Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

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Good evening.

Despite fears about the impact of the Omicron variant and staff shortages, British bosses started 2022 in an optimistic mood, according to three new recordings published today.

Companies plan to increase investment, but based on the growing demand for their products, rather than any government policy initiatives. Labor shortages have been cited as their biggest fears, followed by the pandemic, climate change and higher inflation.

“This is a measure of both the remarkable decline in pandemic activity and the scale of the challenge today that CFOs view labor shortages as the biggest risk to business,” said Deloitte’s chief economist.

There are some signs that the government is moving to address key bottlenecks. new “skills camps”Will, for example, train up to 11,000 prospective truck drivers to try to alleviate the shortage of truck drivers – a problem exacerbated by Brexit. The £ 34.5 million contracts are worth more than the government has spent on HGV driver training over the past eight years.

Other government measures fell short. With little progress in ministers’ efforts to boost skills, many companies are starting to refocus their recruitment efforts on school leavers, rather than graduates.

Another post-Brexit challenge lies in the battle to be the top dog financial services. But as we Big Read explains, the shift in the center of gravity from London to its European rivals that some have predicted has yet to take place.

Although the expected impact of Brexit on the City has not materialized so far, there are some clear winners and losers elsewhere as the new year draws to a close.

The country’s 5.5 million small businesses, for example, are struggling with sky-high energy prices. As one hotel owner put it: “It would be ironic if we survived Covid. . . and it was the energy bills that oppressed us. ”

The pandemic and the continuation of homework have also ruined this year’s gym’s “golden season” – the rush after Christmas to join fitness clubs as people follow up on their New Year’s resolutions. British £ 4.5 billion industry lost £ 200 million in revenue after the introduction of the latest restrictions, while fitness businesses also missed state support in December.

On the other side of the ledger, one of the sectors that will benefit over the next few months is that of the UK private hospital industry. NHS England has signed a three-month deal with 10 companies to help it cope with the increase in infections and associated staff shortages.

Another is the UK’s luxury car industry. Rolls-Royce chief executive said Covid-19 deaths helped the brand sell a record number of vehicles last year as wealthy motorists splashed out after realizing “life can be short”.

How is your company doing with the new restrictions? And are you optimistic for the year ahead? Let us know at

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Must know: the economy

Eurozone unemployment fell by 220,000 in November, leaving the unemployment rate at 7.2 percent – close to its record low of March 2020 when the pandemic started. While the rise of Omicron may put the brakes on economic growth, the decline is the latest piece of good news for the bloc’s labor market as more people return to work after state-sponsored leave schemes.

Line chart showing unemployed numbers close to record low in eurozone area

Latest for UK / Europe

Latest developments in the British cost of living crisis lock up a call for a windfall tax foreign oil and gas companies to be sent to households suffering from rising energy bills and pleas for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to increase state pensions. But while poorer families remain under severe pressure, the average British household will probably be more financially resilient than before the pandemic, according to Oxford Economics forecasts.

Worldwide latest

The pressure on cost of living is not limited to the UK. Food prices will remain high until this year, as extreme weather linked to climate change is taking its toll on crops.

Extreme weather conditions related to climate change have pushed up commodity prices.  Graphs that increased the Saskatchewan yellow pea price by 85%, the Belgian Bintje potato price by 180% and ICE arabica coffee price by 76% in 2021.

Must know: business

Wall Street banks will probably announce record profits for 2021 when the results season kicks off on Friday, thanks to the boom in investment banking and lower-than-expected loan losses.

Line chart of net income in $ billion showing major US banks set for record profits in 2021

British brick-and-mortar retailers, led by Marks and Spencer, find that there is life in it traditional business models yet after the boom in online shopping during the pandemic.

The world airlines is still plagued by the turmoil created by new constraints. Pro-Beijing media asked Cathay Pacific to be punished for quarantine violations and there are renewed fears that flight ban could threaten Hong Kong’s status as Asia’s status top business core. In Europe, airlines have complained that they are being forced to walk half empty “ghost flights”To retain valuable landing rights.

Yesterday’s Big Read examines whether supply chain disruption in the global economy is likely to end soon. Destroyer warning: it is not.

The World of Work

Changing jobs can be a time of great uncertainty and never more so than during a global pandemic. Naomi Shragai, business psychotherapist and author of The man who considered his work for his life, offers her tips about managing the change.

a living “anti-work” movement takes post in the US, encouraging followers to work as little as possible in traditional works, or to abandon them for self-employment to maximize leisure time. Some 4.5 million people left their jobs in November, the highest “stop rate” since records began in 2001.

Our latest How to lead interview looks at how Cirque du Soleil CEO Daniel LaMarre handled when restriction meant $ 1 billion in revenue disappeared in just 48 hours and he had to fire 95 percent of Cirque’s workforce – 4,679 people – by video.

“It is said that 2022 will be the year of the employee. But will 2023 be the year of workplace remorse? ” Our most read article on this weekend was Camilla Cavendishsee opinion piece: It’s time to admit that hybrid does not work.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section of the online version or email us at

Covid cases and vaccinations

Total global cases: 304.4m

Get the latest global picture with us vaccine tracker

And finally …

“It may not feel like it now, but we will dance again.” Meanwhile, we asked eight photographers to share their stories for our FT Magazine photo special: Dance floors forever.

Revelers party in New York's Studio 54
Revelers Party in New York © Tod Papageorge, Studio 54, New York, 1978-1980. Courtesy of Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne.

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