Recent content from Lee Schafer
Of 13 big retailers reviewed by research staff of the Washington, D.C. -based Brookings Institution, Best Buy was the top giver of additional compensation to front-line workers.
What was already a very divided country remains one. And one of the biggest dividing lines is economic.
In the past 30 years, the share of wealth held by the bottom half of American households has been cut in half to less than 2%.
Dollar General might have taken the place of Walmart as a retailer thought to both serve its customers well yet make communities worse. For those…
The pandemic has brought at least five years of progress in the transition to shopping online in eight or nine months — or maybe it’s…
Those looking for a clear-cut election decision must have been disappointed last week, with more divided government both in Washington and here in Minnesota. Yet…
Philanthropy is another industry, if you could call it one, debating what to do now when doing business as usual just has to be wrong.…
A congressional staff report this month on the Paycheck Protection Program didn't have much good to say about the Treasury Department's execution of it. The…
And curiously, the virtual technology seemed to bring the stories more to life.
As much as people hate taxpayer assistance for big businesses like Google, doing nothing won't be popular, either.
And it's a message that employers and policymakers ought to be thinking more about.
Minnesotans shouldn't treat this like a normal winter.
These firms are very much still startups, and you can hear a little Silicon Valley-style language in how they talk about themselves.
It wouldn't be possible to write so clearly about a complex industry without a deep understanding of it.
Honestly, it's too hard to tell yet what the Cleveland-Cliffs-ArcelorMittal transaction means.
The strong stock market in 2020 has been one of the biggest surprises in a year full of them, and we've heard the explanations, from…
It's a term that's close to meaningless to an industry outsider.
Economist Milton Friedman and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter share an idea.
Six months into the pandemic in the U.S., the picture does not look that much clearer.
There's no quick and low-cost way to sell the private assets and no real-time price for what they are worth.
It's easy to guess where it's really painful, with social distancing keeping lots of people from shopping in stores or staying in hotels.
The marketers at Minnesota’s media companies came up with clever State Fair T-shirts this year after all, like Minnesota Public Radio’s “The Great…
It has long been understood that these two companies have a different core customer, even with a big overlap in merchandise at similar prices.
Recessions do seem to create more incentive for potential customers to look for cheaper or more efficient ways to do things.
Without money, the unfairness in the way risks and rewards were spread around gets exposed.
Usage of the fitness and wellness coaching service of Wellbeats skyrocketed, but this was not some sort of accident.
A new marketing campaign aims to build more awareness of Thrivent as a financial services business that remains interested in helping people live a life of greater purpose.
Even for a time swirling with deals, this recent history seems absurd.
Wealth inequality does not get nearly the attention it deserves, and nothing like the focus on income inequality.It's the hand-wringing over the role played by…
What's happened since the beginning of the pandemic this year isn't exactly a normal recession.
Even if Congress and the White House decided to continue the benefit, odds are slim it remains $600 per week.
Making decisions, over and over throughout a day, can use up our capacity for self-control.
It wasn't about making sure the rock stars kept getting paid but ensuring the crew members did.
The boomers and Xers remember when Microsoft was so dominant that a federal judge ordered it broken up. That year of peak Microsoft…
The reasons some employers canned flexible work programs were what you would expect. Yet those seem like correctable management mistakes.
It's no defense of adjusting numbers for the virus to point out that investors see adjusted financial information all the time
The worst days of the spread of infection in our country’s COVID-19 pandemic were not in April after all. They were last week. There was…
Staking out a well-defined position in venture capital doesn’t look to be easy. Until a track record emerges of generating better returns than the alternatives…
The latest annual tax form called the 990 for the Otto Bremer Trust is now on the St. Paul foundation’s website, and very…
Reminders of the one-time giant Control Data Corp. (CDC) can be seen all over the Twin Cities, from a street named Computer Avenue in Edina…
It was the second-worst month in the more than 27 years that layoff announcements of U.S. employers have been tracked.
In addition to being kept safe, active and fed, kids in a high-quality child care program are building skills that will help them do well once they get to kindergarten.
Even with donations and GoFundMe fundraising, it could take years for this commercial corridor in the state's largest city to fully come back.
Since the last recession ended in 2009, Americans have generally saved about 5% of what they made. That held up until March, when the savings…
Not always being able to pick your own retirement date is just one challenge.
Drivers sure need work, too, but delivery doesn't work great for them, either.
The change in thinking isn't where we work so much as it's how to work better with the tools we have.
Never easy, building a company from scratch is going to be harder in this year of the pandemic recession.
Declining state and local government spending really can make an economic downturn worse. And this recession is bad enough already.
It was sobering to realize he'd already concluded that the airlines likely won't be the same.
The simple explanation for the bounce back? Hopefully April was the low point.
Instead of fixating on what can't be done for users, here are examples of focusing on what can.
We're still early in this economic crisis, but banks should err on the side of keeping businesses able to recover and able to pay workers and suppliers.
HealthPartners shows how the providers have had to tweak facilities, make plans for staffing and more so much still unknown about the disease.
It's clear we can't go back to normal yet, and likely not for months.
A better question than why there are shortages or surpluses is why there aren't many more of them.
When you think about it, the supportive communities of elder care centers can be thought of as a metaphor for healthy neighborhoods, towns, cities and workplaces.
Had Pete Scherer and his colleagues in the family business not managed to survive the Great Recession, they wouldn't be as confident as they are now.
The Minneapolis Convention Center is not even half the size of the sprawling Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, now being turned…
A neighborhood restaurant is a perfect way to illustrate something for both business leaders and policymakers to heed in the brutal downturn ahead.
There is a lot of bad news this week in the economy. More is coming when the formal measures of consumer spending, jobs and the like start getting reported for March.
MacMillan was an almost perfect spokesman for Cargill, although he wasn't easy to reach.
There are a lot of people around the world on the move all the time.
The paradox: To enjoy the highest living standards, people may want to move out of states with high per-person incomes.
It hadn't been a great couple of years for people who manufacture globally even before the coronavirus.
There was a boom in it a few years ago, big enough to be felt in Minnesota. But the reckoning is underway.
After just a few days, it's way too soon to reach the conclusion that Casper Sleep is a financial fiasco. However, that's the way to bet.
In times of heightened uncertainty, making a decision gets put off.
A good way to feel old is to have a major food company reintroduce a “nostalgia” product like Dunkaroos that you didn’t know about when…
Whether this proposed mine ever operates in the northeastern corner of our state was always about politics.
What the conflict really boils down to is differing notions of security when it comes to patient information. And money, too.
Thousands of people at the bank knew better. Even the friends and family of Wells Fargo senior executives knew better.
The best idea for dealing with this kind of hedge-fund shareholder seems too valuable to not share. And easy, too.
The thing that matters is whether you got value out of what you paid for.
The latest of the very closely watched purchasing managers index readings just confirmed what we have been hearing for a while, that American manufacturing went…