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The November jobs report shows Black women are leaving the labor force

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) November jobs report, released December 3, provides mixed news about the state of the nation’s economic recovery. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 210,000 jobs, compared to October’s increase of…

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By Anthony Barr, Makada Henry-Nickie, Kristen E. Broady

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) November jobs report, released December 3, provides mixed news about the state of the nation’s economic recovery. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 210,000 jobs, compared to October’s increase of 531,000, and unemployment decreased by 0.4%, to 4.2%. BLS reports that “nonfarm employment has increased by 18.5 million since April 2020 but is down by 3.9 million, or 2.6 percent, from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.”

Most of the job gains for November occurred in professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, construction, and manufacturing. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to negatively affect service industries, particularly retail trade, which saw a decline of 20,000 jobs in November. Some of this decline is offset by gains in food and beverage stores (9,000 jobs added) and building material and garden supply stores (7,000 jobs), but retail trade employment remains 176,000 jobs lower than in February 2020. Employment in leisure and hospitality remained largely unchanged in November, and the industry is still down by 1.3 million jobs, or 7.9%, compared to February 2020.

While health care employment was largely unchanged, nursing and residential care facilities lost 11,000 jobs. The BLS report further notes that health care employment is down 450,000 jobs since February 2020, with most of those losses concentrated in nursing and residential care. This job loss is likely accelerated by worker burnout and the vaccine mandate for employees.

Though the overall economic picture in the jobs report is slightly positive, there are sharp racial disparities in terms of employment. The biggest item to note is the dramatic drop in the number of Black women in the labor force—a phenomenon likely driven by ongoing disruptions to child care. Beyond this change to labor force participation, ongoing concerns include the effects of inflation and the uncertainties of the pandemic with the arrival of the Omicron variant.

An alarming loss of Black women in the labor force

Table 1 shows the unemployment rate by race for the three-month period between September and November. The data shows a downward trend in unemployment for all racial groups, though there are still large disparities between groups throughout the three-month period. Black workers saw the largest drop in unemployment in November.

Table 2 shows the U.S. unemployment rate by race, gender, and age from November 2020 to November 2021. Even in the face of an overall positive trend in the employment situation, November saw an increase in the unemployment rate for Black teens (ages 16 to 19): from 16.1% in October 2021 to 21.9% in November 2021, a rate that is 12.6 percentage points higher than the current rate for white teens. Black teens have the highest 13-month average unemployment rate, at 17.15%. Jobs in retail and hospitality—the primary employers of teens—have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Restaurants and retail outlets have reopened but are struggling to hire and retain adult workers; this provides employment opportunities for teens, yet these opportunities do not appear to be benefiting Black teens.

Table 2

Meanwhile, the return to in-person school instruction has coincided with an alarming increase in Black women exiting the labor force. Between October and November, the labor force participation rate for Black women dropped to 60.3%, effectively erasing the impressive gains reported in August. This 1.5 percentage point dip represents a weakening attachment to the workforce for Black women in recent months: 181,000 of them have exited the workforce since September, with more than half (91,000) exiting in November alone. This reversal in labor force reentry is unique to Black women, as women in other racial-ethnic groups continued to regain their footing in the workforce.

 

Figure 1

Increasing vaccination rates among children will be instrumental in supporting the economic recovery for Black women. However, vaccines need to work in tandem with targeted economic policies that create on-ramps to the job market for women—particularly, Black women with child care needs.

The nation’s child care infrastructure is in a fragile state, after recovering 90% of its workforce relative to February 2020. Roughly 108,000 workers are still missing from this sector, where women dominate the workforce and wages skew toward the lower end of the distribution. Furthermore, child care center failures add to the recovery’s unevenness; this is particularly true for local communities grappling with the loss of child care centers. A Columbia University study tracking child care center closures estimated that Black, Latino or Hispanic, and Asian American families were disproportionately exposed to child care facility closures, and that a considerable number of these closures may be permanent.

New policies need to confront the multiplicity of challenges impeding Black women’s return to economic well-being. Labor shortages have driven larger employers to lure workers with higher wages; while this is welcome news for workers broadly, smaller child care operators cannot compete for employees with wages, flexibility, benefits, or lower hiring requirements. Furthermore, inflationary headwinds complicate the economic environment for child care operators looking to attract new workers and capital sources to reopen community-based centers.

Wages are increasing, but inflation is taking its toll

Pandemic-induced labor shortages have given workers more leverage, while their earnings have increased at the fastest pace in 40 years. However, price inflation is negating many of those higher wages.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 6.2% between October 2020 and October 2021 before seasonal adjustment—the largest one-year increase since the period ending November 1990. Between September and October 2021, the CPI-U increased 0.9%. According to BLS data, average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.4% during the same period. And when inflation is taken into account, real average hourly earnings decreased 0.5% in October.

While average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 8 cents (to $31.03) in November, and average hourly earnings of private sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 12 cents (to $26.40), these gains have largely been washed out by inflation.

The Federal Reserve considers policy changes

The renomination of Jerome Powell to lead the Federal Reserve suggests that the Biden administration is looking to reassure markets in the face of lingering inflationary pressures. In recent comments to the Senate, Powell signaled that the Fed is worried inflation will persist for longer than initially expected, and suggested that it will taper off asset purchases sooner than expected. While the markets responded well to the news that Powell would be renominated, his comments on inflation sparked concern.

Though several high-profile progressives opposed Powell’s renomination, they are likely excited about the nomination of Lael Brainard to the role of vice chair. In a speech given earlier this year, Brainard emphasized the importance of inclusive indicators and the goal of full employment: “The headline unemployment rate by itself can obscure important dimensions of labor market slack, so it is important to…consult a broad set of aggregated and disaggregated measures.” She also noted that tighter labor markets can improve equity, saying “groups that have faced the greatest challenges often make important labor market gains late in an expansion.”

A new COVID variant, and renewed economic uncertainty

As we face another pandemic winter, the World Health Organization has recently identified a “variant of concern” which they’ve named Omicron. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo expressed concern about the potential impacts of the variant for the labor market: “It’s too soon to tell, but I do think it’s real—not just because of the outbreaks, but because of people’s fears to show up. It’s massively disruptive.”

The Biden administration has announced several measures in response, including expanded at-home testing, continued mask mandates while flying or on public transit, and updated travel requirements for those entering the country. The administration is also continuing to encourage all adults to get a vaccine booster shot.

As we prepare for the holiday season, Omicron and other factors are still fueling great uncertainty in the broader economy in terms of labor markets, supply chains, and consumer behavior. The low unemployment rate continues to underscore the significance of the economic recovery, but the still high unemployment rate for Black workers and the dropping labor force participation rate for Black women serve as reminders that we are still far from a full recovery.

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Easyjet share price down 3% as pandemic losses hit £2.2 billion

The EasyJet share price shed over 3% today to give up a chunk of…
The post Easyjet share price down 3% as pandemic losses hit £2.2 billion first appeared on Trading and Investment News.

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The EasyJet share price shed over 3% today to give up a chunk of the gains the budget airline had made earlier in the week. The new slide came after it announced a £213 loss for the last quarter of the year covering the Christmas period, taking losses for the Covid-19 pandemic period to £2.2 billion. The airline also told investors it is still burning through £150 million in cash every month as it struggles to build capacity back up.

The short-haul airline that makes most of its income shuttling holidaymakers and business travellers around Europe said it is still only operating at around half of its pre-pandemic capacity. However, it is hopeful that pent-up demand and an end to travel restrictions mean it will return to pre-pandemic levels by summer and enjoy much brisker trade than of late over the Easter and spring period.

easy jet plc

But before then the airline company will again have to absorb deep losses over the current quarter, which is traditionally its weakest of the year. Even a strong summer period, think most analysts, will be insufficient to see the company return to profit this year. EasyJet’s value is still less than half of what it was in February 2020 before the coronavirus-induced market sell-off that hit later that month and saw markets dive into March before starting to recover. The share prices of rival budget airlines Ryanair and WizzAir have recovered much more strongly in comparison to EasyJet’s and are now close to their pre-pandemic levels. There have been concerns around whether EasyJet could survive the pandemic but investors contributed £1.2 billion last autumn to bolster its balance sheet.

The EasyJet share price is closing the week at around £6.15 compared to over £15 before the pandemic. However, there is now hope the worst may be behind the airline and it can begin its, potentially long, journey back to health. Chief executive John Lundgren attempted to soften the announcement of another hefty loss with a bullish statement on where things go from here for his company:

“Booking volumes jumped in the UK following the welcome reduction of travel restrictions announced on January 5, which have been sustained and given a further boost from the UK government’s decision this week to remove all testing requirements.”

“We believe testing for travel across our network should soon become a thing of the past. We see a strong summer ahead, with pent-up demand that will see easyJet returning to near-2019 levels of capacity, with UK beach and leisure routes performing particularly well.”

For now, however, forward guidance for the immediate quarter remains cautious with the company admitting it has fallen short of its expectations to be at 80% capacity by this quarter, sitting at just 67%. However, with most analysts confident the company will eventually return to strength, and profit in the 2022-23 financial year, EasyJet shares could offer a good buying opportunity at current levels.

The post Easyjet share price down 3% as pandemic losses hit £2.2 billion first appeared on Trading and Investment News.

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Xi Jinping Seeking “Global Domination”: Mike Pompeo

Xi Jinping Seeking "Global Domination": Mike Pompeo

Authored by Nathan Worcester via The Epoch Times,

Mike Pompeo said Chinese leader Xi Jinping wants “global domination—hegemony for the Chinese Communist Party,” warning that the…

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Xi Jinping Seeking "Global Domination": Mike Pompeo

Authored by Nathan Worcester via The Epoch Times,

Mike Pompeo said Chinese leader Xi Jinping wants “global domination—hegemony for the Chinese Communist Party,” warning that the rise of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could destroy the rules-based international order in place since the end of World War II.

“It’s not about putting a Chinese tank division in Taiwan. It’s about accreting political power and influence throughout the world,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo, who served first as CIA director and later as Secretary of State under President Donald Trump, made the statement in an appearance at the Argus Americas Crude Summit 2022.

He said his tenure as CIA director came at a time when U.S. attention had to shift from terrorism to other threats, foremost among them the CCP.

He added that a “global awakening” is taking place about what he sees as the ambitions of the CCP.

“Most of the credit goes to Xi Jinping. He foisted a virus on the world, for goodness’ sake, and refuses to let anybody go figure out where it came from,” Pompeo said.

The CCP has met with international criticism for blocking access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and related facilities in Wuhan by the United Nations. Many scientists and journalists suspect the CCP virus that causes COVID-19 originated at the WIV.

Pompeo also commented on ongoing trade-related conflict between the United States and China, raising questions about the United States’ initial decision to open up to China in the context of its primary Cold War conflict with China’s then-rival, the Soviet Union.

“The trade war began maybe in 1972,” he said, referring to Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon’s visit to the People’s Republic of China in the context of restoring diplomatic ties.

“Maybe it was the right thing to do in 1972—but the trade war long predates the Trump administration.”

“We encouraged business together. I don’t fault the businesses who went there. Notice the past tense of this. America’s policy encouraged connectivity with the Chinese Communist Party. Today, that is an enormous liability for the world, and Xi Jinping knows that,” Pompeo said.

Tyler Durden Fri, 01/28/2022 - 23:00

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Authoritarian Madness: The Slippery Slope From Lockdowns To Concentration Camps

Authoritarian Madness: The Slippery Slope From Lockdowns To Concentration Camps

Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwal

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Authoritarian Madness: The Slippery Slope From Lockdowns To Concentration Camps

Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwald, the Auschwitzes—all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the Earth into a graveyard. Into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all, their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance, then we become the gravediggers.”

- Rod Serling, Deaths-Head Revisited

In the politically charged, polarizing tug-of-war that is the debate over COVID-19, we find ourselves buffeted by fear over a viral pandemic that continues to wreak havoc with lives and the economy, threats of vaccine mandates and financial penalties for noncompliance, and discord over how to legislate the public good without sacrificing individual liberty.

The discord is getting more discordant by the day.

Just recently, for instance, the Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board suggested that government officials should mandate mass vaccinations and deploy the National Guard “to ensure that people without proof of vaccination would not be allowed, well, anywhere.”

In other words, lock up the unvaccinated and use the military to determine who gets to be “free.”

These tactics have been used before.

This is why significant numbers of people are worried: because this is the slippery slope that starts with well-meaning intentions for the greater good and ends with tyrannical abuses no one should tolerate.

For a glimpse at what the future might look like if such a policy were to be enforced, look beyond America’s borders.

In Italy, the unvaccinated are banned from restaurants, bars and public transportation, and could face suspensions from work and monthly fines. Similarly, France will ban the unvaccinated from most public venues.

In Austria, anyone who has not complied with the vaccine mandate could face fines up to $4100. Police will be authorized to carry out routine checks and demand proof of vaccination, with penalties of as much as $685 for failure to do so.

In China, which has adopted a zero tolerance, “zero COVID” strategy, whole cities—some with populations in the tens of millions—are being forced into home lockdowns for weeks on end, resulting in mass shortages of food and household supplies. Reports have surfaced of residents “trading cigarettes for cabbage, dishwashing liquid for apples and sanitary pads for a small pile of vegetables. One resident traded a Nintendo Switch console for a packet of instant noodles and two steamed buns.”

For those unfortunate enough to contract COVID-19, China has constructed “quarantine camps” throughout the country: massive complexes boasting thousands of small, metal boxes containing little more than a bed and a toilet. Detainees—including children, pregnant women and the elderly— were reportedly ordered to leave their homes in the middle of the night, transported to the quarantine camps in buses and held in isolation.

If this last scenario sounds chillingly familiar, it should.

Eighty years ago, another authoritarian regime established more than 44,000 quarantine camps for those perceived as “enemies of the state”: racially inferior, politically unacceptable or simply noncompliant.

While the majority of those imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camps, forced labor camps, incarceration sites and ghettos were Jews, there were also Polish nationals, gypsies, Russians, political dissidents, resistance fighters, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals.

Culturally, we have become so fixated on the mass murders of Jewish prisoners by the Nazis that we overlook the fact that the purpose of these concentration camps were initially intended to “incarcerate and intimidate the leaders of political, social, and cultural movements that the Nazis perceived to be a threat to the survival of the regime.”

As the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum explains:

“Most prisoners in the early concentration camps were political prisoners—German Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats—as well as Roma (Gypsies), Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, and persons accused of ‘asocial’ or socially deviant behavior. Many of these sites were called concentration camps. The term concentration camp refers to a camp in which people are detained or confined, usually under harsh conditions and without regard to legal norms of arrest and imprisonment that are acceptable in a constitutional democracy.”

How do you get from there to here, from Auschwitz concentration camps to COVID quarantine centers?

Connect the dots.

You don’t have to be unvaccinated or a conspiracy theorist or even anti-government to be worried about what lies ahead. You just have to recognize the truth in the warning: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

This is not about COVID-19. Nor is it about politics, populist movements, or any particular country.

This is about what happens when good, generally decent people—distracted by manufactured crises, polarizing politics, and fighting that divides the populace into warring “us vs. them” camps—fail to take note of the looming danger that threatens to wipe freedom from the map and place us all in chains.

It’s about what happens when any government is empowered to adopt a comply-or-suffer-the-consequences mindset that is enforced through mandates, lockdowns, penalties, detention centers, martial law, and a disregard for the rights of the individual.

The slippery slope begins in just this way, with propaganda campaigns about the public good being more important than individual liberty, and it ends with lockdowns and concentration camps.

The danger signs are everywhere.

Claudio Ronco, a 66-year-old Orthodox Jew and a specialist in 18th-century music, recognizes the signs. Because of his decision to remain unvaccinated, Ronco is trapped inside his house, unable to move about in public without a digital vaccination card. He can no longer board a plane, check into a hotel, eat at a restaurant or get a coffee at a bar. He has been ostracized by friends, shut out of public life, and will soon face monthly fines for insisting on his right to bodily integrity and individual freedom.

For all intents and purposes, Ronco has become an undesirable in the eyes of the government, forced into isolation so he doesn’t risk contaminating the rest of the populace.

This is the slippery slope: a government empowered to restrict movements, limit individual liberty, and isolate “undesirables” to prevent the spread of a disease is a government that has the power to lockdown a country, label whole segments of the population a danger to national security, and force those undesirables—a.k.a. extremists, dissidents, troublemakers, etc.—into isolation so they don’t contaminate the rest of the populace.

The world has been down this road before, too.

Others have ignored the warning signs. We cannot afford to do so.

As historian Milton Mayer recounts in his seminal book on Hitler’s rise to power, They Thought They Were Free:

“Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things and never had. There was no need to. Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about—we were decent people‑—and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations of the 'national enemies', without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us.”

The German people chose to ignore the truth and believe the lie.

They were not oblivious to the horrors taking place around them. As historian Robert Gellately points out, “[A]nyone in Nazi Germany who wanted to find out about the Gestapo, the concentration camps, and the campaigns of discrimination and persecutions need only read the newspapers.”

The warning signs were there, blinking incessantly like large neon signs.

“Still,” Gellately writes, “the vast majority voted in favor of Nazism, and in spite of what they could read in the press and hear by word of mouth about the secret police, the concentration camps, official anti-Semitism, and so on. . . . [T]here is no getting away from the fact that at that moment, ‘the vast majority of the German people backed him.’”

Half a century later, the wife of a prominent German historian, neither of whom were members of the Nazi party, opined: “[O]n the whole, everyone felt well. . . . And there were certainly eighty percent who lived productively and positively throughout the time. . . . We also had good years. We had wonderful years.”

In other words, as long as their creature comforts remained undiminished, as long as their bank accounts remained flush, as long as they weren’t being locked up, locked down, discriminated against, persecuted, starved, beaten, shot, stripped, jailed or killed, life was good.

Life is good in America, too, as long as you’re able to keep cocooning yourself in political fantasies that depict a world in which your party is always right and everyone else is wrong, while distracting yourself with bread-and-circus entertainment that bears no resemblance to reality.

Indeed, life in America may be good for the privileged few who aren’t being locked up, locked down, discriminated against, persecuted, starved, beaten, shot, stripped, jailed or killed, but it’s getting worse by the day for the rest of us.

Which brings me back to the present crisis: COVID-19 is not the Holocaust, and those who advocate vaccine mandates, lockdowns and quarantine camps are not Hitler, but this still has the makings of a slippery slope.

The means do not justify the ends: we must find other ways of fighting a pandemic without resorting to mandates and lockdowns and concentration camps. To do otherwise is to lay the groundwork for another authoritarian monster to rise up and wreak havoc.

If we do not want to repeat the past, then we must learn from past mistakes.

January 27 marks Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a day for remembering those who died at the hands of Hitler’s henchmen and those who survived the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps.

Yet remembering is not enough. We can do better. We must do better.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, the world is teetering on the edge of authoritarian madness.

All it will take is one solid push for tyranny to prevail.

Tyler Durden Fri, 01/28/2022 - 23:40

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