Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

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Good evening

Today’s data that a decline in unemployment will likely be welcomed by the U.S. Federal Reserve, despite disappointing growth in the number of jobs, as it moves toward withdrawing its pandemic stimulus and raising interest rates.

While only 199,000 new jobs were added in December, less than half the number expected by economists, the Fed is likely to place more emphasis on the unemployment rate, which fell by 0.3 percentage points to 3.9 percent.

There has also been a marginal improvement in the ratio of people who have jobs or are looking for work, but the recent increase in Omicron cases will only heighten the concerns of those sitting on the sidelines for fear of Covid. Separate data yesterday showed Americans resign their job in record numbers, as the trend called the “Great Resignation” continued.

As the FT Editors noted earlier this week, we may be witnessing a turning point as workers become more aware of their forces in a tight labor market, possibly reversing the trend of the past 40 years that has given business the whip hand when it comes to appointment. And, as Gillian Tett notes, for some people the pandemic has turned “side presses” (dog-ferry, anyone?) Into a new way of life.

Another sign of the times comes from the UK’s High Pay Center, whose new study showed narrowing pay gaps between bosses and workers during the pandemic, as bonuses fell back under investor pressure.

The gap is still large – FTSE 100 executives received 86 times the median worker’s salary in 2020 rather than the 120 of the previous two years.

But, the High Pay Center calculates, that means 2022 will be the first year in a decade that they will have to work until the fourth day of the new year to earn the same amount that an average worker goes home in the full year. will take. Truly difficult times.

Latest news

  • Germany has tightened restrictions on access to restaurants, cafes and pubs

  • Citigroup sal Dismisses US employees at the end of January if they have not been vaccinated or have received an approved exemption

  • Although UK coronavirus infections have increased, official data show signs of a potential slowdown within some age groups in England

For the latest news updates, visit us live blog

Must know: the economy

Eurozone inflation has a new record high of 5 percent in December, driven by food and energy prices. The larger-than-expected increase puts more pressure on the European Central Bank to accelerate the cut-off of its monetary stimulus program.

Line chart of harmonized index of consumer prices (annual% change) showing Eurozone inflation: ends the year at a record high

Economists have warned of a “cost of living disasterIn the UK due to rising energy prices, tax increases and inflation all combine to hit the poorest families the hardest. Banks are in talks with regulators to help them to mitigate price increases for consumers.

Bar graph of Decline in money available for discretionary spending (%) showing Energy price increases will hit weak family budgets very hard

Latest for UK / Europe

New official data has shown that, before the pandemic, one tenth of the British almost held half the country’s wealth. However, inequality in the 14 years to March 2020 remained stable. One group is doing particularly well: those with houses for sale.

Inflation in Germany it fell 5.7 percent in December, a slight improvement on November’s 6 percent, the highest level since the country’s reunification in the early 1990s. The new government promised help with energy bills for poorer households as price levels hit 18.3 percent higher than a year earlier.

Turkey spend at at least $ 7.3 billion supported the lira in December, contributing to concerns about the country’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

Worldwide latest

China’s ‘zero Covid’ policy comes under severe pressure due to the proliferation of Omicron in places like Hong Kong where food prices will increase as flight restrictions are tightened. Catch up with us Great reading about how the Chinese economy sailing after the Evergrande property crisis.

Argentina’s central bank has its benchmark interest rate of 38 percent to 40 percent, the first increase in a year, in an effort to control inflation and work out a new loan agreement with the IMF.

Must know: business

First quarter profit at Samsung, the world’s largest maker of computer chips and smartphones, is expected to launch with 52.5 percent thanks to the rising demand for semiconductors. A shutdown in the Chinese city of Xi’an, home to two Samsung manufacturing lines, is likely to push prices higher.

With a large part of the world’s population still without vaccines, a group of institutional investors have asked salary of pharmaceutical bases to be connected to international access. Nearly half of the World Health Organization’s member states have less than 40 percent of the vaccinated population, a situation that could worsen as richer countries sharpen reinforcement programs.

A Bank of England survey showed a sharp decline in UK business confidence for the first quarter, as the distribution of Omicron projections for sales and investment plunged.

Bar graph of the expected impact of Covid-19 on sales for Q1 '22 and Q4 '21, average% impacts, at the date of survey showing that expectations of UK business sales weakened

There was positive news about the prospects for physical retail shops on both sides of the Atlantic. British fashion retailer Following predicts its highest profit ever after strong Christmas trading, while Walgreens in the US (also owner of the UK Boots chain) has raised its expectations for full-year profits.

British business groups have called on the government to to address deficiencies of Covid Keys.

Round off science

After encouraging signs that Omicron may be less harmful than previous variants, scientists are turning their attention to what comes next. South Africa’s experience provided some possible clues as to how the variant might reach and then fall back.

Graph showing that Gauteng's Omicron wave was shorter, sharper and less deadly than those that came before

Listen back to the latest Twitter Spaces Chat with FT specialists about what we know so far about Omicron.

Read our explanation Lang Covid and why some people still have symptoms months after infection.

In vaccine news, a new study added to evidence that existing coronavirus stimuli are effective against Omicron. And in China, efforts to develop a homemade messenger RNA vaccine is accelerated as the country’s zero Covid policy is stress tested by the recent increase in infections.

And before we leave you, read how Covid sniffing dogs may soon be deployed at airports for signs that they may be more effective than lateral flow tests.

Covid sniffs Spencer the labrador is being trained by the charity Medical Detection Dogs
Covid sniffing Spencer the Labrador is being trained by the charity Medical Detection Dogs © Anna Gordon / FT

Covid cases and vaccinations

Total global cases: 297.7 m

Get the latest global picture with us vaccine tracker

And finally …

One week left – how are your New Year’s resolutions? Ayelet Fishbach, a professor of behavioral science, discusses the best way to set goals – and stick with them.

Ayelet Fishbach: ‘Step back and think about your goals. What’s the best way to get there? ‘ © Rob Hart / FT

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