Engaged with Purpose: Who’s Driving the CAR?

by Joshua Zahn

It’s not enough to know something; a person must engage to see results. And what drives anyone’s engagement will significantly impact whether they stay engaged for the long run. According to Gallup (2021), only 35% of employees in the United States are engaged in their jobs. For business leaders, that means that, statistically, six out of 10 U.S. employees are not engaged. … [More]

Tax Advantage: Employee Retention Credit

by Eric Stenson

As part of the CARES Act introduced in 2020, Congress created a new tax credit to incentivize employers to keep workers on the payroll during the pandemic. The employee retention credit is an offset to certain payroll taxes; it is not an income tax credit. The credit, which began on March 12, 2020, was originally set to expire at the end of 2020. The Consolidated Appropriations … [More]

Increased Longevity and the Impact on Retirement Planning

by Jason Romero

Over the last several decades, our life expectancy rate has continually increased. Today, the average expectancy is around 80 years in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau projects longer life expectancy for decades to come. By the year 2060, life expectancy is projected to have continued its steady increase.  In addition to this forward-looking projection, life … [More]

Financial Wellness Packages: The New ‘Must-Have’ for Competitive Employers

by Rob Schwister

In an October 2020 survey released by the National Endowment for Financial Education, 84% of Americans said COVID-19 is causing stress on their personal finances. More than half of those surveyed said not having money enough saved for emergencies, retirement, college and other uses ranks among their top financial concerns. Workplace Impacts When employees are stressed and … [More]

Big Mistakes Small Businesses Must Avoid in 2021

by Gena Jones

Naturalist Charles Darwin famously said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives; it is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” What is true for members of the natural world has never been more true for the small business owner. Stop-and-go government regulations and rapidly changing economic conditions have given small businesses plenty to adapt to this … [More]

Facing the Biggest Issues of Business Capital Funding Right Now

by Nina Sharpe

COVID-19 has exacerbated the funding problems businesses face, highlighting the need for change.  The disruptions that 2020 brought left most small businesses reeling. Owners and would-be entrepreneurs found themselves faced with various issues regarding business capital funding, and although it’s tempting to lay the blame solely at lenders’ feet, that would be unfair. Small … [More]

Arizona Passes Prop. 207 to Become the 13th State to Legalize Marijuana

by Raul Molina

At the end of last year, Arizona voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 207, legalizing recreational marijuana in our state. So, what happens next? According to the Arizona Secretary of State’s office, the law will allow limited marijuana possession, use and cultivation by adults 21 or older; amend criminal penalties for marijuana possession; ban smoking marijuana in … [More]

Customer Benefits Come from Credit Union Acquiring Bank

by Mike Thorell

Arizona Federal is the only Arizona-based credit union with SBA PLP status. We were able to obtain this designation through the acquisition of Pinnacle Bank just one year ago. Pinnacle was a community bank I was proud to stand up back in 2005. Arizona Federal had obtained the designation by exhibiting a successful track record of processing small business loans and by … [More]

Education-Related Businesses Are Addressing the Pandemic

by Paul Fleming

COVID-19 will change how we live -- some of it forever — and education may be one of the more affected areas of life. Out of necessity, K-12 schools, colleges and universities have transitioned to remote “virtual learning.” Teachers and instructors are now communicating with students via personal computers, and lesson plans have been altered to online formats. Despite these … [More]

The R&D Tax Credit: An Overlooked Tax Saving Opportunity for Architects and Engineers

by Jordan Taylor

By designing impressive new buildings and developing solutions for challenging structural issues, architects and engineers serve as beacons of growth and innovation in society. Yet, many architecture and engineering firms do not realize that their routine activities may qualify them for a powerful opportunity to significantly boost their bottom lines: the Research and … [More]

FinTech for Banking and Investing

by Mike Hunter

As technology continues to play an increasingly dominant role in daily life, FinTech has followed suit, equipping the banking industry with tools that makes it more efficient and customer-oriented than ever before, according to Don Garner, CEO of Alliance Bank of Arizona. “Although nothing can replace an expert banker who has a close relationship with a customer and understands … [More]

June Personal Income and Disposable Income Decreased due to COVID-19

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Personal income decreased $222.8 billion (1.1 percent) in June according to estimates released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (tables 3 and 5). Disposable personal income (DPI) decreased $255.3 billion (1.4 percent) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $737.7 billion (5.6 percent). Real DPI decreased 1.8 percent in June and Real PCE increased … [More]

Gross Domestic Product, 2nd Quarter 2020 Is Worst Ever

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 32.9 percent in the second quarter of 2020 (table 1), according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP decreased 5.0 percent. The GDP estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the … [More]

Jobless Claims Hit 1.4 Million, Once Again Edging Up from Week Prior

U.S. Department of Labor

In the week ending July 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1,434,000, an increase of 12,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 6,000 from 1,416,000 to 1,422,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,368,500, an increase of 6,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was … [More]

A Vegetable’s Journey

by Jim White, Ph.D.

For more than a century, the United States has been a major producer of vegetables and fruits, with total agricultural exports — to Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, Japan and many other countries — valued in 2018 at $140 billion.  Domestic sales aren’t as rosy. As COVID-19 shuttered restaurants, hotels and school districts around the country, farmers in Arizona and around the U.S. … [More]

Mid-Year Outlook: Expect a Bumpy Ride for the Remainder of 2020

Hercules Investments

As America gets closer to the presidential election, the country finds itself still struggling on several fronts: the COVID-19 pandemic, racial unrest, and most recently Chinese sanctions. And yet, the stock market has remained relatively stable over the past couple of months. Stock-market bulls cheered the Tuesday morning after Memorial Day as the S&P 500 traded above its … [More]

Weekly Jobless Claims Up to 1.4 Million, First Rise in Four Months

U.S. Department of Labor

In the week ending July 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1,416,000, an increase of 109,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 7,000 from 1,300,000 to 1,307,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,360,250, a decrease of 16,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was … [More]

Five Legislative Priorities Help Ensure Small Businesses Have Necessary Resources and Protection for Recovery

NFIB

As small businesses continue efforts to reopen and Congress and the Administration prepare the next phase of legislation, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization, issued a plan, “NFIB Phase Four Legislative Priorities for Small Business Recovery,” today. The plan lays out five legislative priorities to … [More]

Weekly Jobless Claims Up by more than 1 Million, 17th Straight Week

U.S. Department of Labor

In the week ending July 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1,300,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 4,000 from 1,314,000 to 1,310,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,375,000, a decrease of 60,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was … [More]

Small Business Optimism Improves in Anticipation of Better Economic Outlook

NFIB

The Small Business Optimism Index increased 6.2 points in June to 100.6 with eight of the 10 components improving and two declining. Owners anticipate improving sales as the economy continues to re-open with sales expectations rebounding to a net 13% after April’s lowest reading in survey history (a net negative 42%). Small business owners continue to be optimistic about future … [More]

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