Bloomberg Businessweek-Europe Edition April 12, 2021

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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2 min
in brief

Global cases of Covid-19 passed 133 million; almost 2.9m have died. Vaccinations are ramping up, however, with more than 709 million shots given. The U.S. government won’t issue so-called vaccine passports, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on April 6, citing privacy concerns. Janet Yellen argued for a harmonized corporate tax rate across the world’s major economies. Speaking to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the U.S. Treasury secretary marked an American return to the “global stage.” For his part, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said he supports a corporate tax hike to pay for the massive infrastructure investments Joe Biden has proposed. Tourists take in the tulips at the Holland Flower Festival during this year’s Qingming Festival in Yancheng, China. “We don’t train leg-neck restraints with officers in service, and as far as…

3 min
biden’s infrastructure plan is a good start, but it needs work

Like much of Joe Biden’s presidency to date, his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan is remarkably ambitious. Rightly so. The economic future of the U.S. is at stake. The country needs a bold commitment to public investment. It’s visibly falling behind. Any recent traveler to Beijing or Shanghai is struck by how shabby American airports and city streets look in comparison. And this isn’t just about appearances. China is proving that modern infrastructure is an essential component of industrial competitiveness and economic growth. Unless something changes, Congress’s neglect of roads, bridges, and other connective tissue, plus failure to invest in the infrastructure of the future, will condemn the U.S. to relative economic decline. Give Biden credit for thinking big. His aims far exceed the kind of workaday repairs that have long characterized such…

1 min
are things looking up for banks?

Economists expect to see signs of an accelerating recovery for Chinese manufacturing when the country releases data on its exports and balance of trade on April 13. Turkey’s Central Bank announces its decision on interest rates on April 15. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unexpectedly ousted the hawkish central bank governor in March. The U.S. Census Bureau publishes its March housing starts figures on April 16. The number soared during the pandemic as people fled cities, but it began to fall again in January. Analysts anticipate that year-over-year industrial production will have dropped yet again in Russia when the Federal State Statistics Service releases its latest data on April 15. The U.S. reports its core inflation rate on April 13; France, Germany, and Italy follow on April 15. Economists tracking Covid stimulus measures are watching…

10 min
asian americans are ready for a hero

Picture an athlete. Now a movie star. And now a politician. You probably pictured a White man. Or a Black or Latino person. I’m guessing you didn’t picture an Asian American. I know I usually don’t. And I’m an Asian-American television writer who thinks up imaginary people for a living. We Asian Americans don’t have many cultural or political figures of national stature. Or, one could argue, any. And though segments of the Asian-American community, particularly South Asians, have enjoyed economic success relative to other minority groups, few Asians overall occupy C-suite corner offices. Politically, culturally, and economically, in the positions that matter, Asian Americans are almost invisible. There has been no Asian-American Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, or Barack Obama. In California, Arizona, and a host of other states,…

6 min
how toyota dodged the chip shortage

When the Tohoku earthquake triggered a tsunami that struck Japan’s northeastern coastline in March 2011, killing more than 15,000 people, Toyota Motor Corp. spent half a year struggling to get back on its feet. One of the biggest hurdles: Tokyo-based Renesas Electronics Corp., a major producer of chips for the automotive industry, saw its main plant knocked offline for three months after the tsunami, sparking a supply squeeze that rippled through the industry. As Toyota scrambled to repair its facilities and procure missing parts, it also pored over its supply chain to identify the most at-risk items in the hope of preventing a similar disruption in the future. The automaker came up with a list of about 1,500 parts it deemed necessary to secure alternatives for or to stockpile. The company…

6 min
will pizzas and signing bonuses woo workers?

Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, Melissa Anderson laid off all three full-time employees of her jewelry-making company, Silver Chest Creations in Burkesville, Ky. She tried to rehire one of them in September and another in January as business recovered, but they refused to come back, she says. “They’re not looking for work.” Sierra Pacific Industries, which manufactures doors, windows, and millwork, is so desperate to fill openings that it’s offering hiring bonuses of as much as $1,500 at its factories in California, Washington, and Wisconsin. In rural Northern California, the Red Bluff Job Training Center is trying to lure young people with extra-large pizzas in the hope that some who stop by can be persuaded to fill out a job application. “We’re trying to get inside their head and help them…