Argentina is no stranger to economic turmoil, having defaulted on its national debt three times since 2001. Now the country is facing another bout of brutal inflation, with an annual inflation rate of 88 percent reported in October, up from 50 percent in January 2022.
Argentine photographer Irina Werning captured the frustration working Argentines feel in a photo series. “Inflation destroys savings, impedes planning, and discourages investment,” she wrote in her introduction.
In August, when the reported inflation rate hit 78.5 percent, Argentine workers held a mock funeral procession, complete with casket, to mourn the “death of wages.”
U.S. public health agencies recorded a total of about 3.2 million deaths in 2022, according to full-year mortality figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The total number of deaths was down 7% from the preliminary total for 2021 that the CDC reported a year earlier, but it was 15% higher than the preliminary, full-year average — about 2.8 million per year — for the period from 2015 through 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
China’s population has fallen for the first time in 60 years, with the national birth rate hitting a record low – 6.77 births per 1,000 people.
The population in 2022 – 1.4118 billion – fell by 850,000 from 2021.
China’s birth rate has been declining for years, prompting a slew of policies to try to slow the trend.
But seven years after scrapping the one-child policy, it has entered what one official described as an “era of negative population growth”.
The birth rate in 2022 was also down from 7.52 in 2021, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, which released the figures on Tuesday.
In comparison, in 2021, the United States recorded 11.06 births per 1,000 people, and the United Kingdom, 10.08 births. The birth rate for the same year in India, which is poised to overtake China as the world’s most populous country, was 16.42.
Deaths also outnumbered births for the first time last year in China. The country logged its highest death rate since 1976 – 7.37 deaths per 1,000 people, up from 7.18 the previous year.
Long COVID is having a significant effect on America’s workforce, preventing substantial numbers of people from going back to work while others continue needing medical care long after returning to their jobs, according to a new analysis of workers’ compensation claims in New York state.
The study, published Tuesday by New York’s largest workers’ compensation insurer, found that during the first two years of the pandemic, about 71% of people the fund classified as experiencing long COVID either required continuing medical treatment or were unable to work for six months or more. More than a year after contracting the coronavirus, 18% of long COVID patients had still not returned to work, more than three-fourths of them younger than 60, the analysis found.
“Long Covid has harmed the work force,” said the report, by the New York State Insurance Fund, a state agency financed by employer-paid premiums. The findings, it added, “highlight long Covid as an underappreciated yet important reason for the many unfilled jobs and declining labor participation rate in the economy, and they presage a possible reduction in productivity as employers feel the strains of an increasingly sick work force.”
Author(s): Pam Belluck
Publication Date: 24 Jan 2023
Publication Site: Yahoo (originally published at NYT)
Rolling waves of consolidation have significantly decreased the number of hospital systems in the U.S., leading to dominant regional systems. Increased concentration potentially affects industry quality, prices, efficiency, wages, and more. Much of the consolidation research is focused on merger events and estimating effects on the merged entities. In contrast, our new working paper is not based simply on merger data but takes account of the overall increase in consolidation across the country without respect to cause.
Specifically, we use the intensity of changes in hospital system consolidation in metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) over two periods to estimate its effect on the wage growth of higher-earning professional workers—in this case registered nurses. We focus on registered nurses as a homogeneous group of workers with some degree of industry-specific education and skills. Registered nurses represent the largest single occupational classification in hospitals and urgent care centers, representing one in four workers.
Understanding the dynamics of local healthcare labor markets is critical given the importance of the sector for the U.S. economy; even more so in the wake of the pandemic amid continued uncertainty around long-term effects (e.g., early retirements, career shifts, education delays). Moreover, labor shortages among hospital-based nurses, which may be a symptom of monopsony, have been endemic in the industry for many years. The wages of nurses were stagnant between 1995 and 2015 despite increasing demand for healthcare over the same timeframe even as it was the only sector that added employment during the Great Recession. Explanations for the stagnation of nurse wages—in one of the more highly unionized professional occupations in the country—are not readily apparent.
Author(s): Sylvia Allegretto and Dave Graham-Squire
Publication Date: 19 Jan 2023
Publication Site: Institute for New Economic Thinking
At least 1.1 million people protested on the streets of Paris and other French cities Thursday amid nationwide strikes against plans to raise the retirement age — but President Emmanuel Macron insisted he would press ahead with the proposed pension reforms.
Emboldened by the mass show of resistance, French unions announced new strikes and protests Jan. 31, vowing to try to get the government to back down on plans to push up the standard retirement age from 62 to 64. Macron says the measure – a central pillar of his second term — is needed to keep the pension system financially viable, but unions say it threatens hard-fought worker rights.
Unions propose a tax on the wealthy or more payroll contributions from employers to finance the pension system instead.
Polls suggest most French people oppose the reform, and Thursday was the first public reaction to Macron’s plan. Strikes severely disrupted transport, schools and other public services, and more than 200 rallies were staged around France.
Under the planned changes, workers must have worked for at least 43 years to be entitled to a full pension. For those who do not fulfil that condition, like many women who interrupted their career to raise children or those who studied for a long time and started working late, the retirement age would remain unchanged at 67.
Those who started to work under the age of 20 and workers with major health issues would be allowed early retirement.
Retirement rules vary widely from country to country, making direct comparisons difficult. The official retirement age in the U.S. is now 67, and countries across Europe have been raising pension ages as populations grow older and fertility rates drop.