Good morning, MBA readers,
In another dramatic illustration of the toll the coronavirus pandemic is taking on travel, Boeing announced that it will shed over 12,000 jobs in an effort to cut costs as demand for planes plummets. The company has recorded zero commercial orders in two different months this year, compounding difficulties caused when the 737 MAX jet was grounded last year after a second fatal crash. Boeing’s defense division, which employs thousands of people in the St. Louis region, has fared better than its commercial counterpart, and job losses are expected to be concentrated at the company’s Seattle commercial base. Elsewhere in the St. Louis area, nursing homes have seen a rise in coronavirus cases. At least 115 long-term care facilities in the St. Louis region have reported confirmed cases of COVID-19, but frustrations remain over communication by affected facilities. Across the state in Kansas City, federal workers may get a reprieve from planned mass layoffs as Congress looks to find funding for their agency.
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Boeing to eliminate over 12,000 jobs as demand slows
Boeing announced 6,770 layoffs and 5,520 buyouts due to COVID-19’s impact on the travel industry. The airplane manufacturer’s defense unit employs about 16,000 people in the St. Louis area, but layoffs are expected to be heaviest in Boeing’s Seattle-based commercial division. (Associated Press, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Congress may prevent layoffs of 1,000 federal workers in KC
About 1,000 employees of the National Benefits Center in the Kansas City area could see planned layoffs delayed. As Congress tries to find funding for the agency, the contractor that staffs the center’s two Kansas City-area locations has extended its contract through June. (Kansas City Star)
KC streetcar extension moves closer to $174 million federal grant
The Federal Transit Administration approved Kansas City’s streetcar expansion for the final phase of a competitive grant program. The grant would add $174 million in federal funds to $250 million in local money for construction that more than doubles the distance the streetcar travels. (WDAF)
SLU sets fall start date earlier due to COVID-19
Saint Louis University will commence in-person fall classes on Aug. 17, rather than the original start date of Aug. 26, due to COVID-19. The earlier start and a condensed fall break will allow the school to finish its semester faster in an effort to avoid a second wave of the coronavirus. (St. Louis Business Journal)
MLB players said to be disappointed by economic proposal
The Major League Baseball players’ union reportedly views an economic proposal submitted by owners this week as “extremely disappointing.” The sliding-scale plan would reduce players’ salaries by between 10% and 80%, with high-paid stars surrendering a larger share. MLB owners say they will lose $3.6 billion before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization if the season is played without fans. (Associated Press)
St. Louis renovation secures subsidies, looks to attract tech tenants
Developers landed an estimated $3 million in city subsidies for the planned $34 million renovation of the Globe Building in downtown St. Louis. Globe Building Co. is recruiting tech companies to the site and hopes to triple the jobs housed there over a decade. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Career public servant chosen for Springfield lifetime achievement award
Harold Bengsch, a Greene County commissioner and former head of Springfield-Greene County Health Department who has worked in public service for 60 years, will receive the Springfield Business Journal’s lifetime achievement award. The award acknowledges excellence in business and impact on the community. (Springfield Business Journal)
Bike stores, trails see upswing in activity amid COVID-19
Bike stores have seen a boom in business as social distancing guidelines have encouraged more outdoor activities. In March, children’s bike sales nationwide increased by 56% while adult leisure bike sales increased by 121%. (Columbia Missourian)
Say that again
“At some point, you want to give workers the incentive to search for work again.”
That’s James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, speaking about measures that can be taken amid the pandemic to realign spending efforts and focus more on finding solutions instead of providing relief, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports. As cities reopen, Bullard suggested that the $600 in supplemental unemployment benefits in place since March should slowly be phased out. Bullard also advised business owners to incentivize their employees to return to work by offering bonuses.
That’s the number of nursing homes in the St. Louis region that have reported COVID-19 outbreaks, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports. Statewide, 176 have reported cases. The total in the St. Louis area has jumped from 70 to 115 in the last three weeks, according to numbers published by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Although there have been concerns over COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities nationwide, Missouri does not require nursing homes to notify residents’ families or the general public of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in their facility. Many residents and families have complained about the lack of transparency and the difficulty in accessing accurate information. In the Kansas City area, eight wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against Riverbend Post-Acute Rehabilitation, a facility where 132 cases of COVID-19 and 36 deaths have been reported, according to KCUR.
— Bob Behnken (@AstroBehnken) May 28, 2020
That’s Bob Behnken, a native of the St. Louis area and a graduate of Washington University. Behnken was one of two astronauts scheduled to become the first people sent into space by a private company on Wednesday. However, due to the risk of lightning and thunder clouds on Wednesday, the SpaceX launch has been postponed until Saturday. The launch was called off 16 minutes before the countdown.
Hello, my name is
This Kansas City-based robotics startup launched its first mainstream product, Tesseract PRISM, on Wednesday. PRISM uses wearable badges equipped with tracking technology in an effort to keep essential workers safe during the pandemic by aiding the enforcement of social distancing, Starland News reports. PRISM tracks and collects data related to the proximity of workers and students in real-time and alerts management. In March, Tesseract Ventures procured a $2 million investment from UMB Capital Corporation.
It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.