Current and former Tesla employees working in the company's open-air "tent" factory say they felt pressure to take shortcuts to hit aggressive Model 3 production goals,...Technologyread more
President Donald Trump and the RNC are picking up key supporters in the business community who did not back him as a candidate in 2016.2020 Electionsread more
Bank stocks have rebounded in recent months as strong results from lenders' retail businesses helped drive firms including J.P. Morgan to record profits.Financeread more
Johnson & Johnson reports second-quarter earnings Tuesday before market open.Health and Scienceread more
Analysts polled by Refinitiv are expecting earnings of $4.89 per share and revenue of $88.828 billion when Goldman Sachs reports second-quarter earnings Tuesday.Financeread more
Early Facebook investor and Trump supporter Peter Thiel weighed in on the Democrats taking on the president in 2020, saying he was "most scared' by Elizabeth Warren.Politicsread more
Tensions between Japan and South Korea come as the U.S. and its trading partners are embroiled in a global trade war.Technologyread more
The one-to-eight stock split would mean the current number of ordinary shares — which stands at 4 billion — will increase to 32 billion. It comes ahead of a reported Hong Kong...Asia Marketsread more
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is raising red flags ahead of Facebook's proposed cryptocurrency launch.Marketsread more
China's fiscal spending increased 10.7% in the first six months from a year earlier, the finance ministry said on Tuesday, underlining the government's bid to support the...China Economyread more
Beto O'Rourke's campaign for the 2020 election raised just $3.6 million in the second quarter of this year, putting him in the lower tier of candidates who have struggled to...2020 Electionsread more
Don't be surprised if there's a little sticker shock at the Christmas tree lot this year.
The price of Christmas trees is rising, indicating the industry is finally recovering from the Great Recession, which thrust it into a decade-long slump.
The National Christmas Tree Association survey conducted by Nielsen/Harris found that the average price about 2,000 respondents paid for a real tree in 2017 increased to $75, up 30 cents from the previous year's price tag. This year, prices will probably rise again, maybe as much as 5 to 10 percent in some areas, NCTA spokesman Doug Hundley said.
Between 2005 and 2015, the Christmas tree industry was not profitable for its growers, he told CNBC. A surplus of trees, combined with the financial crisis in 2008, meant that farmers struggled to sell all the trees they had, leading to discounts for customers.
Between 2015 and 2016, prices went up about 15 percent. The jump in price reflects a return to more profitable pricing, as well as a shortfall of supply.
During the economic downturn, farmers could not afford to plant as many seedlings. An evergreen conifer takes between 8 and 10 years to mature, so the impact of that decision was felt years later.
For the health of the industry, Hundley said, he hopes the rate of rising prices follows inflation more closely. Growers will have to tackle a few challenges to ensure supply stays in line with demand. Understanding demand for real trees can be difficult since it changes from year to year, and growers need to predict it so far in advance.
"We now have a good healthy balance between supply and demand," Hundley said. "We aren't going to have to throw trees away at the end of the year."
Climate change is affecting outputs in western states such as California, Oregon and Washington, according to Hundley. The increasingly dry conditions hurt seedlings, and the crop is not worth the effort of irrigation.
Rising prices helps explain why some consumers are buying artificial trees instead of the real deal. Results from the annual NCTA poll show that while 27.4 million trees were sold in 2016 and again in 2017, their fake counterparts saw sales in 2017 tick upwards from 18.6 million to 21.1 million.
The average price of fake trees is also rising, but they usually last between five and 10 Christmas seasons. In 2016, the average price for an artificial tree was $98.70, according to NCTA data. The following year, the price went up to $107 on average.