Female CEOs Thrive
Female CEOs running major U.S. corporations grew from nine to a record 12 in 2007. While that’s only 2.4% of the Fortune 500, one trend is developing that might suggest that women are going mainstream. For the second year in a row, the stock performance of women-led companies mirrored that of companies run by men. By the way, these women-led companies are far from small unknown organizations. That impressive list includes Xerox, eBay, Archer Daniels Midland, Rite Aid, Avon Products, PepsiCo, Safeco, Sara Lee, WellPoint, TJX Cos. and Western Union.
Store Closings Sadden Santa
Macy’s Department Stores, of “Miracle on 34th Street” fame, announced they will close nine stores that employ a total of about 900 people. The affected locations are located in Indiana, Ohio, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Utah and Texas. Impacted employees will be offered positions in nearby stores where possible. It said employees laid off in the process would be provided severance benefits and outplacement assistance. Macy’s has faced disappointing sales and resistance from shoppers in some markets where the Macy’s name replaced local favorites it absorbed as part of its acquisition of May department stores. Macy’s operates more than 850 department stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico under the names Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s.
Airplane Crashes Decline
An independent watchdog group recently announced that 2007 saw the lowest number of crashes in 44 years. Could it possibly be due to the fact that so many flights never left the ground? There were 136 serious accidents worldwide in 2007, the fewest since 1963. 965 people died in crashes last year—a 25% drop from 2006.
Recession Worries Continue to Grow
Factories produced less, saw their orders decline and cut workers as manufacturing activity in December was the slowest since 2003. Manufacturing accounts for about 12% of the U.S. economy and one out of every 10 jobs.
Oil Continues to Flow—Upwards
The price of oil hit $100 a barrel in commodities trading last week for the first time in history. Travel organization AAA issued a warning that “record high prices will be paid by consumers for gasoline in the coming year.” That news was especially unsettling since fuel prices typically don’t start their seasonal climb until spring.