Eight things you need to know about the impact of COVID-19 on Saratoga County's economy.
8 @ 8 is a newsletter filled with eight things you need to know on topics related to the economy in Saratoga County, New York. You can expect to see 8 @ 8 in your inbox twice a month. If you have content you'd like us to share or have a topic you'd like to see more of, let us know and we'll work to include it in a future edition! - The Saratoga Partnership Team
1. Here Is What's In The COVID-19 Relief Package
The president has signed the $900 billion COVID relief legislation into law and you'll get more than a second stimulus check. Highlights of the law include: individual benefits such as $600 relief checks for many Americans; small-business help including a second round of PPP loans; funding for vaccines; measures to increase access to broadband Internet; transportation aid; funding for schools and universities; money for farmers; medical bill provisions, and tax-deductible meals. Small Businesses, find out what is different about the second round of PPP loans here. You can also read the full bill here.
2. The Remote-Work Transition Shifts Demand for Cyber Skills
The cyber workforce is always in high demand – such high demand that there has been an ongoing and well-publicized shortfall in qualified specialists to fill available jobs. But the work-from-home shift has created unprecedented disruption within cybersecurity, with ramifications for the workforce shortage. According to Cyberseek, an interactive mapping tool that tracks the current state of the security job market, there are more than half a million open cybersecurity positions available in the U.S. alone (522,000). Read more about the cyber workforce challenge.
3. The Cost of Child Care Was Already Astronomical. In the Pandemic, It's 'Terrifying.'
With schools and many day cares closed during the pandemic, the cost of child care has skyrocketed. However, the United States has been an outlier on child care long before the coronavirus, with price tags far exceeding those in other high-income countries. The average cost of child care for a child under 4 is $9,589 per year, according to New America’s Care Report — more than the average cost of in-state college tuition. It’s much more expensive in big cities: In Washington, D.C., the average cost of care for an infant is more than $24,000. Families are straining their budgets to pay for school and day-care substitutes - and there's no end in sight.

The Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, Saratoga County Employment & Training, Warren County Employment & Training, Brightside Up, and the Southern Adirondack Child Care Network are conducting two separate surveys to assess the marketplace for future child care needs. Any data collected will be aggregated and your individual responses will remain confidential.

  • Whether you are a parent who currently has children in child care, are seeking care, or have used child care in the past, please take a moment to complete this survey.

4. To Save the Planet, Start with Sidewalks
For more than a hundred years, communities big and small have been defined by streets planned by professionals who optimize them for vehicles. Human beings are largely left out, and often considered a problem that needs to be “controlled” by limiting any friction they cause with cars. COVID-19 has shown us the importance and versatility of public spaces. Transformations to our sidewalks have been implemented quickly by necessity and now that can continue by choice. What comes next is making sure that these changes are thoughtful; taking into account the needs of every person. 
5. CBRE's 2021 U.S. Real Estate Market Outlook
CBRE expects that 2021 will see a strengthened recovery of all U.S. commercial real estate sectors as the broader economy bounces back from the pandemic-induced recession and even as a potentially split federal government tempers fiscal stimulus plans. CBRE anticipates that sectors like office, retail and hotels will begin a slow recovery next year. Meanwhile industrial & logistics real estate and data centers will extend their rapid early recovery that is already under way, and multifamily will start its own swift rebound. CBRE’s report details the 2021 outlook for Industrial + Logistics, Multifamily, Data Centers, Office and Occupier, Hotels, and Retail.
6. 8 Trends in Architecture and Engineering for 2021
The trends that project owners will see in 2021 architecture and engineering (A/E) projects reflect many of the changes around us. Are you positioned to handle an unpredictable climate and the resulting impact on infrastructure? How can proper planning mitigate economic challenges? What innovations can help you improve the lives of people in your community? What new technologies can bolster buy-in from the public and project stakeholders? This 2021 outlook will help you harness change and improve your projects in the year ahead.
7. Mastercard SpendingPulse: U.S. Retail Sales Grew 3.0% This Holiday Season
According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, holiday retail sales excluding automotive and gasoline increased 3.0% this expanded holiday season, running from October 11 through December 24. Notably, online sales grew 49.0% compared to 2019, preliminary insights show. This season, U.S. consumers shopped far earlier than in years past, as retailers offered special promotions early and often. In addition, though Black Friday was down (-16.1%*), Thanksgiving weekend through Cyber Monday remained a key time for shoppers, with Black Friday being the top spending day of the 2020 holiday season. Key findings from Mastercard SpendingPulse underscore the shift to online spending, with e-commerce accounting for 19.7% of overall retail sales – up from approximately 13.4% in 2019. In addition, consumers continue to spend more time – and money – on their homes. Mastercard SpendingPulse measures overall retail spending trends across all payment types, including cash and check.
8. 2021 Outlook: The Second Great Railroad Revolution?
As one of the most difficult years in world history draws to a conclusion that at times felt like it would never come, the North American railway industry - battered and bruised but refusing to go down - looks to a new year with cautious optimism, and most important - hope. Railway Age has collected thoughts of some of the railway industry's most experienced minds to predict what 2021 holds for rail.