Business briefing

The daily business briefing: January 10, 2022

Staff shortages force hospitals to cut capacity, airlines cancel more flights, and more

1

Hospitals cut capacity as COVID-19 wave limits staff

Rising numbers of health-care workers are calling in sick across the country as the seven-day average of new daily coronavirus infections rises above 700,000, forcing many hospitals to cut capacity, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The staff shortages have forced hospitals to leave beds empty because they lack staff to safely provide care, and a tight labor market has prevented them from finding replacements, according to industry officials. The University Hospitals system in Ohio, for example, has closed up to 16 percent of its intensive-care beds recently. "It's definitely a brutal situation," said Dr. Joseph Chang, chief medical officer at Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas, which had to shut 30 of 900 beds.

2

Airlines cancel more flights due to pandemic-related staff shortages

Airlines canceled flights over the weekend as harsh winter weather and staff shortages due to coronavirus infections continued to disrupt travel. About 5,000 flights were scrapped on Friday, data tracking service FlightAware said. Daily cancellations declined over the weekend, however, as airlines struggled to restore their normal schedules. The disruptions began shortly before Christmas, as the U.S. was hit with severe winter storms just as the nation was also slammed by a wave of coronavirus infections driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant. SkyWest, which operates flights for United, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and Alaska Airlines, said the cuts were meant to "ensure we're able to adequately staff our remaining flying as we work to recover in the coming weeks."

3

Stock futures little changed after 4-day losing streak

U.S. stock futures struggled early Monday after the three main U.S. indexes fell in the first week of 2022 trading. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were flat, and those of the S&P 500 were down by 0.1 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were down by 0.3 percent. The S&P 500 fell by 0.4 percent on Friday to cap its first four-day losing streak since September. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell by 0.9 percent, also its fourth consecutive day of declines. The Dow fell by 4.81 points. Technology and other high-growth shares have led declines following indications that the Federal Reserve plans to speed up interest rate hikes to counter high inflation. Investors are expected to focus this week on key inflation reports being released Wednesday and Thursday.

4

Goldman Sachs says Fed likely to hike interest rates 4 times in 2022

Goldman Sachs says it now expects the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates four times this year to keep the economy from overheating as inflation remains high and the nation nears full employment. "We continue to see hikes in March, June, and September, and have now added a hike in December," Goldman's Jan Hatzius said in a research note. The change came after newly released minutes from the Fed's December meeting indicated that Fed leaders support speeding up plans to dial back their efforts to boost the recovery from pandemic-era economic problems with near-zero interest rates and monthly asset purchases.

5

2022 Golden Globe winners announced after private ceremony

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association on Sunday night announced the 2022 Golden Globe winners following a private ceremony in Beverly Hills. On the comedy and musical side, Hacks won Best TV Series. Its star, Jean Smart, won Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series and Ted Lasso's Jason Sudeikis won for best actor. West Side Story won Best Picture, and the musical's star, Rachel Zegler, took the acting award. Succession won for best TV drama series, and The Power of the Dog won Best Motion Picture. Will Smith (King Richard) and Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos) took the acting awards in the film drama category. Other winners include The Underground Railroad for Best Limited Series.  

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