Workers trust their employers during the pandemic—for now

September 3, 2020, 9:22 AM UTC

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Good morning.

I received an email yesterday from Karlyn Bowman of the American Enterprise Institute, who is one of the most reliable analysts of polling data I know, pointing out an interesting trend in recent tracking polls. Across a variety of them—Axios/Ipsos, Gallup, Harris—employers are consistently getting kudos for their performance during the pandemic.

The Axios/Ipsos poll, for instance, asked people how much trust they had in various organizations “to look out for the best interests of you and your family.” In its latest wave, 72% said they had either “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in their employer, compared to 60% for local government, 53% for state government, and 34% for the federal government. The employer result has remained above 70% since March, while all levels of government have seen sharp declines. And in the Gallup poll, 77% gave their employer strong marks for communicating the “right amount” of information about the pandemic.

“Across the polls, employers are getting high marks. Large majorities of workers trust them to look out for their best interest,” says Bowman. “Workers say their employers have clear plans, are stepping up to provide workplace protections, and are looking out for their wellbeing.”

That’s impressive, particularly given trust in business normally declines during an economic downturn. But Edelman CEO Richard Edelman—who also polls on trust issues—says the real test could come this fall, as more people return to the workplace. “Government had its moment in April and May, “ says Edelman. “Now the story is being written for business. The return to workplace is a fundamental part of that. People are going to go back only when companies answer their fears, and the way to answer their fears is to have companies insist on multiple levels of protection—masks, social distancing, so on.”

More news below.

Alan Murray


Chinese apps

As geopolitical tensions between China and India continue to ratchet up, India has banned 118 apps with Chinese links, including major games and apps from the likes of Tencent, Baidu and Ant Group. The Indian tech ministry said the apps were blocked "since in view of information available they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order." CNBC

Navalny poisoning

The Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent, according to the German government. Navalny is currently in a medically induced coma in Berlin's Charité hospital. Angela Merkel's accusation of attempted murder has been joined by a chorus of outrage from other world leaders, who are calling for answers from the Putin regime. Deutsche Welle

Juul cuts

Juul is planning more job cuts (it's already laid off a 1,000 people or so) and may pull out of Europe and Asia. The e-cigarette firm has been hit hard by parental condemnation and regulatory scrutiny over its alleged courting of underage sort-of-smokers. Now Juul has reportedly designed a new version of its vaporizer that will only be unlockable for people over the age of 21. Wall Street Journal

Five days

While most coronavirus quarantine periods last a couple weeks, Germany's top virologist says five days should be sufficient. Christian Drosten said research shows little risk of infection after such a period, and shorter quarantines would also be more palatable for the public. Fortune


About that V

Economists expect the global economy to get worse again before it gets better. Société Générale strategist Albert Edwards: "The recovery will peter out, even if we don’t tip into another outright recession because of unemployment." Most experts don't expect global output to recover fully until the end of 2021—and that's if there's no severe second wave this coming winter. Politico

Vaccine distribution

DHL and McKinsey have identified a hitch with the distribution of any potential COVID-19 vaccine that needs to be stored at freezing temperatures: the necessary cooling facilities are missing in many places across Africa, Asia and South America. The German logistics giant and U.S. consultancy reckon existing infrastructure would only allow for the delivery of such a vaccine to 2.5 billion people in around 25 developed countries. Financial Times

Digital mortgage

Intercontinental Exchange CEO Jeff Sprecher digitized energy trading and the NYSE. Now he plans to do the same for home loans, and to that end he's paying $11 billion for software provider Ellie Mae. Sprecher says the mortgage process, which currently lasts two months or more and costs around $8,000, will end up taking a couple weeks at most and costing $2,600 less. Fortune

Scott wealth

MacKenzie Scott is now the richest woman in the world, ahead of L'Oréal heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyers. The writer and philanthropist's new status is thanks to the recent rise in Amazon's stock price (she is the ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and got a lot of stock in the divorce settlement.) Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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