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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."Full Issue
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.Full Issue
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals voted on Saturday to lift a temporary injunction that it had placed on San Diego USD’s student COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The decision, reached by a 2-1 vote, lifts the injunction the court had placed on the mandate about a week ago. Judges had said the injunction would continue as long as the district continued to allow vaccine deferrals for pregnant students. But now that the district has removed that condition, the block has been removed too. The decision is the latest development in a legal battle surrounding a mandate that would restrict in-person learning and on-campus activities among SDUSD students 16 and older to those who are fully vaccinated. The policy would take effect January 24th, and students and staff must be fully vaccinated by December 20th. The district insists it’s a necessary step to ensure students and staff are protected against the coronavirus, but critics say it’s an infringement on personal liberty. A 16-year-old junior at Scripps Ranch High School sued the district in October, alleging that the mandate violated her religious beliefs. Namely, she stated that, as a Christian, she is unwilling to take vaccines developed using aborted fetal cells. The district announced the next day that it had removed the pregnancy deferral. That leaves only a limited number of exemptions, such as doctor-certified medical conditions that would make vaccination unsafe. There’s still no exemption for personal beliefs, but the court ruled that there wasn’t clear evidence the mandate had been created to target anyone’s beliefs.Full Issue
The IRS announced on Friday that it will be rolling out the ability to electronically file the new Schedules K-2 and K-3 next year, but not at the beginning of the filing season. Schedules K-2 (Partners’ Distributive Share Items — International) and K-3 (Partner’s Share of Income, Deductions, Credits, etc. — International) are new for the 2021 tax year. If taxpayers have items of international tax that are relevant, they’re required to report the information on Schedules K-2 and K-3 if they file Form 1065 (U.S. Return of Partnership Income), Form 1120-S (U.S. Income Tax Return for an S Corporation) or Form 8865 (Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Partnerships). They are part of the IRS’s efforts to require better tax compliance, especially for large partnerships that do business internationally. The schedules are supposed to give partners and shareholders more clarity about how to figure their U.S. income tax liability when it comes to international tax items, including claiming deductions and credits.Full Issue
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has enlisted FTI Consulting to provide internal communications support as the watchdog faces a staff revolt over pay reforms. FCA bosses are overhauling pay structures, and staff claim that the changes will lead to three in four employees facing pay cuts of 10%. The Telegraph’s Simon Foy notes that the FCA already has a “sizable communications” team, and paying more than £460,000 to bring in PR experts to handle internal messaging “suggests it is struggling to effectively communicate with its 4,000 employees.” Dominic Hook, Unite national officer, said: “While the FCA is ignoring the union and planning to make cuts to staff pay, it's outrageous that they're also spending nearly half a million pounds on communication consultants.”Full Issue
Legal Matters Scotland
The Scottish Solicitors Bar Association is to hold a protest outside the Scottish Parliament on Monday, December 6th, in support of its campaign for a "significant and meaningful increase" in legal aid funding. On the same day – the St Andrews Day public holiday – a number of local faculties, including Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen, will boycott the Monday custody court. The SSBA is continuing to highlight that the fixed fee for summary criminal cases – "the core of our workload" – was set in 1999 and is now worth significantly less in real terms than it was then; and that the criminal defence bar is unable to compete with the salaries offered by other public bodies, in particular the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service, leading to younger members continuing to leave criminal defence work in significant numbers.Full Issue