🐤 Too many vacancies

The labor shortage is wreaking havoc on multiple industries ... including some pretty important ones.

Monday | August 28th, 2023
Early Chirp

Happy Monday, chirpers! Social media (and TikTok in particular) often get a bad rap. While that might be deserved in some cases, there’s also evidence that these platforms can do some good.

Take the case of a Burger King employee who’d worked for the company 20 years straight without taking a sick day. The restaurant rewarded him with a paltry gift bag, but TikTok users responded generously after hearing about the situation.

He ended up with more than $400,000 and an opportunity to take a trip to visit his grandkids.

-Chris Agee

$126.68 (0.94%)
Dow Jones
$247.48 (0.73%)
S&P 500
$29.40 (0.67%)
-$0.00 (-0.04%)
$50.18 (0.19%)
$0.80 (18.06%)
*Market data for this issue is from August 27th, 2023 at 6:43pm EST

🏦 Markets: Earnings reports surfacing over the next few days from companies like Best Buy, Salesforce, Lululemon, Dell, and Hewlett Packard will help determine whether the encouraging end to last week will continue.

Other factors to consider this week include new data from the jobs and housing markets as well as the latest inflation numbers.

The home price index is set to drop tomorrow, followed by the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ personal consumption expenditures price index on Thursday.


Solve today's crossword and win a prize!

Highest score wins an Amazon gift card!


*Prizes are sent out via email the next day by 11am EST.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown Shutterstock

🏀 Clear favorites: The International Basketball Federation World Cup is underway and it’s the United States team’s championship to lose. Americans took on New Zealand in the Philippines on Saturday and chalked up a decisive 25-point victory. They’ll be battling against Greece today and, although it could be a tougher battle, the U.S. remains the overwhelming favorite going into the game. Greece is a 22.5-point underdog as gamblers put money on the outcome.

🏎️ The right formula: During the Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday, Formula One driver Max Verstappen tied a record that had stood for a decade. In 2013, Sebastian Vettel won nine straight Formula One races, a feat that Verstappen accomplished during a race that was hit by a pair of heavy rain showers. He’ll have a chance to break the record this Sunday during the Italian Grand Prix. The retired Verstappen sent Vettel a message of congratulations.

💥 Crash aftermath: A Russian plane crash has been at the center of speculation for days due to reports that Yevgeny Prigozhin was among those on board. He’s the head of a mercenary group that had been loyal to Russian President Vladimir Putin before staging a short-lived coup attempt earlier this year. An investigation confirmed that Progozhin was likely among the 10 bodies recovered from the wreckage.

🌀 Storm forming: Meteorologists believe Tropical Storm Idalia is gathering enough speed and strength to become a Category 2 hurricane by the time it hits Cuba and ultimately the U.S. coast within the next few days. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued a state of emergency declaration for 33 counties across the state. As of the latest updates available, the storm is on track to make landfall along the state’s panhandle and west coast as early as tomorrow.

Share this issue:
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Email

Why The Labor Shortage Might Be More Serious Than You Thought

Some crucial industries are facing unprecedented staffing problems.

Why The Labor Shortage Might Be More Serious Than You Thought Shutterstock

It’s partially a holdover from the pandemic-era shutdowns, but there’s some troubling evidence that ongoing labor shortages in a variety of industries aren’t getting much better.

And while that is often frustrating for customers when a local store or restaurant has to limit its hours, there are some other cases in which the inability to find enough workers could literally be a life-or-death problem.

Here are some of the most notable sectors where this is becoming a potentially dangerous issue:

  • Healthcare: Medical professionals worked long hours on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, and many of them became so burned out that they left the profession. Now, there’s an ongoing challenge to find qualified replacements, leaving serious gaps — particularly among nurses.
  • Education: While it might not seem as dire as healthcare, a shortage among educators and daycare providers are putting added stress on parents while making it even harder for students to make up the learning loss that resulted from pandemic-related school shutdowns. These issues are compounded by a shortage of bus drivers, social workers, and other support staff.
  • Air travel: There’s been a pilot shortage for a while and there’s also a growing need for air traffic controllers. Fortunately, there hasn’t been an uptick in serious crashes, but with near misses on the rise, many experts are warning that this is an industry suffering from a serious labor crisis.
  • Corrections: As of March, a staffing shortage among federal prisons meant that 21% of correctional officer positions were vacant. This means prison workers and inmates face a higher risk of violence and there has also been an increase in reported health problems.

With the average age of Americans getting higher, there are fewer young people to fill open positions, so this problem might not be remedied any time soon.

Share this story:
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Email

The FDA Is Investigating Pet Food. Should You Be Concerned?

There have been some troubling claims related to a certain type of food.

The FDA Is Investigating Pet Food. Should You Be Concerned? Shutterstock

About five years ago, the Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory about a potential risk associated with “grain-free” pet food.

At the time, the agency cited claims from pet owners and veterinarians who linked certain types and brands of food to heart-related issues that led to death in certain animals — especially large dogs like Great Danes.

What the investigation found

Although the FDA is still compiling information, the latest report on the matter found 255 cases of diet-related dilated cardiomyopathy between August 2020 and November 2022 (and 1,382 overall). The condition, which results in an enlarged and weakened heart, primarily impacts dogs but it has also been identified in some cats.

The problem, it seems, is that grain-free foods are often supplemented with peas. Experts haven’t been able to identify a clear link between this ingredient and heart problems, but it appears to be the likeliest culprit.

Canada gets involved

Scientists north of the border have also been researching the possible link between peas and dilated cardiomyopathy in pets. As they found in a study that involved giving one group a diet high in lintels and another group a diet high in peas, the latter group was more likely to show early signs of an enlarged heart.

If you are concerned about your pet’s health, talk to your vet and, if possible, make sure you’re providing a traditional diet. Symptoms found in the study subsided after replacing the grain-free food.

Signs that your dog could be suffering from heart problems include:

  • Becoming tired or lethargic.
  • Less physical activity or engagement.
  • Coughs and/or shortness of breath.
  • Reduced appetite.

As it stands, the FDA hasn’t recalled any brands or types of pet food. A spokesperson said it won’t update the public without “meaningful new scientific information to share.”

Share this story:
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Email
comic eyewashcomic.com

Brazen Series Of Museum Thefts Date Back 20 Years

Substandard record-keeping means no one knows how much was actually taken.

Brazen Series Of Museum Thefts Date Back 20 Years Shutterstock

It’s a crime that might seem implausible if it were chronicled in a Hollywood heist movie, but authorities in the United Kingdom say it’s all too real.

A series of thefts at the British Museum, believed to be carried out by a single culprit, has resulted in hundreds of priceless artifacts being pilfered without a trace.

How could this happen?

Not only was there an apparent failure in security measures that allowed such frequent theft from the museum, but insiders say the coins, jewelry, and other exhibits targeted by the thief were not properly cataloged.

This meant that even when they went missing, there was no record of exactly what (or how much) had been taken.

As Oxford University professor Dan Hicks explained: “This isn’t a bad apple story, this is about institutional priorities. This was a disaster waiting to happen because of the lack of investment in doing curatorial work.”

In response to this massive breach, a curator was fired and the museum asserted that it’s working on bolstering its cataloging program.

What about the suspect?

Authorities have reportedly questioned an individual in connection with the thefts, but no additional identifying information was immediately revealed.

A police investigator put forward the theory “that we are dealing with a possible case of kleptomania.”

As for the fate of the stolen artifacts, many of them were reportedly sold online for a tiny fraction of their estimated value. One ancient piece of Roman onyx jewelry, for example, had a value of about $63,000 but was put up for auction with a winning bid of just $50.

“Some of them would have been very, very valuable — tens of thousands of pounds — if it was known they were from the British Museum,” a police source confirmed. “But they couldn’t be sold like that.”

Share this story:
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Email
Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

90 N Church St, The Strathvale House
Grand Cayman KY1, 9006, Cayman Islands

Copyright © 2022 Early Chirp. All rights reserved.