THUMBS UP! To another successful food drive, and thanks to our city's generous benefactor Howard Buffett. Buffett's $1 million donation pushed the WSOY Community Food Drive to yet another record. The food drive has exceeded the previous year's total for each of its 20 years. Brian Byers and Kevin Breheny continue to drive the event and help Decatur put its best forward. Congratulations to them, and thank you to all who donated, especially Buffett, whose generosity expands its bounds on a regular basis.
THUMBS DOWN! To chip shortages. In just one of the number of shortages in the aftermath of COVID, the automotive industry is battling through a period of struggle as they wait for manufacturing to catch up. Chip production shifted to personal electronic devices as their popularity increased during the pandemic. Automotive industry officials are optimistic about the final quarter of 2021, and there are thousands of consumers who hope they're correct.
THUMBS DOWN! To workers quitting. A record 4.3 million people quit their jobs in August, a number last reached in December 2000. The former workers represent 3% of America's workforce. Analysts point out quitting was rampant among those in the service industries -- restaurants, bars, hotels -- and potentially was a reaction to another COVID-19 surge. The number of jobs available has people willing to switch where they're working. The conundrum is a significant factor in the shortages in several markets.
THUMBS UP! To a charity with the right idea. New York-based charity the Tunnel to Towers Foundation helps the families of fallen first responders. The organization paid off the mortgage for the family of Champaign Police Officer Chris Oberheim. Oberheim, 44, who is from Decatur and formerly served with the city’s police department, was shot to death in the line of duty on May 19 by a suspect in a domestic violence disturbance. The donation gives Oberheim's survivors some breathing room as they navigate life without their patriarch.
THUMBS DOWN! To the increase of single people. We're not suggesting the unmarried folks among us suddenly couple. The share of the U.S. population not living with a romantic partner during prime working years has grown from 29% to 38% from 1990 to 2019. Around 28% of single people between the ages of 25 to 54 are living with their parents. Researchers say the unpartnered population is generally economically disadvantaged and less healthy compared to married people or those living with a romantic partner. The share of adults ages 25 to 54 who are married dropped from two-thirds in 1990 to just over half in 2019, and the share of people who have never married grew from 17% to 33%. While the unpartnered population includes people who are separated, divorced or widowed, all the growth comes from people who have never been married. It's an issue waiting for solutions.