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The global banking system suffered another blow over the weekend, as banking giant UBS agreed to purchase troubled rival Credit Suisse for $3.25 billion. Credit Suisse was one of 30 financial institutions known as globally systemically important banks, and Swiss officials cited concerns about "the stability of international finance" in orchestrating the deal. Futures on American stock markets were volatile in the aftermath of the announcement. In the Kansas City area, Oracle Cerner is making more layoffs. The cuts follow tech giant Oracle's 2022 acquisition of health care technology company Cerner. Plus, legislatures in Missouri and 12 other states are considering new regulations on travel nurse staffing companies after hospitals paid high prices for temporary medical staffing during the pandemic. Start your week with these and more business stories below.
Credit Suisse acquired by rival UBS for $3.25 billion
Authorities in Switzerland brokered the deal between Swiss banks in an effort to stabilize the banking system amid continued turmoil following the collapses of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. (Associated Press)
Oracle Cerner makes more job cuts
The health care technology business is laying off additional employees in the Kansas City, although the scale of the cuts is unclear. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Allied Healthcare pauses St. Louis plant closure
The medical supply company expects to preserve 72 jobs by keeping the facility open. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Texwrap to expand Franklin County facility
The $2.25 million investment will add 35 jobs for the company, which makes equipment for shrink wrapping and bundling. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Benson Hill looks for cost-cutting plan amid sliding share price
The Creve Coeur-based food technology company continues to operate at a loss despite revenue growth. (St. Louis Business Journal)
WashU ends contract with Bon Appétit
The food service provider has 342 employees facing termination in the state, but Washington University plans to keep the positions with a different vendor. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Metro Transit cuts paratransit services, faces backlash
The St. Louis-area transit organization is facing increased demand as disabled residents continue to encounter difficulties. (Missouri Independent)
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"During the pandemic there were staffing companies who were making a lot of promises and not necessarily delivering. It created an opportunity for both profiteering and for bad actors to be able to play in that space."
That’s Dave Dillon, spokesperson for the Missouri Hospital Association, a group representing 140 hospitals across the state, speaking about alleged price gouging in the travel nurse staffing industry during the pandemic. Hospitals relied on travel nurses to fill staffing gaps during the pandemic, but some staffing agencies took advantage of the need and charged exorbitant prices, Kaiser Health News reports. In December 2021, the national average weekly travel nurse pay was $3,782, up from $1,896 in January 2020. These rates remained elevated at $3,077 in January 2023. Last year, legislators unsuccessfully sought to impose rate caps on travel nurse pay, but regulatory efforts on the industry have been renewed this year, in Missouri and 12 other states.
Farmers in the U.S. are estimated to have lost about $3 billion from 2018 to 2021 due to tar spot, a fungal disease that infects corn, KCUR reports. The disease first afflicted corn crop in Indiana and Illinois in 2015, and it is now creeping across the Midwest and Great Plains. Tar spot attacks leaf tissues in the corn plant and is resilient to changes in temperature, meaning winter cold can’t kill it off. Some farmers have suggested planting corn hybrids that are more resistant to the tar spot, or applying fungicides to their corn crops.
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This artificial intelligence-powered program can generate custom bedtime stories for children based on simple prompts from a user, Startland News reports. Founder JQ Sirls had been mulling the idea for years and expects to launch the product this spring. Pagemaster aims to offer aspiring writers an equitable chance to enter the market with tools that assist in creating a self-publishable product. It will also try to connect writers with publishers and literary agents.
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