world," says Amazon spokesperson Tom CookRetailers are responding with a variety of strategies Leveraging the store any way they can: Retailers are throwing events ranging from happy hours to home-repair workshops, attracting new customers and also establishing themselves as a neighborhood fixture that residents want to supportAligning with brands: Retailers are attempting to persuade brands to work with an independent retailer who will advertise and support their products with the help of a knowledgeable staffEvangelizing: Schaeffer advocates telling customers how Amazon's growing power affects the neighborhood"I cried the day Amazon bought Whole Foods," she says"And that's the last day I shopped at Whole FoodsIt sounds cheesy, but that's what you have to do when Amazon is breathing down your neck." p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; background-color: #f8f8f8} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} Show less Technology Link copied to clipboard. Steve LeVine 11 hrs ago Featured The robot that might save your next remote meeting Meeting Owl (Owl Labs) Remote calls into a conference room at headquarters are the worst: too often, voices are muffled, mumbled, delayed and indistinctWhen the conversation turns to the whiteboard—forget about itThe best thing to do is hang up and blame it on a bad lineMeeting Owl, though, seems a long step toward reducing the painI got a demo of this smart robot, which you place on your conference room table, where it listens and rotates between people as they speakA fish-eye, 360-degree lens renders the entire whiteboard visibleIf it detects three speakers, and they are in different parts of the room, it shifts to a tri-split screenAnd eight microphones make them distinctly clear"Lots of telepresence robots have been madeThe first most important problem is moving around the conference room," Mark Schnittman, the CTO of Owl Labs, told me. Keep reading ..words This $799 device can put some people out of workFor example, it can replace the folks who run the camera system at public panel discussions, toggling automatically from person to person"We put a camera person and a director in one box and made it automatic," said Owl's Rebecca CorlissOne downside: the Meeting Owl is not voice activated so you have to manually start it up each timeBut Schnittman said, "It's 100% possibleIt's a matter of figuring it out." Show less

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