Afternoon Coffee: US has more job losses than gains for first time since April; Businesses react to Capitol chaos; PRO Vendor Analysis recap: ChAI, EC Sourcing

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The Labor Department reported on Friday that US employers cut 140,000 positions in December, the first time since April that the economy lost more jobs than it gained, Reuters reports, saying the job losses were in coronavirus-sensitive sectors like restaurants and leisure.

"Payrolls decreased by 140,000 jobs last month, the first decline since April, after increasing by 336,000 in November," Reuters reports. "The economy has recovered 12.4 million of the 22.2 million jobs lost during the pandemic. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 77,000 jobs would be added in December."

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate stayed at 6.7%, the first time it hadn’t fallen since April. The numbers show the economy is faltering as the COVID-19 pandemic tightens consumers and businesses.

An Associated Press article said the numbers indicate that employers have rehired all the workers they can afford to after having laid off 22 million in the spring.

The economy has nearly 10 million fewer jobs than it did before the pandemic sent it into a deep recession almost a year ago. A renewed surge in virus cases — and cold weather in much of the country — has led to millions of consumers avoiding eating out, shopping or traveling, the article said.

However, economists said a broader recovery should take hold in the second half of the year as more coronavirus vaccines are distributed. The incoming Biden administration and a Democratic-controlled House and Senate are expected to push more rescue aid and spending measures that might accelerate growth, the AP reported.

Business leaders move to cut ties with Trump over Capitol riots while firing employees involved

In the wake of Trump supporters breaching the US Capitol, business leaders and companies have moved to cut ties with President Donald Trump, his supporters, and even fired workers who participated, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A number of companies said they fired employees who participated in the riots after seeing photos and videos posted to social media. In most states, employers have a wide range of reasons to terminate employees, even for conduct outside the workplace. Some key business leaders and CEOs have also decided to stop funding Trump, the article said.

“While we support all employees’ right to peaceful, lawful exercise of free speech, any employee demonstrating dangerous conduct that endangers the health and safety of others will no longer have an employment opportunity with Navistar Direct Marketing,” the company said in a statement about an employee who was photographed inside the Capitol and was fired.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Manufacturers is part of the business community that has condemned the assault.

Also, a report from Reuters said taxpayers will largely be responsible for paying for the damages from the break-in because federal agencies rarely carry insurance. The expected costs for fixing broken glass, doors and furniture is still unknown, Reuters said.

Spend Matters' analysts look at ChAI, EC Sourcing

This week, Spend Matters PRO analyst Nick Heinzmann looked at the solution from ChAI, a commodity price forecasting and risk management solution. Also, analysts Magnus Bergfors and Michael Lamoureux gave an update on EC Sourcing, an e-sourcing and strategic sourcing solution, after it acquired and integrated BidMode.

Our PRO subscribers can read the full articles, but all readers can see the lengthy intros that frame the issues being discussed. This week:

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