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Human Times
North America
U.S. added 'disappointing' 210,000 jobs in November

The U.S. economy added 210,000 jobs in November,  the smallest number of jobs added to the economy since December 2020. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast 573,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 4.2% as more people joined the labor force, the department added, while average wages rose 4.8% from a year ago to $31.03 an hour, as workers continued to see pay increases amid higher inflation. The share of people either working or looking for work rose to 61.8% in November from 61.6% in October, suggesting that wage increases are starting to draw workers off the sidelines. The retail sector lost 20,000 jobs in November, with losses concentrated in general merchandise, clothing and sporting goods stores that were partly offset by increases in food and beverage stores and building supply stores. Transportation and warehousing added 50,000 positions and professional and business services added 90,000. Justin Wolfers, an economist at the University of Michigan, said the report is "doubly disappointing," adding: "This was a moment for people to return to malls and to return to work. The COVID-related news has only gotten worse since then." However, RSM chief economist Joe Brusuelas commented: "We expect that the topline establishment survey will be revised upward over the next two to three months and will look more like what the household survey is showing: the labor market is tightening, and wages are rising in what is the best labor market for workers since the late 1990s."

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Human Times
UK
Menopause forces one million women to retire early

The government’s business champion for older workers says almost one million women have retired early because of the menopause - putting the country at risk of a pensions crisis. Andy Briggs, who runs recruiter Phoenix, said that well-paid women who could contribute most to workplace pensions were leaving full-time employment in droves because of the impact of the menopause on their health and wellbeing. “Nearly 4m women in the UK are aged between 45 and 55 and are in employment. And women . . . over the age of 50 are the fastest-growing segment of the workforce,” Briggs told the Mail on Sunday, adding “Yet one in five women end up leaving the workplace as a result of some of the symptoms of menopause.” Briggs co-chairs the 50Plus Choices Employer Taskforce, which has called for more clinical support for women with menopausal symptoms, changes to sick leave policies to take into account the disruption of menopause and a government-backed drive to promote conversations about menopause in the workplace.

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Human Times
Europe
Banks fined over 'Sterling Lads' forex cartel

Barclays, Credit Suisse, HSBC and NatWest have been fined a total of €344m ($390m) by EU antitrust regulators for foreign exchange market rigging. UBS swerved a €94m fine by alerting the European Commission to the cartel, which was set up via a chatroom known as "Sterling Lads." HSBC was fined €174.3m, Credit Suisse’s fine was set at €83.3m, Barclays at €54.3m and RBS at €32.5m. NatWest said the misconduct took place about a decade ago in a single chatroom and involved a former employee, and since then its culture and controls had fundamentally changed. “Our cartel decisions . . . send a clear message that the Commission remains committed to ensure a sound and competitive financial sector that is essential for investment and growth,” EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said, adding "The collusive behaviour of the five banks undermined the integrity of the financial sector at the expense of the European economy and consumers.” The information exchanges enabled the traders "to make informed market decisions on whether and when to sell or buy the currencies they had in their portfolios, as opposed to a situation where traders acting independently from each other take an inherent risk in taking these decisions," the Commission said.

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Human Times
Middle East
Pandemic boosts public faith in researchers and science

An international Gallup poll suggests that trust in science and scientists has increased since the pandemic.  Results published by the Wellcome Trust, a London-headquartered foundation focused on health research, show that about 80% of people from 113 countries said they trusted science either “a lot” or “some.” About three-quarters of the 119,000 surveyed said they trusted scientists, either “a lot” or “some.” Fatima Tokhmafshan, a geneticist and science communicator who was not associated with the survey, said she was “not surprised by the results,” and suggested the interdisciplinary response to the pandemic among scientists in fields including public health, immunology, zoology and epidemiology helped people to understand the connections between science and their own well-being.

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