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COVID-19

Zoom’s fate tied to future of remote work

Mitchell Hartman Nov 30, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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A cat takes part in a Zoom call in Milan, Italy, this May. Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images
COVID-19

Zoom’s fate tied to future of remote work

Mitchell Hartman Nov 30, 2020
A cat takes part in a Zoom call in Milan, Italy, this May. Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

One of the most talked-about companies this year is Zoom Video Communications, provider of the video-conferencing software that many of us have been using since the pandemic started.

Zoom reports its earnings later today. While the company’s been on a roll, uncertainty lies ahead.

(Full disclosure: The interviews for this story were done on Zoom, after a Marketplace news meeting on Zoom.)

“The entire world is sort of doing everything on Zoom. I mean it’s become one of those verbs like ‘Kleenex’ or ‘Zamboni’ or ‘Xerox,’ ” said Dan Romanoff, who covers the tech sector at Morningstar. Romanoff said many companies plan to let their workers keep working remotely after the pandemic.

“I don’t think we’re going to go back to everyone going to the office,” he said.

Still, Zoom could face headwinds once COVID-19 restrictions on work and social life are eased, said Scott Kessler, an analyst at consultancy Third Bridge. “How sustainable is the momentum as the world hopefully normalizes?” he asked.

When promising news on COVID-19 vaccines drives drug company stocks up, it tends to drag stock in Zoom and other remote communication companies down.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?

The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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