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Johnson & Johnson will split itself in two.

ImageJohnson & Johnson announced it would become two companies, one focused on consumer products like its baby powder, and the other on drugs and medical devices.
Credit…Mike Segar/Reuters

Johnson & Johnson said Friday it would split itself into two publicly traded companies, the latter of corporate giants shrinking themselves to please shareholders.

The 135-year-old company announced it was planning to spin-off of the consumer products division — home to Tylenol, Band-Aid, Neutrogena beauty products and more — in a separate company. That would be J.&J. with its pharmaceutical and medical devices division, which also includes the production of vaccines against the coronavirus.

The decision comes days after General Electric, another icon of corporate America, unveiled a plan to split itself into three companies. And it was announced hours later Toshiba, a stalwart of Japanese industry, said it too would split itself up.

Behind the moves is pressure on business leaders to simplify their sometimes sprawling business empires, in hopes of bringing more focus to their companies and boosting their stock prices.

But J.&J. has also struggled with legal claims that its talc-based products may have caused cancer. By October, the company had set up a department to manage the lawsuits filed for bankruptcy protection.

The company’s share price rose more than 5 percent in premarket trading.

Credit…Desiree Rios for The New York Times

Single mothers — those who never married — have made up a growing proportion of homebuyers over the past three decades. But the pandemic threatens to dampen that progress, experts say.

Women have suffered most from the job losses in the past year and a half, while also taking on most of the childcare responsibilities, Tara Siegel Bernard reported for The New York Times. At the same time, the housing market has become highly competitive: According to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, single-family home prices rose nearly 20 percent in August, according to the most recent data available, from a year earlier.

The pandemic, coupled with the challenging market landscape, has eroded women’s confidence about their likelihood of becoming homeowners: Nearly 60 percent of single female householders renting — those who have never married, those who are divorced or divorced, and widows – said they couldn’t afford to buy and didn’t know if they ever would, according to a Sept study by Freddie Mac, the government-backed mortgage giant.

Single women accounted for 19 percent of home buyers from July 2020 to June 2021, up from 18 percent in the previous year, according to an analysis by the National Association of Realtors released Thursday. The slight increase is above prepandemic numbers but may be due in part to the decline in the number of Americans getting married, said Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at the Realtors group.

“Women are facing a lot of headwinds right now,” she said. “We know they are buying with a lower income, even as prices have risen and inventory has declined.”

For example, single women who bought their first home had a median household income of $58,300 in 2020, compared to $69,300 for their male counterparts, the association found. Single women tend to be older when they buy and spend less on their homes: The median age of first single female buyers was 34, compared to 31 for men, and women spent about 14 percent less.

Home ownership is often seen as a sign of financial stability for a reason. READ THE ARTICLE →

Across the country, employers are grappling with how, when and even if they will get employees back to the office. In conversations with leaders at companies across a wide range of industries — the people tasked with making the ultimate call — the consensus was that there was no consensus.

CEOs struggle to balance rapidly changing expectations with their own impulse to have the final say on how their business runs. They are eager to respond to employees who enjoy their newfound autonomy but are reluctant to give up too much control. And they’re constantly changing policies in response to employee demands, re-examining aspects of their business that they might not have tinkered with otherwise.

David Gelles, columnist for The New York Times’s Corner Office, spoke to several CEOs to hear what they think about working in the office at this point in the pandemic.

  • In early October, PwC announced that remote working was a permanent option. Employees had two weeks to decide what to do. Those who decide to change cities or stay remote can change their assignment, but don’t run the risk of being let go. “I believe that what we have announced will be commonplace for mass employers in just a few months,” said Tim Ryan, US president of PwC.

  • “What employees say they want in their work environment in the future will be far more important than a bunch of senior executives at the top of an organization determining what that will be,” said Andi Owen, the CEO of MillerKnoll, the creator of the Aeron chair and other office furniture, which all its own servants still have to bring back full-time.

  • As Google prepares for more employees to return to the office next year, it’s planning a makeover of many of its office spaces. Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google and its parent company, Alphabet, said Google, where some employees have returned voluntarily but most are still working remotely, remained productive (and profitable), but is taking so long with limited resources. -Personal interactions with colleagues grew old. “We’re working on some borrowed time, in terms of working on memories of the relationships you have and the connections you have,” said Mr. Pichai. “It takes its toll.”

  • A third of workers last fall said they were working longer hours than before the pandemic, according to pew. This was especially true for people who used to commute. For many, the hours spent driving or taking public transportation were simply included in the workday. “I think people work harder,” says MillerKnoll’s Ms. Owen. The blurring of the lines between the workday and the rest of life has contributed to a growing sense of discontent among the workforce and may explain the massive layoffs that are turning the job market upside down.

CEOs want employees to return — and fear alienating those who have become accustomed to working from home. READ FULL ARTICLE →

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