Social bonds’ surprising performance, heartland cities offer relocation incentives and Canada returns to the office
Moment to shine: Social bonds have raised more than $163 million this year as governments borrow large amounts to help cushion the blow to their economies from the pandemic. Funding projects that address issues such as unemployment or healthcare access, the bonds are a useful tool in mitigating the socioeconomic impact of the crisis on global economies. The European Union was the largest issuer of social bonds this year, reports CNN Business, with a total over $47.3 billion raised across five deals. Part of the popularity of these bonds might also stem from many investors beginning to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) options into their portfolios.
Moving to the heartland: Is $10,000 enough to incentivize you to relocate to another state? The pandemic has prompted a migration of as many as 23 million Americans saying they are planning to relocate because of the flexibility offered to them through remote work. NPR highlights several programs across America’s heartland offering cash to individuals willing to move to cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma or Topeka, Kansas in an attempt to attract a more diverse professional workforce.
Urbanists believe that the incentive programs are beneficial to small cities as an investment because “if cities are affordable and have a good quality of life, newcomers will find them on their own.” Tulsa has welcomed nearly 500 new residents since 2018, many of whom are considered “laptop workers” who can work remotely from home or co-working spaces.
Returning to remote work: Some Canadians may be disappointed with the lack of flexibility they are afforded once the end to the crisis allows for a full time return to the office. A recent study by ADP Canada claims that 45% of working Canadians would prefer to continue working remotely at least three days a week, and almost a quarter of those surveyed would also prefer to work hours outside of the traditional nine-to-five. Alternatively, almost half of Canadian employers do not intend to continue a flexible working policy once the pandemic is over. Per The Globe and Mail, the preference for remote work is much higher among younger employees and poses a risk for smaller organizations that may not be able to afford the tools, technology or HR resources necessary for long term flexible work arrangements.
Relief bill released: The House has released the text of the newest legislative package which combines $900 billion in pandemic relief with a $1.4 trillion bill to fund government operations through the end of the fiscal year. Congressional leaders expect the legislation to pass both chambers easily, and the White House has said that President Trump has also agreed to sign it. The deal follows more than a week of negotiations after months without compromise between the political parties. Highlights include $600 direct payments to most Americans and $300 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits through March. More at Bloomberg.