Category Archives: News

US News Gives High Marks to MIT

Aerial view of the East Campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) along the Charles River. Courtesy of Nick Allen

US News and World Report once again ranked graduate schools of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology among the best in the nation. The weekly news magazine has been ranking schools of higher education since 1990, and MIT’s graduate engineering program has placed first in every year including this year.

Another of MIT’s high-ranking grad schools is the Sloan School of Management, this year earning the 5th place of all the country’s best graduate business programs.

As far as the individual areas of study in engineering, MIT got the top spot in six subjects: aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical engineering (along with Caltech), chemical engineering, computer engineering, electrical/electronic/communications engineering (tied with Stanford University and UC Berkeley), materials engineering, and mechanical engineering. MIT ranked number two in nuclear engineering.

In the business division, the following four individual specialties in the MBA program ranked first: business analytics, information systems, production/operations, and project management. The study of supply chain/logistics was ranked second.

The magazine does not publish rankings of all doctoral programs every year but examines how they are doing from time to time. In 2018 MIT had 24 of the 37 science subjects they examined rank in the top five programs.

The rankings of the grad schools are based on two kinds of data: reputational surveys of deans and other academics; and statistical indicators that measure the quality of each schools’ students, faculty and research. The periodic rankings, which are less frequent, of the science, social science, and humanities programs, are based on reputational surveys alone.

Small Business Growth in the USA Fastest Among Latinos

Despite entrenched racism that results in lower incomes and more hoops to jump through to get small business loans, Latino business owners are the fastest group of entrepreneurs today in the United States. Throughout the last decade, the community of Latino business owners expanded by an amazing 34%. That is especially impressive when we compare that growth to the 1% growth of all business owners in the USA. The trend is likely to continue as more Latinos are applying for small business loans to either start or expand their businesses.

The data was analyzed by researchers at Stanford University. Their 2019 study, based on 2017 data, found that about 60 million Latinos in the US make up about $2.3 trillion in economic activity combined, which is the equivalent of the eighth largest economy in the world. By the end of 2020 projections declare that Latinos will make up 30% of the total US population. That means the Latino contribution is poised to explode.

Businesses owned by Latinos employ over 3 million workers, so says the 2019 State of Latino Entrepreneurship report by the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI). When everything is accounted for, Latino-owned businesses make up about 4% of all US business revenues and 5.5% of all US employment.

Considering the discrimination Latinos face in the US, those supporting this business community say that if Latinos were given a decent chance, they would be able to grow their part of the US economy even more. The problem today is that the “opportunity gap between Latinos or Hispanics and their white, business-owning counterparts is wide.
“Wealth is the missing ingredient in the Latino community,”

said Jerry Porras, a professor of organizational behavior and change emeritus at Stanford Business School, co-founder of the Latino Business Action Network, a non-profit out of Stanford University focused on empowering Latino business owners, and co-director of SLEI.

“If we could add more wealth, people would consume more and grow the economy. How do we get more wealth? Grow businesses.”

“It’s a synergistic process,” said Porras. “In the long term, it will benefit the whole country.”

Data Shows US Businesses Growing

According to a report, the beginning of the year 2020 has seen a burst of growth in US business activity. This contrasts with slowing growth in many other major economies around the world.

Photo courtesy Isabel Alarco

Japan also saw a rise in business activity, helping pick up for the weak performance at the end of 2019. Europe was showing signs of slow growth in January, with exports from Europe stabilizing after a long decline. The service sector was still languishing.

The US economy is doing better than either Japan or Europe, and the prediction is that for the near future at least it will stay this way. The cooling down of the trade war between the US and China should also add a little boost to the economies of both countries and countries connected to them through trade.

IHS Markit, a data-gathering company, reported that its composite purchasing managers index in the US had reached 53.1 in January, up from 52.7 in December, the highest it has been in 10 months.

IHS also stated that, according to surveys, businesses in Europe and out will most likely remain slow and weak. Surveys of CFOs discovered confidence in the US market, but not as much confidence in the European and other markets. Some are expecting a stall in the 2020 economy.

Some Out-of-the-Box Reasons to Bet on Netflix

Netflix is a great company that seems destined to continue as such in the foreseeable future. They are adding customers consistently; they have lots of new, quality content; and lots of people seem to make time in their time to watch.

Netflix added 8.76 million new subscribers across the globe in the fourth quarter of 2019, exceeding all of the most optimistic predictions. Also, binge-watching was reported up during Q4, despite the belief that viewers were going to turn to the competition, Apple and Disney who have entered the streaming marketplace. People are still getting their binging needs met by Netflix. What’s to account for the loyalty of Netflix viewers? The great content, of course. Netflix’s third season of the acclaimed show “The Crown” experienced a 40% growth in viewership over the previous year’s second season. Another Netflix show, “The Witcher,” took away first place as the world’s most-watched TV show from “Mandalorian.”

But there are other than those easy-to-Grok reasons for investors to add Netflix to their portfolios, and you will probably never guess what those reasons are: the Wuhan coronavirus; global warming; and of course, Tesla. (Only because Tesla seems to be the answer to a lot of questions right now.)

Did I hear you say huh?

This is why one analyst thinks the Wuhan coronavirus will feed the binging behavior of viewers around the globe.

“Netflix inc. could find itself the unusual benefactor to an outbreak of a SARS-like virus in China if moviegoers in the region opt to break the tradition of going to theatres during the lunar new year and binge-watch Netflix instead.”

And what about climate change? As the weather gets hotter and rainier, people will most likely spend more time indoors. And when they are indoors, well, the TV is always calling. Binge!

You’ve probably already figured out how autonomous cars will help Netflix stock climb. You’ve guessed it! While your car is driving itself, you can relax and enjoy another episode of “You,” “Stranger Things,” or “Orange Is the New Black.” All I can say is: “Netflix for president!”

Looking into the Future with 2020 Vision

Not only does the year 2020 welcome in a new year, but a new decade as well. And this decade is expected to be a great one, based on the current economic trends we are watching.


Labor force


At the end of 2019 the economy saw unemployment reaching record lows, with an uptick in wages, especially for non-supervisory jobs. One question looming is whether this year will be the one with upward moving wages pushing inflation up as well?


Consumer spending


Even if consumer spending losses some of its muscle, the labor market just on its own will sustain spending on goods and services, and in housing, too. Keep your eyes on real estate, as it is ready to have a great coming year due to lower interest rates, and sluggish last two years. Hopeful homeowners and builders have been waiting for the starting bell to ring as numbers of building permits are rising.


Manufacturing madness


It seems that the miasma of the last two quarters of 2019 in factory production is about to lift with the dawn of a new decade. However, it could go slowly, as recovery from the China trade war might not happen overnight, and companies could stay cautious as they wait to see what kind of trade agreement with the great Asian giant will be reached.
Not to mention what effect a strong dollar will have on exports. Watch and learn.