December 2022

US adds 263K jobs in November, causing inflation woes

The U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs in November, boosting a labor market that has proven surprisingly resilient, while the Federal Reserve’s primary task has been complicated by tackling inflation, which remains the nation’s biggest economic threat. . .

The optimistic reading from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, released on Friday, was slightly lower than in October, but still exceeded historical norms and analysts’ expectations. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7%.

Economists say they are encouraged by the resilience of the labor market, but worry that continued momentum, and rising wages in particular, will force the Fed to raise interest rates more aggressively in its bid to slow the economy longer, causing the risk of a recession.

“The labor market continues to advance, despite several headwinds,” said Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glassdoor. “We get some mixed signals from the report, which is not a surprise at a time when the economy is at a turning point, but in retrospect this still points to a labor market that is tougher than we expected. On the other hand, inflation has also been more resilient than we expected.

The Fed has already raised interest rates six times this year, and plans to do so again in December, hoping to slow the economy enough to stop rising prices. Despite these efforts, headline inflation, at 7.7%, has slowed from its summer high of 9.1%. While consumers are accepting the relief so far, there is still a long way to go.

The central bank hopes to bring inflation down to its 2% target without sinking the economy or causing unemployment.

“Obviously, we’re in a time of tremendous risk in the economy right now,” said Adam Ozimek, chief economist at the Economic Innovation Group, a nonpartisan business organization. “A recession cannot be ruled out, but the economy seems to be rebalancing towards sustainable growth.”

Stocks fell on the news, falling sharply as trading opened before recovering around midday. All three major indexes were down for most of Friday, although the Dow Jones Industrial Average reversed course late in the day.

The labor market, which is still strong, remains one of the strongest pillars of an economy that is otherwise devastating. Americans are spending a lot, even though they are saving less than in 15 years. Production activity contracted in November for the first time in more than two years.

However, the Fed remains concerned that a persistently active labor market could lead to higher wages, which could exacerbate inflation. Wage growth, which had moderated in recent months, increased in October and November. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell emphasized this week that as long as inflation remains too high, wage increases for Americans will not translate into a higher standard of living.

“Right now, people’s wages are being eaten away by inflation,” Powell said at an event at the Brookings Institution on Wednesday. “But if you want to have a strong, sustainable labor market, with real wages going up across the wage spectrum, especially for people at the bottom, you have to have price stability. And until we get that back, I can’t go back to that place.”

Median hourly wages rose 0.6% between October and November, the biggest increase in 10 months. Headline wages rose 5.1% from a year earlier, to an hourly average of $32.82, which economists say puts additional pressure on the central bank to stay on its aggressive monetary tightening course. .

“This is another wake-up call that the Fed is not going to stop raising rates anytime soon,” said Megan Greene, chief global economist at the Kroll Institute. “I’m surprised at how strong the job market is, but it can’t last. We’re in a weird economy and the data is all over the place.”

Although hiring has remained brisk, Americans continued to drop from the workforce in November. The proportion of people who were working or looking for work fell in October for the third month in a row. Overall, the labor market was still short 102,000 workers before the pandemic, which economists say is a worrying trend that could continue to push up wages as employers compete for a shrinking pool of employees.

More broadly, the latest jobs numbers show a breakdown in hiring as Americans shift more of their spending from goods to services. Many of the biggest job gains in November were concentrated in service industries, such as leisure and hospitality, health care and construction. Meanwhile, employment in retail, transportation and warehousing fell as companies cut hiring ahead of the holidays.

Some restaurant owners say they are finally having luck finding employees after a short-staffed summer. In Bath, Maine, Mae’s Cafe & Bakery added six new workers (four servers, one busboy and one administrative assistant) in the past month, bringing its total workforce to 28.

“We’ve been operating lean for so long, but we felt like all of a sudden we got lucky and were able to find the people we were looking for,” said Julie Cook, general manager. “But that doesn’t mean it was easy. Our biggest challenge was finding cooks, especially for the weekend.”

Eventually, Cook says she would like to be open six days a week instead of seven, and expand the cafe’s repertoire with food, but not until she can secure more employees.

“Our customers were a bit grumpy because they have to wait or sometimes we only have a limited menu, but when someone gets sick there’s not much you can do,” she said. “We are staffed to the limit.”

A separate government report earlier this week showed there were 10.3 million job openings in October, down from 10.7 million the previous month but still near all-time highs.

“There is a disconnect between workers and jobs,” said Giacomo Santangelo, an economist at Monster.com. “You can say that there are openings for every unemployed person, but that does not correspond to reality. Nursing is in high demand, but if you lose your job at Twitter, Meta or Alphabet, you will not become a nurse.” .”

That divide is becoming increasingly clear as some companies have announced mass layoffs, while many others struggle to find enough workers. Some of the country’s largest employers, including Walmart, Amazon and Google, have recently cut thousands of management positions. Tech companies have endured a particularly sharp slowdown with steep job losses and hiring freezes, and media companies including newspapers CNN and Gannett announced layoffs this week. Meanwhile, employers in low-wage sectors such as education, healthcare and hospitality are reporting widespread labor shortages. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Roxanne Pauni, the owner of a childcare center in Logan, Utah, says she has hired at least 80 people in the past two years, although she currently has only 25. She has raised her hourly wages from $9 to $15, but she is still struggling to find and keep employees.

“You have a few good workers here and there, but some of them only last one or two paychecks,” he said. “It’s hard to compete when everyone else in the area is trying to rent as well.”

Pollution free world, best business investment ever!

National Pollution Control Day is celebrated every year on December 2 to honor all those who lost their lives in the Bhopal Gas tragedy on this day in 1984, in one of the biggest industrial pollution disasters in history. . The leak of toxic Methyl Isocyanate from a Union Carbide Corporation insecticide plant affected the residential area, and the impact of that disaster is still seen on the flora and fauna of the area. According to many estimates, more than 400 tons of industrial waste is still present at the site, so it is no surprise that contamination in the soil and water is blamed for birth defects in the region today. The purpose of commemorating the day is to remind people of the importance of a healthy and safe environment and the imperative role it plays in our well-being.

It is no secret that the world is facing an existential crisis that has been further fueled by the pandemic, making us realize the fragility of human life. History bears witness to the number of ways in which man has both directly and indirectly influenced, and also been influenced by, his environment, with far-reaching consequences for both. The human population has realized the importance of a clean and pollution-free environment rather late, but it is better late than never.

The last decade has witnessed drastic changes in the ecosystem and has led to a series of unwanted disturbances that pose a serious threat to humanity. It has not only changed the environment and fundamental aspects essential for the existence of human life, namely air, water, food and shelter, but it has also caused global warming and habitat loss. Urgent concerns, if not addressed immediately, can wreak havoc on the planet, which is our only source of life and well-being. There has recently been an increasing focus on living sustainably in harmony with nature, while also ensuring that we are collectively working towards a greener and healthier planet. With Indian metros topping the map of the most polluted cities in the world, the government has tried to get actively involved in the discussion on the environment and pollution. From plastic and cookie bans to river cleaning projects, initiating reforms for a healthier environment was on the government’s agenda. However, in order to achieve a sustainable long-term impact, it must be noted that at the level of policy implementation, environmental concerns must take precedence over financial gain and not the other way around. It is time we move forward in a planned and systematic way by starting progressive investments that can address both concerns with a more resource-effective approach and help break the vicious cycle of environmental degradation and economic development.

With Covid-19 paving the way for a new virtual world, businesses can now afford to go digital while reducing fuel costs and thus protecting the environment and resources. To tackle the problem of soil pollution, it is necessary to initiate proper waste management practices and the limited use of pesticides. With concepts like Vocal for Local, Go Green and Swatch Bharat gaining everyone’s attention, it is time to involve all stakeholders in this change for a better world. Governments and policymakers can initiate advocacy changes that are inevitable to achieve a sustainable world and can deliver long-term results. They can also raise awareness about the problem together with companies and other relevant stakeholders, making everyone realize the importance of a non-dangerous and non-polluted environment. Business organizations must encourage positive actions centered on ethical environmental practices, understanding them as part of a common effort for the well-being of all and a holistic approach to health instead of forced and mandatory responsibility.

The onset of the pandemic has made us realize that “Leaving No One Behind” as proclaimed in the SDGs is the much-needed approach, and moreover, the well-being of all is inextricably linked to each other. Therefore, a multisectoral approach involving the efforts of civil society can be a game changer in this regard. Even at the most micro level, people from all walks of life can make trivial but sustainable changes in their daily lives to reduce and reduce their carbon footprint.

“Charity Begins at Home”, one small step can go a long way in not only reducing the critical problem of toxins created by plastic, but also raising awareness of the problem and thus motivating others to follow suit. Reusing disposable items instead of throwing them away, taking a cloth bag on an errand, choosing handmade china and clay plates instead of microwavable plastic utensils, and using public transportation or carpooling are all small but important steps that’ t can be beneficial. in the future, if it follows through as a massive change. Remember that any government policy can only be sustainable through the participation and will of the people, which in turn can be achieved by creating awareness.

The adverse health impact of pollution is a direct public health concern in the country, from various types of cancer to asthma, from infertility to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a multitude of diseases are related to pollution. Post Covid19 recovery plans cannot be successful if actions are not included to limit the process of environmental risks. Instead of opting for short-term knee-jerk solutions, it is imperative that we secure long-term, sustainable solutions to the growing problem of pollution as the right business investment for a better future for all.

Be compassionate to save this world, business leaders advise

This was highlighted by Duangkamol Limpuangthip, head of the SME Banking Group at Bank of Ayudhya, who told us about an “embarrassing but enlightening” experience he had while traveling around the country.

She checked into her hotel and when she got to her room, she said, she couldn’t find any toothpaste in the complimentary toiletries set. So of course she called the front desk to complain.

A cleaning staff then came up to explain that her toothpaste was actually a tablet. This was the hotel’s small contribution to reducing plastic waste.

Another example he cited was a small Thai company selling bamboo toothbrushes, which have now caught the attention of many international five-star hotels.

Duangkamol said these small gestures can mean a lot for the environment.

She spoke at the Sustainability Forum 2023 hosted by Nation Group’s Bangkokbiz news last month.

Duangkamol was among several representatives of local and foreign companies who shared their thoughts on how to drive the Thai economy towards sustainability.

He said that green products and services will become popular as more and more people care about the environment.

He also said that Ayudhya Bank has come up with a financing model for green companies and green energy suppliers. It is also ready to support companies that apply the circular economy concept.

Start with what you are good at
With climate change, sustainability has become a key word for all sectors in recent years.

Responsibility is now more important than profitability, said the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Varawut Silpa-archa.

Varawut said everyone can do their part by starting with a small task they are good at.

This view was shared by TPI Polene Power, a leading power company in Thailand.

Pakkapol Leopairut, executive vice president of TPI, said the energy business is one of the main contributors to climate change. However, he said, TPI has improved its waste management system and is switching from fossil fuels to renewables to generate clean energy. TPI is one of the best waste-to-energy power plants in the world, he said.

In addition to providing affordable electricity for households, TPI also offers a solution to destroy waste without negatively impacting the environment, Pakkapol said.

“We’re pretty good at removing trash. We already have a waste incinerator, so instead of burning the trash, we’ve come up with a method to turn it into something useful. That’s where waste-to-energy plants come in,” he said.

If you find that you are not good at something that is important to your business, keep investing in it, advised Dan Pathomvanich, CEO of NR Instant Produce Plc (NRF).

NRF is a local leader in clean food technology.

He said that the food industry emits as much carbon as the energy sector and therefore food companies must transform their processes to reduce emissions.

War in Ukraine: Oil prices rise as Russian crude limit approaches

Oil prices have risen after major producers agreed to continue production and the G7 and its allies agreed to cover the price of Russian oil.

Brent crude rose about 0.6% above $86 a barrel on Monday morning.

On Friday, the G7 agreed to limit the price of Russian oil to $60 per barrel to increase pressure on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the OPEC+ group of oil producers said over the weekend that it would maintain its production cut policy.

Ukraine’s Zelensky says Russian oil cap ‘weak’
G7 and allies approve cap on Russian oil price

OPEC+ is a group of 23 oil-exporting countries, including Russia, that meet regularly to decide how much crude oil to sell on the world market.

“This OPEC+ decision to keep the quota where it is … is itself a kind of implicit support for the oil market,” Kang Wu of S&P Global Commodity Insights told the BBC.

Analysts said oil prices were also boosted by the easing of Covid restrictions in some Chinese cities, which could lead to a surge in demand for oil.

More cities in China, including Urumqi in the northwest, have said they will loosen restrictions after mass protests against the country’s zero-covid policy.

price limit
In a joint statement last week, the G7 and Australia said the $60 target on Russian oil would take effect “very soon after” on Monday.

They said the move was intended to “prevent Russia from profiting from its aggressive war against Ukraine.”

The price cap means that only Russian oil bought for less than $60 per barrel will be allowed to ship with G7 and EU tankers, insurance companies and credit institutions.

This could make it difficult for Moscow to sell its oil at a higher price, as many of the major shipping and insurance companies are based in the G7.

Russia has said it will not accept the price cap and has threatened to stop exporting oil to countries that adopt the measures.

Jorge León, senior vice president at Norwegian energy consultancy Rystad Energy, told the BBC’s Today program that oil prices could rise as a result.

“Russia has been very clear that it will not sell crude (oil) to anyone who subscribes to the price cap,” he said.

“So what’s likely to happen is that we’re going to see some disruption over the next couple of months, and therefore oil prices will probably start to rise again in the next couple of weeks.”

The G7 is an organization of the world’s seven largest so-called “advanced” economies, which dominate world trade and the international financial system. They are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Businesses are seen as an important ally in the green drive

Private businesses can play a key role in leading the green transformation in the Asia-Pacific region, and more support is needed to address the financial needs of smaller businesses, a forum heard.

While governments play an important role in the region’s ecological transformation, businesses remain critical stakeholders, with the power and resources to make a difference, said Tientip Subhanij, head of investment and business development at the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Ocean. , or ESCAP.

Speaking in Hong Kong on the first day of the ESG and Sustainable Investment Conference on Thursday, Subhanij said that many companies have very complex supply chains that include an extensive network of small and medium-sized enterprises, with small and medium-sized enterprises that more than 95 percent of all companies in Asia Pacific.

Organized by ESCAP and the World Green Organization and held in both online and offline formats, the two-day conference was held under the theme “Asia-Pacific Green Deal for Business.” The Green Deal for Business, the first of its kind in Asia, is an initiative of the ESCAP Sustainable Business Network, which advocates for business leadership in the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Finance remains one of the main barriers for businesses, especially SMEs, Subhanij said.

Citing data from the International Finance Corporation, he said that 65 million companies, or 40 percent of micro, small and medium-sized companies in developing countries, have an unmet financing need of $5.2 trillion every year. , and Asia Pacific has the most significant funding in the world. deficit, which accounts for more than half of the global financing gap.

Critical moment

“Now comes a very critical time for ESG consolidation and alignment,” said William Yu, founder and CEO of the World Green Organization, referring to the concept of environmental, social and governance.

Carbon trading is important for Hong Kong and the world to mobilize all efforts to combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions through financial incentives and trading mechanisms, Yu said.

Albert Ip, chairman of the World Green Organization and senior adviser to the president of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said that more than 400 offices have joined the Green World Organization’s green office program. The program will expand to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area to support more offices to improve workplace sustainability in the 11 cities of the Greater Bay Area in southern China.

Joseph Chan Ho-lim, Hong Kong Under Secretary for Treasury and Financial Services, noted that demand for green finance is accelerating worldwide, and said the government is working to transform the city, an international financial center, into a regional center for green and sustainable finance. .

The government will invest another 240 billion Hong Kong dollars (30.8 billion US dollars) to support a series of actions to fight climate change in the next 15 to 20 years, Chan said.

George Lam, president of the ESCAP Sustainable Business Network, said that many solutions and a lot of cooperation are needed to tackle the problem of plastic in the sea.

Tim Lui, chairman of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, said the commission is working to promote sustainability in the financial market.

Noting the promising outlook for the Chinese mainland’s carbon market, Lui said Hong Kong can play a strategic role as a financial and risk management hub.

Albert Oung, founder and president of the World Green Organization and chairman of the Green Economy Working Group of the ESCAP Sustainable Business Network, said that to promote green transformation it is not the technologies that are missing, but the higher goal that it should apply to businesses.