SWC’s Fast Five

Hiring continues to trend down, COVID gums up return to work, we’re still buying every last house we can put our hands on, delivery people can’t catch a break and it turns out a frozen embryo as old as your college grad living in your basement holds up.

So, here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1 Why the delay with Santa’s sleigh

United Parcel Service Inc. told its drivers to stop picking up packages this week from certain retailers who had exceeded their volume agreements as the logistics company works to keep its network from being overwhelmed. The delivery company is doing what it can to meet unprecedented e-commerce demand even as it gears up to ship Covid-19 vaccines. You can wait on that gift.

2 COVID surge stalls return to work momentum

Floors of empty office space are a source of great frustration for landlords and companies, which have heavily invested in adapting building plans and developing new health protocols to make employees comfortable with a shared location. The low level of employees at their desks is intensifying the pain for cities geared toward office life.

3 U.S. hiring slows in November, the fifth straight monthly slowdown

Before the pandemic, last month’s gains of 245,000 would have been considered healthy. But the U.S. economy is still roughly 10 million jobs below its pre-pandemic level, with a rising proportion of the unemployed describing their jobs as gone for good.

4 Demand for mortgages to purchase homes continues to skyrocket

Demand for mortgages to purchase homes last week was 28 percent higher than a year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Mortgages to refinance homes were up 102 percent from the previous year.

5 Meet this darling 27-year-old baby

Molly Gibson, a Tennessee baby born in October, set the record for the longest-frozen embryo to result in a live birth, more than 27 years.