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Australians Experience 50% Rise In Airfare Travel Costs To Europe 

According to data collected by travel booking site Kayak, Australians looking to travel to Europe are seeing fares around 50% higher than what they cost last year, despite the fact that there’s also been an increase in available seats this summer and fuel prices improving within the past few months. 

Kayak used data from early January, up until this month, to conclude that the average price for return economy airfare from Australian cities to Europe would be around $2,500. This marks a 46% increase on average airfares for 2022, as well as a 63% increase when compared to pre-pandemic pricing. 

In general, this summer travel season is already gearing up to be increasingly expensive as well as busy for many major destinations around the world, but especially in Europe. 

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David Beirman, an adjunct fellow professor at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia who also specializes in tourism, stated that this increase, while jarring, isn’t exactly surprising. 

“Airlines for a long time were making next to no money on international flights, especially for economy passengers. Most carriers were still working to financially recover from the steep losses of Covid, even if some such as Qantas have been posting record profits of late. Those two years of lost revenue is what consumers are paying for now,” Beirman explained. 

“Covid was an extreme lesson in what could happen when things go wrong. So they have been forced to be more realistic about their pricing now, as irritating as it is to the traveling public,” he continued. 

“Sadly what has happened since Covid is that travel has gone from being something very democratic that just about anyone earning even a modest salary could afford to being a plaything of the elite or for people paying huge amounts of money just to see loved ones.”

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“They’ve had to recruit staff and pay them much more money than they used to get. Maybe by 2024 or 2025 people will be a bit more choosy, less eager to travel, and prices will come down but at the moment it’s very much a sellers market and airlines are, rightfully or wrongfully, taking advantage of that,” Beirman said.

Simon Elsegood, head of research at the Center for Aviation, said “while fuel prices have come back down substantially [and] we’ve seen a portion of the leisure market move up to premium economy and other classes, it’s not been enough to compensate airlines from lost business travel.”

“Air fares are a sore point because they are so much more expensive than 12 months ago but I don’t feel like people are getting a raw deal. It’s very difficult to price gouge between Europe and Australia because there are so many route options.”

“It’s just the way the market has to be at the moment. Yes, they’re making money now but they also lost billions during the pandemic. They’re not a charity and they have to make sure their shareholders are also taken care of,” he concluded

Record-Breaking 4.5 Million US Workers Quit Their Jobs In November 

According to the US Department of Labor, a record-breaking number of employees quit their jobs in November while the total amount of employment openings continued to drop, the department reported this Tuesday. 

Around 4.53 million Americans resigned from their jobs throughout the month of November, according to the DOL’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. This marks an 8.9% increase in resignations when compared to October. The data also shows November beating September’s record of resignations, which peaked at 4.36 million. 

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The recent months of Americans resigning has been labelled as the Great Resignation. Workers have been leaving their positions for a multitude of reasons, including not enough pay/benefits, lack of health and safety precautions, and increased mobility in the labor market. Job openings in America currently outnumber the amount of citizens looking for work. 

In October there were around 11.09 million job openings throughout the nation, and around 10.56 million in November. This time last year the job opening rate was around 4.5%, and has since increased to 6.6%. 

“The Great Resignation shows no sign of abating, with quits hitting a new record. The question is why, and the answers are for starkly different reasons,” said Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union. 

“COVID-19 burnout and fear are continuing, but also, many Americans have the confidence to quit given the high level of job openings and rising pay.”

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A separate economic report from the ISM Manufacturing Index showed that manufacturing rates throughout December were slower than initially expected. The index registered a 58.7% rate, 1.3% lower than the 60% expectation. 

The index also showed major decreases in supplier delivery, which fell by 7.3% last month. While inflation in general is running at its highest level in nearly 40 years, the index also showed a shocking decrease in prices; 14.2%.

The employment index within manufacturing, however, has shown a .9% gain in employment, which is a sign that hiring within the sector is remaining relatively strong. 

As Covid cases continue to surge, the healthcare and social assistance industries are experiencing some of the highest levels of resignation, with a 3% rise in November, the highest percentage on record for that sector. 

The Labor Department is expected to release their closely watched nonfarm payroll count for December within the week. Experts in the field are expecting, and hoping, to see a growth of around 422,000 jobs with an unemployment rate of 4.1%.

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Weekly Jobless Claims In US Hit 18-Month Low

The Labor Department revealed this week that weekly jobless claims have decreased to almost pre-pandemic levels. People on state unemployment have also hit March 2020 levels when the pandemic was initially starting and shutting down multiple businesses.

Weekly Jobless Claims In The US Much Higher Than Anticipated

The Department of Labor reported that last-week showed first-time claims for unemployment rose at levels much higher than initially anticipated, especially due to the fact that the economy has been showing signs of recovering after the last year.

According to reports from the Labor Department “first-time claims for the week ended April 3 totaled 744,000, well above the expectation for 694,000 from economists surveyed by Dow Jones. The total represented an increase of 16,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised 728,000. The four-week moving average edged higher to 723,750.”

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The labor market within the last week, however, has shown signs of recovery after the past year of the pandemic. Nonfarm payrolls in march increased by nearly 916,000 while the unemployment rate fell down to 6%.

This increase in jobs marks the biggest increase in employment in the US since August 2020. Before the pandemic the unemployment rate was at 3.5%, however, so there’s still plenty of work to be done, especially after last week’s unexpected reports.

“Continuing claims provided some good news on the labor front, with the total dropping 16,000 to 3.73 million. That’s the lowest level for continuing claims since March 21, 2020, just after the Covid-19 pandemic hit and companies instituted wholesale layoffs in conjunction with the economic shutdown. Continuing claims run a week behind the headline weekly number,” according to NBC.

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California and New York account for a majority of the increase in employment; California saw a rise of 38,963 last week while New York saw a 15,714 increase. However, those increases were cancelled out by a 13,944 decline in Alabama as well as a 10,502 decline in Ohio.

Economists have reported that filing backlogs could be one of the larger factors that drive claims up throughout the nation, while spikes in Covid-19 cases are also keeping the filings elevated due to a lack of individuals able to work.

Federal Reserve officials claim that despite the recent progress America has experienced, “much more progress is needed on the jobs front before we can consider changing economic policy.” The most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting cited a better outlook for the US economy in the coming year based on a continued need for an easy policy.

Federal Governor Lael Brainard told the media this week that “the economic outlook has brightened considerably but there are still about 9 million fewer workers than there were before the pandemic. Central bank officials have said they want to see not only full employment but also inclusive gains across income, racial and gender lines. In that sense, we’ve got some distance to go before the outcomes are achieved.”

One Year Since The Covid-19 Pandemic Began And America Is Still Down 10 Million Jobs 

Nearly one year after the Covid-19 pandemic initially shut down America the nation is still finding itself down by 10 million jobs compared to where we were at this time last year. 745,000 additional Americans have filed for first-time unemployment benefits on a seasonally adjusted basis last week, according to the US Labor Department. 

The number of new claims is up from the previous week, however, it’s slightly less than what economists were expecting for the month of March. 436,696 workers also applied for Pandemic Unemployment benefits which are mainly available for gig workers or self-employed individuals. 

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First-time jobless claims in total equated to about 1.2 million without seasonal adjustments for last week. Continued benefit claims, which specifically count applicants that submitted their forms for at least two weeks in a row or more, reached 4.2 million in the last week of February, which is slightly smaller when compared to the week prior. 

At this point last year the labor crisis was just beginning with about 6.9 million Americans applying for first-time unemployment, and millions of jobs disappearing in general. While millions of new jobs have been created within the past year and many Americans were able to get back to work, the nation is still struggling to rebuild the economy.

The American Department of Labor employment report cited “fewer jobs added in February than expected: 117,000 versus the 177,000 forecast. Even though the private sector report and the government’s official figures, which are due Friday at 8:30 am ET, aren’t correlated, it’s not a great sign.”

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Economists estimate that about 182,000 new jobs were added to the US market in February, which is up 49,000 from the previous month. When compared to February 2020, however, the nation is still down about 9.7 million jobs; at that point in time the unemployment rate for America was actually at a 50-year low of 3.5%.

“The expectations are widely different, ranging from a 100,000 jobs lost to 500,000 jobs gained. We expect the US jobs recovery to show some encouraging progress in February,” said Lydia Boussour, lead US economist at Oxford Economics.

The rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and the reopening of the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses will hopefully help assist the nation in creating new jobs. The winter storms that have been impacting the country, however, are also influencing how many new jobs are created. The unemployment rate is currently projected to remain at 6.3% for now as well, however, the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell claimed last week that the actual unemployment rate is likely closer to 10%.

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Weekly Jobless Claims Remain Stagnant As Hiring Slows Down In America 

Throughout this past week in America there have been indicators that the labor market is continuing to weaken, and new jobs aren’t being created at a rate they once were. The pandemic obviously has everything to do with this, however, despite the decline in hiring throughout the nation, first-time filings for unemployment remained relatively stagnant in the end of 2020. 

This is surprising because in terms of the pandemic and economy, the US has entered into its worst phase so far; and that began back in November. First-time filings have been on a steady increase throughout the fall, but by the end of last week, weekly claims totaled 787,000. The Labor Department and Dow Jones both estimated that 815,000 filings would’ve been the total based on the trends that existed at the end of the year. 

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The report showed that compared to the week prior the amount of filings decreased by 3,000 for first-time filings, and 126,000 for continued claims. Now, the total amount of individuals receiving continuous claims is around 5.07 million and those receiving benefits from all government assisted programs declined by 420,000 to 19.2 million. 

This week ADP reported that private contracts and workers accounted for 123,000 job losses in December, which is the first time that the sector of the labor market has seen such a substantial decline in employment. Ian Shepherdson, a chief economist, recently spoke with the media about this predictable yet devastating consistency in unemployment. 

“A combination of Covid fear and state-mandated restrictions on activity in the services sector is squeezing businesses, and no real relief is likely until a sustained decline in pressure on hospitals emerges.”

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The Labor Department is currently projected to report that the US economy has added at least 50,000 jobs to the labor force in America at the end of 2020. However, the unemployment rate has continued to increase and is now at 6.8%, according to estimates from Dow Jones. 

While the labor market continues to remain in deep distress the average for continued unemployment claims has oddly decreased; last week it fell down to 818,750, for comparison this time last year the amount of continued claims totaled 219,750. 

Illinois is the state responsible for the biggest drop in claims with a decline of 62,765. Multiple states showed that they gained more than 10,000 claims in the last week; including Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Virginia, and Texas. 

The fourth quarter is expected to show a considerable growth in the amount of new hires that occurred. This is also based on current investment and consumer spending data. The Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow tracker of activity is predicting a 8.9% gain for “domestic product” and employment.

Trump Signs Covid-19 Relief And Government Funding Bill 

President Donald Trump has signed the $2.3 trillion Covid-19 relief and government funding bill into law this past Sunday night. The $900 billion coronavirus relief package will extend unemployment benefits to millions of jobless gig-workers, independent contractors, and long-term unemployed individuals. 

12 million Americans have been receiving benefits from two key pandemic unemployment programs. This past weekend would’ve marked their last weekend of payments had this bill not been signed; they will now receive another 11 weeks. All individuals collecting unemployment payments will also be receiving an additional $300 weekly through the middle of March. 

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Since Trump didn’t sign the bill on Saturday, however, those who are in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs will likely not receive a payment for the final week of 2020, and the $300 additional payments may only last 10 weeks due to the fact that the states can’t provide benefits for weeks before a program is fully authorized. 

The Covid-19 relief package was initially passed by Congress on Monday and then was flown to Mar-a-Lago on Thursday so Trump could then sign it. After endless hours of negotiations, the current president finally signed the bill, which will provide $600 stimulus payments to all adult Americans, and $1,200 to all couples; exactly half of what was given out during the initial round of stimulus payments. 

Trump himself has been spending the past month trying to get the 2020 election investigated on dozens of baseless claims of voter fraud, in fact, this past weekend when he signed the bill Trump claimed that the Senate would be “considering legislation that repeals Section 230, and thus start an investigation into voter fraud.” It’s currently unclear what that legislation would actually look like, and it’s important to note that there has been 0% evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election. 

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The two programs previously mentioned that are being extended allows the self-employed, freelance, and gig workers to qualify for up to 39 weeks of payments, and will now be opened up to those who can’t work in general due to the pandemic. 

The new deal extends the programs for up to 11 weeks and each will close to new applicants on March 14th but will continue through April 5th for individuals who have existing claims and have not reached their maximum number of weeks by that point. Eviction protection is also extended until January 31st and will provide $25 billion in rental assistance to those who are unable to work for pandemic-related reasons. 

It’s estimated that 9.2 million renters in America have lost their employment during the pandemic, and are struggling to pay their rent. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention implemented an order in the beginning of the pandemic that halted some evictions and rental payments through 2020, however, the program didn’t cancel out the payments, so without this new package many Americans were gearing up to receive a massive bill on January 1st for all the rent they would owe from the past nine months.

California Shutdown Is Causing Restaurants And Other Businesses To Struggle Greatly

After an intense second-wave of Covid-19 infections, California Governor Gavin Newsom shutdown the state with measures that yet again restricted a multitude of businesses and restaurants from making an income.

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Another 751,000 Americans Filed For Unemployment Last Week 

With everyone being so focused on the close race to the White House this week, many have forgotten we’re currently in the middle of one of the worst health and economic crises in history. While we may not know who the next President of the United States is quite yet, if one thing is for sure, whoever it is will have to deal with the nation’s massive unemployment problem. 

Last week, another 751,000 Americans claimed first-time unemployment benefits on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the US Labor Department. Compared to the week prior those numbers are actually slightly decreased, however, the nation has watched hundreds of thousands of citizens lose their jobs every week for the past nine months, so many are wondering when they’ll receive some sort of relief. 

Beyond that, 362,883 workers found out they weren’t eligible for regular state benefits that could be claimed under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. If you add up those totals that’s 1.1 million Americans who filed first-time claims last week. 

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Economists have been adamant throughout this pandemic that one of their biggest concerns would be a plateauing of total initial claims due to a slowdown in the job market. This concern is now a stark reality for so many US residents who have been continuously unemployed and trying to keep their loved ones afloat in the middle of one of the worst global health crises in history. 

Continued jobless claims, which account for workers who have applied for benefits two or more weeks in a row, reached 7.3 million, which is about half a million less than what it was the previous week. However, it’s important to note that even though the number of continued jobless claims has decreased that doesn’t necessarily mean that the amount of unemployed individuals has reduced.

In fact, compared to previous weeks that’s a much slower decline. One of the reasons these claims could be going down could be due to the fact that people have exhausted their state benefits and are now trying to take advantage of other government programs to help in the meantime. States commonly provide around 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. 

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These state-run programs have greatly benefited certain individuals who have run out of their Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which was obviously created as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the week of October 17th nearly 4 million Americans received PEUC payments, which was a 280,000 increase when compared to the week prior. 

Many Americans are worried about the results of the 2020 election as well as what type of programs will be created with the New Year as the pandemic continues to worsen. Many of the various pandemic relief initiatives for unemployed individuals are set to expire at the end of 2020. Andrew Stettner is a senior fellow at the Century Foundation who recently spoke with the press about what the US needs to do for its people to help us stay afloat as a country. 

“There are simply not enough jobs being created to support all of the workers running out of aid before the end of 2020. It is now time to reach a deal that keeps the lifelines of pandemic relief going into next year. We urgently need action before the holiday season.”

The government is set to publish its October job report this Friday, which economists are projecting to show an additional 600,000 jobs being created for unemployed individuals within the past month. However, even if those numbers hold true America would still be down by more than 10 million jobs when compared to the numbers in February right before the pandemic hit.

Over 14 Million Americans Are Moving In Order To Find Remote Work, Study Shows

According to a study from Upwork’s Remote Workers, between 14 million to 23 million Americans are planning to relocate to a new U.S. city, region, or even state due to the Covid-19 pandemic and rising popularity of work-from-home positions appearing throughout the nation. 

Many businesses and industries have been adapting to the new normals 2020 has presented to us by moving to a more digitized work environment. For some, they’re even realizing that remote work is a much more efficient way for staff to get their daily duties done, and will likely continue to do so post-pandemic. 

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The study specifically surveyed 20,490 Americans over the age of 18 and it was conducted from October 1st to the 15th. The results showed that one of the biggest reasons so many Americans are planning to make the permanent move in order to work remotely is because of the amount of companies who are permanently adopting the work-from-home model. 

For example, Facebook and Twitter both announced offers that they would be making to their employees that would allow them to make their home-office their permanent workspace. 

Even small businesses are seeing the perks of this, in fact 57% of small and medium-size businesses plan to offer remote work plans to their employees in the long term. Small businesses have also reported that employee availability has increased by 19% with the move to remote work; obviously this depends on the specific business and employee duties as well. Adam Ozimek, Upwork’s chief economist, recently discussed the not-so-surprising results of the study. 

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“Companies were thrown feet first into a massive experiment with remote work due to the pandemic. The experiment has gone well; and it’s changing the future of the workforce. Remote work is the fastest game-changer for the U.S. economy since World War II.”

The rise in mobility among Americans looking to relocate means that there could be an increase in economic efficiency for businesses, and individuals, throughout the country.  “Remote work presents a potential solution for those seeking job opportunities that don’t want to pay the high housing costs of a major city,” Ozimek claimed, emphasizing how normally when individuals relocate to work from home, they’re more so focused on living in a city that they can afford and actually want to be in. 

The study also revealed that 20.6% of residents of major cities in the US are planning to move far away from their current home. Specifically, 54.7% said that they want to relocate somewhere two or more hours away from their current location. 

For employers this is also a positive, as the massive migration of individuals throughout the nation gives them a whole new pool of potential employees who are ready and willing to adapt to a permanent work-from-home model that will work well into the future. The renting market in America is currently the worst it’s been in years, and has many real estate industry workers worried about another major housing crisis in the US. However, the moving of up to 23 million Americans can help drive that market back up and boost the local economies throughout the entire nation.