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BC-US--Business Features Digest, US

January 24, 2019

The Business News enterprise package planned through Jan. 28. For comments or questions, call 212-621-1680.For questions about photos, call ext. 1900. For questions about graphics, call ext. 7636.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN-RIPPLE EFFECTS ON BUSINESSES _ Clyde’s restaurant group, which owns a dozen restaurants in the D.C. area, is cutting hours for kitchen staff and waiters as sales have sunk. A Colorado company that makes belt buckles as part of the official uniform of U.S. Forest Service employees, is struggling to stay afloat. A restaurant that caters to federal agencies in Huntsville, Alabama, has suffered a plunge in business. As the partial government shutdown plods through its fifth week, businesses that have lost sales and revenue are themselves cutting back by reducing workers’ hours and resorting to - or at least considering - layoffs and propelling ripple effects through local economies. By Christopher Rugaber. UPCOMING: Thursday, 850 words by 3 p.m.

TAX SEASON-Q&A _ Tax season is almost here and this one could be tricky. It’s the first year that taxpayers will be filing under the massive tax law overhaul and a partial shutdown of the federal government threatens to complicate things further. The IRS officially begins processing returns for individuals on Monday, here’s what you should know before then. By Sarah Skidmore Sell. SENT: Thursday, 1,240 words, photo.

FUTURE OF WORK-ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE _ Robots aren’t replacing everyone, but a quarter of U.S. jobs will be severely disrupted as artificial intelligence accelerates the automation of existing work, according to a new Brookings Institution report. By Matt O’Brien. SENT: Thursday, 690 words, photos.

OFF THE CHARTS-RETAILERS GET GRINCHED _ The holiday season was a surprisingly brutal one for U.S. retailers, especially department stores. While investors thought most retailers would benefit from solid economic growth, high consumer confidence and low unemployment, companies including Macy’s and Nordstrom struggled badly over the critical December period. By Marley Jay. SENT: Thursday, 490 words, photos.

NERDWALLET-SURVIVING RETIREMENT _ Retirement lasts more than 20 years on average for Americans. That’s two decades of expenses you may need to cover while no longer earning a paycheck. Here’s how to calculate how long your savings and other income sources will last, and what to do if you’re in danger of running out of money. By NerdWallet columnist Dayana Yochim. SENT: Thursday, 780 words, photos.

HOME AFFORDABILITY WORSENS _ Home sales in many areas of the country have dipped, and price gains have slowed. Yet a rising number of middle-class Americans are finding that home ownership is unaffordable, according to an analysis being released Wednesday. By Josh Boak. SENT: Wednesday, 830 words, photos.

SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK-INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS _ Many small business owners use independent contractors rather than employees, even transitioning their employees into freelancers and following the model used by Uber. But the government has rules about freelancers, contending some owners misclassify employees and call them independents to avoid paying Social Security, Medicare and other taxes. By Joyce M. Rosenberg. SENT: Wednesday, 1,000 words, photos.

With:

_ SMALLBIZ-INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS-TIPS _ Small business owners who want to use independent contractors need to be sure these workers really aren’t employees. By Joyce M. Rosenberg. SENT: Wednesday, 480 words.

ISRAEL-ENERGY POLITICS _ A decade after discovering natural gas fields off its Mediterranean coast, Israel is starting to feel the geopolitical boost. Its newfound riches have fostered economic bonds with its neighbors, tightening relations with Arab allies, and built new bridges in a historically hostile region _ even without significant progress being made toward peace with the Palestinians. By Aron Heller. SENT: Wednesday, 1,090 words, photos.

NERDWALLET-LIZ WESTON-LIMIT-COLLEGE HELP _ A survey shows that many parents think they should help pay for college, but more want their kids to contribute and fewer are willing to sacrifice their retirement funds. By Liz Weston. SENT: Wednesday, 800 words, photo.

ON THE MONEY-ORGANIC PRICES _ U.S. shoppers are still paying more for organic food, but the price premium is falling as organic options multiply. Last year, organic food and beverages cost an average of 7.5 percent more than conventional food, according to Nielsen. By Dee-Ann Durbin. SENT: Wednesday, 770 words, photos.

FINANCIAL MARKETS-BOGLE LEGACY _ Forty years ago, the thought of buying an index fund and being satisfied with simply getting the same return as the market was widely ridiculed. Later this year, for the first time, U.S. stock index funds will likely have more in cash than actively managed funds. By Stan Choe. SENT: Tuesday, 1,000 words, photos.

GUN INDUSTRY-TOUGH TIMES _ When gunmakers and dealers gather this week in Las Vegas for the industry’s largest annual conference, they will be grappling with slumping sales and a shift in politics that many didn’t envision two years ago when gun-friendly Donald Trump and a GOP-controlled Congress took office. By Lisa Marie Pane. SENT: Tuesday, 880 words, photo.

NERDWALLET-MILLENNIAL MONEY-FREEZE CREDIT _ Freezing your credit reports is a smart way to protect your financial reputation — especially when you’re starting out — because it’s free, easy to set up and doesn’t affect your credit score. By NerdWallet columnist Amrita Jayakumar. SENT: Tuesday, 750 words, photo.