Corporate Finance

The Four-Day Workweek, March’s Job Numbers, and Reducing Cyber Risk: Trial Balance

This week, the Trial Balance highlights the legitimacy of a four-day workweek and more.
The Four-Day Workweek, March’s Job Numbers, and Reducing Cyber Risk: Trial Balance
Photo: Getty Images

With OPEC’s slashing of production, ChatGPT’s innovation being globally challenged, and the U.S. dollar’s struggle to remain the world’s reserve currency, March’s ending wasn’t very “lamb-like.” To evaluate Wall Street’s reaction to all of the recent hurdles faced by the financial sector, senior reporter Vince Ryan’s piece last week on the global IPO market shows many CFOs are still hesitant to go public at the moment. Ryan found companies are holding back their pushes to go public amid an unpredictable market, where Q1 of 2023 saw IPO launches nearly tie their six-year low.

Also, Thursday is National Burrito Day, so we hope you’re hungry. Still no word on whether or not our friend and Chipotle CFO Jack Hartung is having our lunch catered for that day. 

(The Trial Balance is CFO’s weekly preview of stories, stats, and events to help you prepare.)

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Part 1: Is the Four-Day Week the Future of Work?

This week, reporter Adam Zaki gauges the legitimacy of a four-day workweek. From school districts in Pennsylvania attempting to convert their weeks to Tuesday through Friday in order to avoid budget cuts, European countries implementing four-day work weeks on a large scale with success, and California Democrat Rep. Mark Takano’s proposal to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to shorten the standard workweek to 32 hours, the very times in which we do work may begin to change. (April 7)

Part 2: Economic Calendar

Monday — The Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing PMI for March is forecast to show a fourth straight month of contraction. The index components include new orders, production, employment, inventory, prices, and backlogs.

Economists expect construction spending for February to be flat with the prior month, again affected by lower investment in residential construction, especially single-family housing. 

Fed Governor Lisa Cook gives a speech on the U.S. economic outlook and monetary policy, at the University of Michigan.

Tuesday — The Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is due out. Job openings are once again expected to fall slightly. Layoffs and discharges for February could see another increase after rising to 1.7 million in January.

Chainalysis’s Links 2023 conference is apparently sold out, but be on the lookout for news from this New York cryptocurrency gathering. Scheduled speakers include the chief security officer of Coinbase, the chief compliance officer of Binance, and the superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services.

Credit Suisse, recently rescued by the Swiss government and UBS, is scheduled to hold its annual shareholders’ meeting.

Wednesday — The start of Passover, the Jewish holiday commemorating the Exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

FASB holds a board meeting to discuss a proposed standard on joint venture formations as well as staff research on the accounting for and disclosure of software costs.

Thursday — The initial jobless claims report is a precursor to Friday’s release of March employment data. Claims for unemployment insurance rose 7,000 the week ending March 25 and economists expect another bump. However, the four-week average is still below 2019, pre-pandemic levels.

That indisputable rite of spring, the U.S. Masters Golf Tournament, gets underway in Augusta, Georgia. For the third year, duffers and seasoned amateurs can create fantasy teams and leagues. Stay out of the bunkers.

Friday — U.S. stock exchanges are closed in observance of the Christian holy day Good Friday

We won’t get to see the stock market’s reaction until next Monday, but March’s job numbers get dropped. Not much movement is expected in the unemployment and job participation rates, but the monthly addition to nonfarm payrolls is forecast to fall to 235,000, the lowest level since April 2020.

Earnings releases this week — The flood of first-quarter earnings reports doesn’t start until April 24. This week, earnings reports are due from Acuity Brands, LiveChat Software, Kirkland’s, Conagra Brands, Levi Strauss, Constellation Brands, WD-40, Volvo Cars, Seadrill, and ​​Ermenegildo Zegna.

Down the road — SEC Chair Gary Gensler will testify before the House Financial Services Committee on April 18. The hearing will focus on his approach toward the cryptocurrency ecosystem, Cointelegraph reported

Part 3: Reducing Cybersecurity Financial Burdens

Protecting businesses from cyber breaches is not just a matter of spending more but also of taking smart preventative measures to lessen the company’s cyber vulnerability. Rahul Mahna, a partner at Eisner Advisory Group, outlines four actions CFOs can implement to help reduce the cost of cybersecurity risks. (April 4)