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14 years later, the effects of the 2008 bailout are still being counted

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Most states are home to companies that never fully repaid their financial crisis bailouts. Stacker analyzed data about the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program compiled by ProPublica to see which states' businesses have been the most responsible in repaying their loan money.
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It was Monday afternoon in late September 2008 when congressional leaders rejected an initial plan to bail out America’s failing banks, plummeting the Dow Jones Index and wiping a record $1.2 trillion from American businesses.

The Great Recession was not just an American crisis but a global one in which developed countries’ interconnected banking systems were stressed simultaneously. World leaders eventually capitulated to calls by U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and others to pump banks with capital to avoid economic collapse.

The idea of taxpayers bailing out Wall Street for short-sighted lending practices was wildly unpopular. One Republican congressman referred to the proposal as “a huge cow patty with a piece of marshmallow stuck in the middle of it.” Still, leaders worried the U.S. could plunge into a second Great Depression without action.

Packaged with financial support for homeowners and stimulus for automakers meant to prevent job losses, the concept eventually won approval in October 2008 when Congress passed the Troubled Asset Relief Program and former President George W. Bush signed the measure into law.

Stacker analyzed data about the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program compiled by ProPublica to see which states’ businesses have been the most responsible in paying their loan money 14 years later and found that 34 states have outstanding or failed investments that will not be paid back.

TARP was massive in its potential scope, authorizing up to $700 billion in funding, though the Treasury utilized only a fraction. The commitments broke down into $250 billion for banks, $27 billion for credit markets, $82 billion for the automotive industry, $70 billion to support the insurance giant American International Group, and $46 billion to help Americans avoid foreclosure on their homes.

Congress later passed legislation lowering the disbursement cap for TARP to $475 billion in 2010 and lost its authority to approve any new bailout commitments that same year.

By 2013, the watchdog group overseeing TARP and enforcing its rules pursued charges against 107 senior bank officials alleged to have misused bailout funds, most of whom received prison time, according to an analysis by the Washington Post. In 2016, TARP wound down its investments, including in companies such as AIG, declaring it had recouped disbursements.

In total, $635 billion has been distributed; $17 billion are considered lost or a failed investment.

Funds that were committed to helping Americans avoid foreclosure and were never meant to be repaid were ongoing up to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw the U.S. government issue $800 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans intended to keep Americans employed—nearly all of which is expected to be forgiven.

Read on to see how businesses in your state repaid their funds—or didn’t.

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A beautiful bridge leading to Minneapolis, Minnesota downtown against a pastel sky.

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#34. Minnesota

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 0.03%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $2.2 million (out of $7.4 billion disbursed to Minnesota)
– Per capita disbursement: $1,298 with $0.38 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $6.6 billion to U.S. Bancorp

An aerial panorama of Allentown, PA on a sunny day.

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#33. Pennsylvania

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 0.08%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $8.5 million (out of $10.2 billion disbursed to Pennsylvania)
– Per capita disbursement: $787 with $0.66 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $7.6 billion to PNC Financial Services

Iowa City, Iowa downtown from above.

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#32. Iowa

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 0.09%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $3.2 million (out of $3.6 billion disbursed to Iowa)
– Per capita disbursement: $1,124 with $1.00 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $3.4 billion to Wells Fargo Bank, NA

Fredericksburg, Virginia sunrise over the city.

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#31. Virginia

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 0.12%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $89.2 million (out of $75.9 billion disbursed to Virginia)
– Per capita disbursement: $8,782 with $10.32 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $71.6 billion to Freddie Mac

An aerial view of downtown Charlottle, NC.

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#30. North Carolina

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 0.12%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $59.2 million (out of $49.4 billion disbursed to North Carolina)
– Per capita disbursement: $4,683 with $5.61 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $45.0 billion to Bank of America

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A park lined with benches and lights leading to downtown Jersey City, NJ.

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#29. New Jersey

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 0.19%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $8.1 million (out of $4.3 billion disbursed to New Jersey)
– Per capita disbursement: $465 with $0.88 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $3.2 billion to JPMorgan Chase subsidiaries

Downtown historic Topeka, KS.

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#28. Kansas

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 0.19%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $0.3 million (out of $142.4 million disbursed to Kansas)
– Per capita disbursement: $49 with $0.09 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $36.3 million to Fidelity Financial Corp

Downtown Jackson, MS at night with lit buildings.

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#27. Mississippi

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 0.30%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $2.0 million (out of $665.5 million disbursed to Mississippi)
– Per capita disbursement: $226 with $0.68 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $215.0 million to Trustmark Corp

Downtown Dallas, TX cityscape.

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#26. Texas

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 0.31%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $15.9 million (out of $5.2 billion disbursed to Texas)
– Per capita disbursement: $176 with $0.54 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $2.3 billion to Comerica Incorporated

A view of the Reno, NV downtown from the hills above the city.

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#25. Nevada

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 0.41%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $1.4 million (out of $340.1 million disbursed to Nevada)
– Per capita disbursement: $108 with $0.44 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $196.2 million to Nevada Affordable Housing Assistance Corporation

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Downtown Augusta, GA by the river.

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#24. Georgia

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 0.45%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $29.6 million (out of $6.7 billion disbursed to Georgia)
– Per capita disbursement: $616 with $2.74 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $4.9 billion to SunTrust

An aerial view of downtown Baton Rouge, LA on the water.

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#23. Louisiana

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 0.50%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $2.7 million (out of $537.8 million disbursed to Louisiana)
– Per capita disbursement: $116 with $0.58 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $300.0 million to Citizens Republic Bancorp

An aerial view of colorful downtown Denver, CO.

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#22. Colorado

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 0.73%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $5.3 million (out of $728.6 million disbursed to Colorado)
– Per capita disbursement: $125 with $0.92 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $428.9 million to Specialized Loan Servicing LLC

Downtown Columbus, OH on the river.

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#21. Ohio

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 0.80%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $69.5 million (out of $8.7 billion disbursed to Ohio)
– Per capita disbursement: $738 with $5.90 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $3.4 billion to Fifth Third Bancorp

Buildings surrounded by palm trees and mountains in Scottsdale, AZ.

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#20. Arizona

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 0.85%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $2.6 million (out of $309.3 million disbursed to Arizona)
– Per capita disbursement: $43 with $0.36 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $296.1 million to Arizona (Home) Foreclosure Prevention Funding Corporation

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Tall buildings in downtown Los Angeles, CA surrounded by mountains.

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#19. California

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 1.09%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $362.8 million (out of $33.2 billion disbursed to California)
– Per capita disbursement: $847 with $9.25 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $25.0 billion to JPMorgan Chase

Endless buildings in downtown New York City, NY.

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#18. New York

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 1.36%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $2.3 billion (out of $168.1 billion disbursed to New York)
– Per capita disbursement: $8,473 with $115.26 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $67.8 billion to AIG

Downtown Sarasota, FL on the ocean.

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#17. Florida

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 1.52%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $105.4 million (out of $6.9 billion disbursed to Florida)
– Per capita disbursement: $318 with $4.84 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $5.0 billion to PHH Mortgage, a subsidiary of Ocwen Financial Corporation

Homes and buildings in downtown Mobile, AL.

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#16. Alabama

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 1.68%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $64.0 million (out of $3.8 billion disbursed to Alabama)
– Per capita disbursement: $754 with $12.70 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $3.5 billion to Regions Financial Corp.

Houses and downtown Albuuerque, NM.

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#15. New Mexico

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 1.86%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $0.9 million (out of $48.1 million disbursed to New Mexico)
– Per capita disbursement: $23 with $0.42 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $35.5 million to Trinity Capital Corporation

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Downtown Nashville, TN from a bridge on the water.

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#14. Tennessee

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 3.40%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $54.6 million (out of $1.6 billion disbursed to Tennessee)
– Per capita disbursement: $230 with $7.83 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $866.5 million to First Horizon National

Downtown Madison, WI on the water.

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#13. Wisconsin

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 4.64%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $116.7 million (out of $2.5 billion disbursed to Wisconsin)
– Per capita disbursement: $427 with $19.80 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $1.7 billion to Marshall & Ilsley

An aerial view of Chicago, IL on the water.

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#12. Illinois

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 4.79%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $260.5 million (out of $5.4 billion disbursed to Illinois)
– Per capita disbursement: $429 with $20.56 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $1.6 billion to Northern Trust

Downtown cityscape of Oklahoma City, OK.

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#11. Oklahoma

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 5.05%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $18.1 million (out of $358.4 million disbursed to Oklahoma)
– Per capita disbursement: $90 with $4.54 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $232.8 million to MidFirst Bank

Downtown Baltimore, MD at twilight.

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#10. Maryland

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 5.15%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $23.6 million (out of $458.7 million disbursed to Maryland)
– Per capita disbursement: $74 with $3.83 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $151.5 million to Provident Bankshares Corp.

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Highways and bridges leading into downtown Louisville, KY.

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#9. Kentucky

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 6.74%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $38.9 million (out of $576.3 million disbursed to Kentucky)
– Per capita disbursement: $128 with $8.62 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $200.3 million to U.S. Bank National Association

Indianapolis, IN skyline with blue sky behind and a rocky river in the foreground.

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#8. Indiana

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 9.16%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $87.3 million (out of $953.1 million disbursed to Indiana)
– Per capita disbursement: $140 with $12.82 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $284.0 million to Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority

A bridge and river in front of downtown Little Rock, AR.

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#7. Arkansas

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 12.36%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $40.3 million (out of $326.2 million disbursed to Arkansas)
– Per capita disbursement: $108 with $13.32 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $75.0 million to Bank of the Ozarks

A blue bridge across the Grand River in Grand Rapids, MI.

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#6. Michigan

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 15.50%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $12.5 billion (out of $80.8 billion disbursed to Michigan)
– Per capita disbursement: $8,038 with $1246.04 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $50.7 billion to General Motors

Tall buildings in downtown Kansas City, MO.

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#5. Missouri

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 16.46%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $272.2 million (out of $1.7 billion disbursed to Missouri)
– Per capita disbursement: $268 with $44.12 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $781.7 million to CitiMortgage, Inc.

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An aerial view of beautiful homes and downtown Charleston, SC. against the sunset.

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#4. South Carolina

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 20.49%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $223.7 million (out of $1.1 billion disbursed to South Carolina)
– Per capita disbursement: $210 with $43.10 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $347.0 million to South Financial Group

Tall buildings in the Seattle, WA skyline.

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#3. Washington

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 21.47%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $212.5 million (out of $989.8 million disbursed to Washington)
– Per capita disbursement: $128 with $27.46 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $303.0 million to Sterling Financial Corp

Downtown Boise, ID surrounded by trees.

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#2. Idaho

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 22.69%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $14.1 million (out of $62.1 million disbursed to Idaho)
– Per capita disbursement: $33 with $7.41 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $27.0 million to Intermountain Community Bancorp

A beautiful resort on the beach in Hawaii.

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#1. Hawaii

– Percent of total disbursement unrepaid: 44.10%
– Unrepaid bailout amount: $60.0 million (out of $136.0 million disbursed to Hawaii)
– Per capita disbursement: $94 with $41.60 lost per capita
– Single biggest loan: $135.0 million to Central Pacific Financial Corp

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How the pandemic e-commerce surge spiked demand for truckers

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Truckinfo.net analyzed how retailers and truckers have adjusted to the evolving needs of consumers as e-commerce dominates the market.  
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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, truckers have faced a series of circulating problems, including driver shortages and difficult working conditions. But the sharp increase in e-commerce in 2020 put a strain like no other on the industry.

In just one year, e-commerce—the buying and selling of products over the internet—surged 43%, the Census Bureau reports, growing from $571.2 billion in 2019 to $815.4 billion in 2020. That surge brought new pressure to the truck driving industry, adding to an already challenging driver shortage.

Truckinfo.net analyzed trends in e-commerce over the past few years and looked at how the spike in online shopping and business has affected the truck driver industry—and how retailers and drivers have adjusted.

Heading into 2023, challenges in the industry likely won’t ease, according to a forecast from Bloomberg Intelligence. Flatbed trucks, for example, are employed heavily for building material transportation, but the housing market has seen a sharp downturn as the Fed raises interest rates. And trucking companies will continue to suffer from supply chain troubles that limit their ability to add tractors to their fleets.

The truck driver shortage will also likely continue to bedevil the industry. The American Trucking Associations in October estimated the 2022 shortage at nearly 78,000 drivers, just shy of the historical record high of more than 81,000 in 2021. The association predicts that number could grow to 160,000 by 2031 if current trends continue.

Read on to learn more about several ways the trucking industry is facing some of its biggest challenges.

Delivery van loaded with cardboard boxes outside of logistics warehouse with open door.

Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

How e-commerce changed the industry

With many sequestered to their homes during the pandemic, online shopping spiked, with consumers taking advantage of the convenience of items straight to their front doors.

The change created a surge in the need for short-haul truckers, and thus a shortage of long-haul truckers. More time at home and other factors make short-haul routes more attractive, according to a report from the Transportation Department. Long-haul truckers generally drive at least 250 miles for their services, while short-haul drivers often operate within a 150-mile radius, according to hiring site Indeed.

Bob Costello, the chief economist at the American Trucking Associations, told NBC News earlier this year that the average drive for a long-haul trip decreased from 800 to 500 miles in the past 20 years. Part of that change is because retailers that once only built distribution in three to five locations now have warehouses across the country, he said.

Stacked package boxes on pallet inside a truck.

Siwakorn1933 // Shutterstock

What a driver shortage really means

While many adapted to working remotely, truckers maintain an essential role in supplying our most basic needs. Without them, we’d have empty grocery stores, gas shortages, ATMs with no cash available, and medical supply shortages. Chemical shipments to water plants would cease, halting access to potable water, and garbage would litter the streets.

The growth of e-commerce has made the prospect of warehouse positions and short-haul loads with high pay appealing to many truckers, leaving huge gaps to fill in long-haul trucking positions. These short-haul roles are competitive and draw experienced drivers who prioritize higher salaries and the opportunity to do shorter trips to increase time spent at home.

Truckers move about 72% of U.S. freight by weight, according to the American Trucking Associations.

Truck driver in casual clothes driving truck.

Aleksandar Malivuk // Shutterstock

Competition between carrier companies

Large companies are taking full advantage of their budgets to increase pay and incentivize workers by offering sign-on bonuses and higher pay for shorter hauls.

With 1.9 million trucking carriers in the United States alone, the competition has become incredibly steep. The disparity is obvious: With 97.4% of carriers operating fewer than 20 trucks, corporate giants have saturated and overtaken the trucking market with large paychecks and fleets, Zippia.com reports.

Walmart increased competition earlier this year by rolling out increased salaries for their private fleet, with first-year drivers earning up to $110,000, over double the average pay for long-haul drivers, NBC News reports. Walmart employs 12,000 drivers in its fleet, making it the largest private trucking company in the U.S.

Silhouette of a large truck driving on a road at sunrise.

Janice Storch // Shutterstock

The rising costs of employing drivers

Turnover rates in the trucking industry are near record highs, as workers move between carriers, incentivized by higher pay and better hours.

These turnover rates do not necessarily indicate truckers leaving the field; rather, experienced and new truckers alike are taking advantage of the pay raises offered by private fleets, the American Trucking Associations says. These pay raises offer more accessible jobs to workers who have not received a college degree, paving a stable road to a middle-class lifestyle without the cost of a four-year educational program.

The president of the Women in Trucking Association, Ellen Voie, told NBC News that this is a positive for the industry, saying drivers are entitled to better benefits and flexibility due to the difficult nature of their work. Workers joining private fleets are able to enjoy work closer to home and can even acquire stock options at certain companies.

It’s no wonder that workers are taking the cost of their livelihood so seriously; dangerous conditions increased for drivers as they were forced to work long hours in often unsanitary conditions during the national COVID-19 emergency, with 7 out of 10 drivers reporting lower pay and dangerous working conditions in an April 2020 survey conducted by a coalition of national labor unions, Change to Win, the Los Angeles Times reports. These working conditions were combated with trucker strikes, posing a serious threat of disruption to the average civilian’s way of life.

Truck driver behind the wheel wearing a hard hat and safety vest.

DuxX // Shutterstock

Proposed strategies to resolve trucking industry issues in 2023

Lawmakers, employers, and the United States government have flocked to ease the stressors of the essential trucking industry. An October 2022 report by the American Transit Research Institute proposed strategies to combat critical issues. The top strategies involve recruiting younger drivers into the workforce. 

According to the Census Bureau, 30.3% of the trucking industry is composed of workers over the age of 55. Research done by the American Transit Research Institute found that 84% of Gen Z and millennial drivers are incentivized by company culture when it comes to working and staying with a motor carrier. 

In November 2021, the Drive Safe Act was signed into law, which included a national pilot test program allowing 3,000 18- to 20-year-olds to be trained in operating freight commerce across state lines. Due to high insurance costs for young drivers, not all fleets will be able to participate in the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program.

Several moves by the Biden administration will also target an increase in driver hiring and retention, including a focus on veterans.

This story originally appeared on Truckinfo.net and was produced and
distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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WEF 2023: A call for more cooperation from businesses, governments, and society through digital transformation

A short roundup of digital transformation topics discussed at this year’s annual World Economic Forum.

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The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an annual event in Davos, Switzerland. Business, tech, government, and climate leaders speak and connect on strategies to improve the state of the world, specifically its industries, people, and environment.

Technology and digital transformation took center stage as leaders discussed exciting predictions for the new year. 

Curious about this year’s happenings? 

We’ve rounded up all the WEF topics where digital transformation was described as a top priority. 

Small businesses 

The pandemic made its mark on small businesses, but post-pandemic spending and inflation are proving just as destructive. The WEF concurs that a global recovery is only possible with small business recovery

The answer? Digitalization through:

  • Online payments: The e-commerce market is booming, estimated to jump over $2.1 trillion from 2022 to 2026. 
  • Global customer appeal: Digital financial platforms like Alipay+ help businesses access wider customer bases — a must after the latest local spending limitations from inflation. 

Luckily, 70% of businesses see the trend, leaning toward a higher-revenue (8X) future through digital transformation.

Manufacturing 

Manufacturing plants are faced with a double-edged sword in the face of exponentially innovative technology. They need to embrace it without sacrificing their workers or local investment. 

Adapting effectively means balancing the cost savings and scaling of macro supply chains with more local investment and empowering their workforces with new skills.

But the digital transformation necessary to balance all three comes from collaboration with:

  • Supply chain partners 
  • Competitors and industry players 
  • Government stakeholders 

The WEF also developed a tool to help manufacturing players monitor and apply supply chain disruptions from climate issues, new technology, and geopolitical tensions.

Technology investment to combat economic downturn 

Economic hardships drive companies to limit expenditures. A prominent WEF topic this year was digital transformation as a way to survive and soar over challenging business times.

How? 

For starters, SaaS and its automation, as well as ultra connectivity with wifi and 5G, limit redundancy and heighten collaboration and productivity. The trickle effect is a smoother customer experience and more revenue. 

It’s estimated that 60% of the GDP relied on digital technologies in 2022.

A strong sentiment surrounding this was a call for more public-private collaboration to make these technologies accessible to businesses and drive the economy, as well as government investment in connectivity infrastructure. 

Digital transformation and ESG

Businesses should strive to drive value in more than just economic matters. Just as information and data solutions have been prioritized, so have their ESG contributions. In the digital space, a large part of ESG is making the technology that so many businesses benefit from, accessible and equitable. That covers the S in ESG — as for the environmental pillar, IT capabilities are adapting tout suite. 

For example, edge computing supports animal observation and preservation in terms of data collection. 

The governance that brings everything together is becoming expected in new IT investments. Another ESG example here is Lenovo’s environmental assessments of their supply chains, including reducing their plants’ carbon footprint.

Emerging economies

Technology is slower to blossom in emerging economies, but global leaders concur on a need to invest in digitalization in developing countries. This launched the Digital FDI (foreign direct investment) to create “digital-friendly investment climates” — starting in Rwanda and Pakistan. 

At a most basic level, this includes investments to bring internet connectivity to poorer countries, a luxury that only 53% of the world has. The initiative will fund technology startups and innovators in Pakistan and Rwanda, propelled by investment and, arguably most importantly, public-private cooperation. 
Learn more about 2023 digital transformation trends.

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10 unexpected alternative investments in luxury goods

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Masterworks.io compiled a list of 10 unexpected luxury goods that are also used by investors as alternatives to traditional investments, according to sources such as Forbes and Harvard Business School.
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Take a note from financial advisers—don’t work for money, get your money working for you.

Investments in property are typical, as is purchasing hedge fund assets or even helping fund a startup venture that could become the next unicorn tech company. For many investors, once they’ve ticked off these boxes, they may be ready to look outside the box—or the stock market ticker, in this case—and consider some novel ways to diversify their portfolios and grow those three-comma-laden fortunes.

Masterworks.io compiled a list of 10 alternative investments in luxury goods, from different sources such as ForbesHarvard Business School, Investopedia, and Investor Junkie. For the well-off, having an enviable collection of jewelry, vintage cars, and limited-edition toys and fashion accessories may just come with the lifestyle; but for investors, these top-dollar purchases can also be a smart investment when chosen wisely. 

Close up of vintage wine bottles.

l i g h t p o e t // Shutterstock

Vintage wine

A good bottle of wine is synonymous with the finer things in life, but it could also be a valuable avenue to more riches. If an investor knows their grapes, they could end up with a cellar of tasty investments—one bottle recently sold at a fundraising auction for a record $1 million.

Wine is notoriously difficult to appreciate for the uninitiated, and if you’re more likely to notice the “nose” and “legs” on a person than a glass of wine, you may wonder how you’ll navigate the wine world.

There are wine exchanges where the well-heeled can follow and invest in certain wines, online auctions, and more exotic options like buying wine before it is even sold, something called buying “en primeur.”

A cellar full of top-quality vintages will undoubtedly draw admirers of exquisite taste, but remember, actually tasting these investments will drastically lower their value.

Leather Gucci brand handbag on display.

yu_photo // Shutterstock

Handbags

Designer handbags convey status and have the benefit, to those of a certain class, of being expensive. Sotheby’s reports the average auction prices for new Birkin bags in 2022 ranged from $12,000 to $23,000. If it’s hard to believe that one purse could be so expensive, consider that the smallest bags can be the most expensive bags.

For some, it may be arguable whether buying a fashionably expensive accessory is “an investment” or just an excuse to elicit the envy of other high-fashion devotees. In this case, though, that handbag may be worth the trouble. A report from Credit Suisse and Deloitte found that the financial return on Chanel bags was an 11.8% increase in 2021, and 38% for Birkin bags.

A display of Star Wars action figures: R2-D2, Hans Solo and C-3PO.

Krikkiat // Shutterstock

Mint-condition toys

Many people have childhood memories of being given that toy they’d been dreaming about, or the crushing disappointment of finding out they weren’t actually going to get it. Now that those children have gotten older, some finally have the resources to collect the toys they had dreamed about it as a child. Nostalgia pulls in many collectors as they finally get ahold of a toy they couldn’t quite get their hands on in younger years, or rediscover a beloved childhood toy that was long lost.

The money can be pretty substantial, too: An original Barbie sold for $27,450, an Obi-Wan Kenobi action figure from “Star Wars” was won at auction for $76,700, and a Super Mario Bros. NES cartridge sold for $660,000.

Be warned, though: Not all that brings joy is valuable. If you’re still holding on to that so-called “ultra-rare” Princess Diana Beanie Baby in hopes of funding a new private jet, you should know one recently sold for only $9.

Still life of flowers in a vase by Jan van Kessel held by Sotheby’s attendant.

Tristan Fewings // Getty Images for Sotheby’s

Fine art

The wealthy have stored value in fancy art for millennia, and recent years are no exception. Wealthy people spent an average of $242,000 on art and antiques in the first half of 2021, according to Forbes.

Also, if you believe elegance is about condensing value into a small space, fine art is a fantastic option. “When Will You Marry,” a 40-by-30-inch work painted by Paul Gauguin in 1892, sold for nearly $300 million, or about $250,000 per square inch.

This sort of fine art purchase isn’t just for aesthetics. If you ship that artwork to your home, you could be facing millions in taxes, so an investor will likely ship it to a tax-free storage site to avoid that tax burden and keep those dollars safely in their bank account.

White glove presentation of luxury watches.

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Jewelry and watches

The arrival of the pandemic coincided with a spike in the value of vintage watches, according to GQ. New watches have pulled in serious modern-day dollars as well, like this watch from Jacob the Jeweler that lists for $620,000.

For those who sneer at the hoi polloi snatching up wrist candy, maybe rare jewels are more their speed. A pink diamond called the CTF Pink Star sold for over $71 million and a blue diamond sold for over $57 million.

Unlike wine or artwork, these are items you can actually use on a regular basis. If new money shouts and old money whispers, there’s no better way to broadcast your recent largesse than these sparkling acquisitions.

Cropped close up of a black Rolls Royce.

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Classic cars

What if you could combine the graceful lines of fine art with the fun of toys? If that experiential portmanteau is what you seek, then look no further than classic cars.

Classic cars rev up the nostalgia and envy of others, and they can have serious value. A rare 1955 Mercedes 300 SLR sold for over $143 million in 2022 and a vintage red 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold for $48 million.

Leave it to the common folk to show off their fancy new cars on the internet, like this Pagani Roadster, which sells for a paltry $4 million. You know the journey to make all your Champagne wishes and caviar dreams really come true starts with the throaty purr of a classic engine.

A collection of vintage baseball cards.

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Trading cards

The company Verified Market Research says the sports card trading market was worth over $7.8 billion in 2021.

Investing in trading cards can be risky, as they don’t have the same intrinsic value of something like a car—which, even if valueless on the market, could still provide transportation—and so their values can fluctuate more. But you needn’t worry about such trivialities, as the stakes are small compared to other options: according to Yahoo, only two trading cards have ever sold for more than $6 million each.

Comic books on display at a retail store.

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Comic books

Even the moderately deep-pocketed can invest in comic books.

The record price for a comic book was a trifling $5.3 million in January 2022 for “Superman #1.” But the returns can be handsome. “Amazing Fantasy 15,” the comic book with the first appearance of Spider-man, sold in 2011 for $110,000 and sold 10 years later for $3.6 million, which is more than 31 times than the original investment.

Pair of Air Jordan sneakers with black background.

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Sneakers

While children from earlier generations may have been enamored with Superman, the younger set shifted their idolatry from figures of fantasy to heroes on the parquet floors of basketball courts.

Perhaps, you think, instead of chasing collectibles deemed valuable in the past, you could look to where future interest may lie. And a growing category of collectibles is sneakers.

Michael Jordan, a fellow member of the three-comma club, not only became an international superstar, but also helped usher in today’s fascination with sneakers. So, it is fitting that the most expensive sneakers ever sold were his, a $615,000 pair from the first-ever Air Jordan line, released after his rookie season.

A digital display showing Bored Ape NFTs on $100 dollar bills.

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Digital art, also known as non-fungible tokens or NFTs

Long gone are ideas of money being valuable because it is tied to a commodity like gold. Today we live in a world where money has value because someone says it does.

What better way to wrangle growth in your portfolio than by taking the concept of value to a further extreme: taking a digital file and giving it value because a record somewhere says you own it. Welcome to the world of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.

While NFTs are tied with the cryptocurrency market, and 2022 has seen some rocky times in crypto, you can be sure that you’ll be joined by your fellow fiscally elite. According to Gadgets360, as of 2021, nearly 80% of all NFTs are owned by just a few investors.

This material is provided for educational purposes only. It is not investment advice and should not be the basis of an investment decision.

This story originally appeared on Masterworks.io and was produced and
distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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