business news in context, analysis with attitude

…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• National Public Radio’s Marketplace has a story about how the American Trucking Associations (ATA) is saying that there is an “acute” shortage of long-haul truckers - “nearly 600,000 drivers are currently employed and 60,000 more drivers are needed,” with the shortage expected to get worse “in coming years, as baby boomers retire.”

The story notes that “young workers, meanwhile, are hesitant to take on the long hours, weeks away from home, solitude and other hardships of long-haul trucking. That's even though the training period is short, and pay can range from $50,000 to $100,000, or more.”

NPR points out that many trucking companies have invested a lot of money in trucker pay, hoping that higher wages will attract younger people to the job. But it doesn’t seem to be just about money - aside from the fact that being a long-haul trucker can be a tough life choice, there’s also the uncertainty that the advent of autonomous vehicles creates for their futures. Meanwhile, all of the business and consumers that depend on the trucking business become increasingly vulnerable.

• Shopko announced yesterday that despite its “best efforts,” it has been “unable to find a buyer for its go-forward business as a going concern. As a result, Shopko will commence an orderly wind-down of its retail operations beginning this week.”

It is expected to take between 10 and 12 weeks to conclude the company’s liquidation.

Shopko filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, citing competitive pressures, and began a series of store closings as it sought a buyer.

• Burger King has launched a kind of coffee subscription club. Customers can pay $5 per month, which entitles them to one small cup of hot coffee per day at restaurants participating in the program.

The promotion is available via Burger King’s mobile application. The tag line: “Enjoy BK Café for a month for the price of a large cappuccino from Starbucks.”
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