Paying for Tuition In Crypto, Unemployment Rates Fall, and News You Might Have Missed: Finurah’s Roundup of Top Finance Stories

Small business owners came out in support of vaccine mandates, unemployment rates fall, and homeownership rates remained steady. This was just some of the business news of last week. Here’s a roundup of the top finance stories you might have missed.

Photo by Ono Kosuki from Pexels

Small Business Owners Support Vaccine Mandates For Employees and Vaccination Proof For Customers 

Employee vaccine mandates are a controversial issue. But more than 60 percent of small business owners say they support COVID-19 vaccine mandates for their employees, a poll from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife found.

Small business owners — 64 percent — back President Joe Biden’s federal mandate for companies with at least 100 employees to require vaccination or weekly testing.

Sixty percent of these business owners also said they approve of requiring proof of vaccination from their customers. 

Biden’s mandate is expected to begin on Jan. 4, 2022, the same deadline for health care and federal contractor employees. Vaccine mandates have been a controversial debate throughout the United States, with many employees choosing to either receive a vaccination or seek other employment options. 

Appeals Court Places Emergency Halt On Vaccine Mandate For Larger Businesses

A federal appeals court has granted an emergency stay, halting the vaccine requirement for companies with 100 or more workers. 

On Saturday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has placed a temporary halt on the Biden Administration’s requirement for vaccination or weekly COVID testing, slated to begin on January 4. 

The Biden Administration has been promoting the benefits of vaccination as a way to end the pandemic. An estimated 27 states have filed lawsuits challenging the vaccination and testing mandates. However, the Biden Administration believes its mandate — which includes penalties of at least $14,000 — will prevail over challenges because the safety of Americans will override state laws. 

Unemployment Down, Payrolls Up 

The U.S. Labor Department released its October jobs report revealing that the unemployment rate has dropped to 4.6 percent, while employer payrolls have grown by over 500,000. Factors such as decreasing COVID-19 infections along with the employers ready to fulfill employee openings are both factors that supported labor growth in the last month.  

The unemployment rate for Blacks was 7.9 percent, compared to 4 percent for whites.

Although these payrolls have grown, the U.S. economy is still lagging behind its pre-pandemic labor numbers. At present, the economy is four million jobs less than in March and April of 2020 when the pandemic began. In addition, the civilian labor force has declined by almost three million people compared to February 2020. 

“There is still ground to cover to reach maximum employment both in terms of employment and in terms of participation,” Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in last week’s news conference. He added that it was “within the realm of possibility” that the economy achieved maximum employment by the second half of next year, as measured by a broad range of metrics. 

Wharton Business School to Let Students Pay Tuition in Crypto

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School has become the second college in the U.S. to accept crypto tuition payments; the first was King’s College located in New York in 2014. The school will use Coinbase Global to offer students the option of paying with Bitcoin, Ethereum or the USDC stablecoin.

Ether Hits New All-Time High

Ether, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, hit another all-time high of almost $4,661 according to data earlier this week.

“Since the market reversal at the end of September, Ether’s strength has been moving in stride with BTC and other majors,” Ryan Rabaglia, the managing director and global head of trading at digital asset platform OSL, told Al-Jazeera. He added, “Ethereum will also continue to play a big role in the NFT [non-fungible token] and metaverse ecosystem build-out,” he said.

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