Our retailers are juggling a harrowing mix of factors this holiday season.
That includes the fear that by next year we could be in a recession. Any sales now may be needed as a cushion for the months ahead, writes Sydney Ember and Jordyn Holman for the New York Times.
We have record high inflation and interest rates, sparking worries that consumers may cut spending. We have an inventory glut for some products and supply chain shortages for others. And we have high employment but large-scale layoffs in technology and other sectors.
Meanwhile, consumers are sitting on about $1.7 trillion in extra savings accumulated during the pandemic. Yet in September they saved only 3.1 percent of their after-tax income, less than half the share before the pandemic. “With the arrival of the all-important holiday shopping season, retailers are not just competing with one another to attract customers,” they write. “They are also competing against the clock.”
This is not an easy ask of friends and family, but it matters
With so much at stake this holiday season we should all be shopping as if jobs, livelihoods and even our downtowns depend on it.
Because they do.
Here’s one way you can help: Avoid the temptation to turn to Amazon for your holiday shopping and shop locally.
And encourage family and friends to do the same.
That’s a difficult ask, for sure, because Amazon is so darn easy and fast and price competitive, right?
Need an added reason to take your shopping elsewhere?
The maximum weekly benefit amount which any particular employee is eligible to receive is increasing from $1,084.31 to $1,129.82.
Effective January 2023, the contribution rate shall be reduced for employers of 25+ covered individuals from 0.68% to 0.63%. (The individual pays 0.318% and the employer contributes 0.312%.). For employers with less than 25 covered individuals, the rate will decrease from 0.344% to 0.318%. (This is paid entirely by the individual.)
Wait, there’s more: The PFML website includes updated notices, required posters, and more with respect to 2023 changes. Notices need to be sent to existing covered individuals by Friday and new hires within 30 days of employment.
?Failure to provide timely notification subjects the employer to fines on a per-employee basis. More here.
All aboard! Newton to Medford
In just a matter of days, it will be possible to ride the Green Line from Riverside Station or Boston College, all the way to Somerville and Medford.
The long-awaited second and final Green Line Extension branch will open to riders on Dec. 12, connecting our communities with Tufts University, eastern Somerville, and the Winter Hill neighborhood. Full system map here.
Other need to knows
Watertown’s Athenahealth is looking to go public for the second time, just ten months after its newest owners took it over. (Jon Chesto at the Globe.)
Wellesley’s Holiday Stroll and Scavenger Hunt are back on Sunday (Dec 4) from noon to 6 p.m. Includes singing carolers, a sleigh ride with Santa, Scavenger Hunt, and the holiday tree lighting ceremony organized by the Wellesley Merchants Association.
Employers can now register for MassHire’s Dec. 15 Virtual Job Fair. It's open to employers with multiple, immediate openings. Register by Dec. 9.
Chestnut Hill Square is hosting a linen donation drive to benefit Welcome Home, a local home goods pantry based in Newton through Dec. 18. Donations of clean, new, and like-new items (free of rips or stains) can be dropped at Serena & Lily in Chestnut Hill Square.
SBA-guaranteed loans can help you purchase real estate, buy equipment, refinance debt, and more. Generally, the rates and fees are comparable to non-guaranteed loans. Learn more
NFIB will host a virtual meeting for small business owners on how to take steps to avoid the Millionaire’s Tax tomorrow (Nov. 30) at 8:30 a.m. The new surtax goes into effect in January. Details.
Learn about Newton's village zoning proposals
Starting tonight, Newton’s Planning Department is hosting information exploring proposed zoning for 12 individual village centers. (Watch the presentation to the City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee here.) All sessions begin at 5:30 p.m.
Results from the recently concluded “feedback tool” for the proposed village center zoning can be found here.
And here's your most important reminder for today
As your very full inbox will surely remind you, today is Giving Tuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back.
There are thousands of causes worthy of our support. But please don't forget to include the nonprofits that help make Newton, Needham, Wellesley, and Watertown special, including any of the 130 local nonprofits that are members of your chamber.