Global Business Daily: Global jobs, Novartis’ fine, Apple stores close

“It’s coming back extremely strong. We have some areas where we’re putting out the flames of the fires and that’s working out well.”

That was the reaction of the ever-upbeat U.S. President Donald Trump to the latest jobs report, which did indeed show a record jump in the jobs added to the economy.

Of course, four million is not 22 million, and therefore many Americans who were employed at the start of the year are now out of work thanks to the pandemic. But nuances such as this do not deter Trump.

We were also furnished with EU jobs figures today – for more detail on how the bloc’s economy looked in the months to May, scroll down to today’s infographic, where I have highlighted the gender inequality of the job losses.

Finally, let me point you in the direction of our science-focused programs: RAZOR and the RAZOR podcast. In today’s video, we look at the possibility of a greener future after COVID-19.

Join Emma and Shini as they discuss a hot topic – how drugs can be repurposed to treat emerging illnesses. Snake bites and HIV are at the heart of the research, but they don’t provide the sting you might be expecting … Listen or download here.

Happy reading,

Patrick Atack 
Digital business correspondent

P.S. Did you know we send this briefing by email, too? Sign up here

New figures from the U.S. show more than four million people returned to work by the first week of May. However, that means only 7.5 million of the 22 million jobs lost in March have been reinstated. The data was also taken before several states returned to lockdown, so analysts fear the partial recovery will not last.

In the EU, job figures are still falling, with unemployment across the bloc now at 6.7 percent. However, the slide is not equal, as today’s chart shows: women are less likely to be back in work compared to men.

Swiss drugs firm Novartis says it won’t be affected by a multi-million dollar fine handed down by U.S. authorities. The company told shareholders the sum had already been set aside before the decision. Novartis was fined $729 million over allegations it paid illegal kickbacks to doctors and patients to boost drug sales.

The coronavirus crisis could cost global tourism sectors at least $1.2 trillion. That’s according to the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development’s report that cited prevailing lockdown measures, travel restrictions, reductions in consumers’ disposable income and low confidence levels for the predicted slow recovery.

Apple said it would re-close more than two dozen stores in the U.S. on Thursday, including the state of California, where the companies headquarters are based, bringing total closures to 77 as coronavirus cases continue to rise. Stores will close in Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada and Oklahoma, to add to those who have shut their doors in Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Utah.

Lithuania has issued the first crypto coin in the eurozone as part of a test to see if state-backed digital currencies work for everyday use. Twenty-four thousand digital tokens to be called LBCOINs will be issued with an attached portrait of one of the 20 people who signed Lithuania’s declaration of independence in 1918.

Fitness and exercise-wear brand Lululemon announced plans to acquire home exercise start-up Mirror for $500 million. The pandemic has closed gyms, making workout-at-home solutions far more profitable than in previous years.

Forecasts by market researchers IDC, expect I.T. investment in China to reach $297 billion in 2020. It would mark a year-on-year increase of nearly three percent.

UK fashion brand Boohoo, who sponsored the TV sensation Love Island, has severed ties with some of its factories. The news comes as a workers’ rights group Labour Behind the Label, accused Boohoo of forcing staff suffering from COVID-19 to continue working.

Ed Sheeran and Paul McCartney are among musical artists calling for the UK government to step in and support the live music and concert. They are among the 1,500 signatories of a letter to culture minister Oliver Dowden calling for significant investment.

New figures on background checks performed by the FBI indicate a sharp rise in gun sales amid the pandemic and social unrest in the U.S. The data showed 3.9 million identity checks were made in June, setting a new record and a 71 percent increase on June 2019.

Video: The COVID-19 crisis has shown that urgent climate action is possible. Now it’s time to find out if there’s the political will to match it. RAZOR explores how governments, companies and investors are adjusting to the potential of a greener future.

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Guy Ryder is the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO). He spoke to CGTN Europe this week about the ILO’s forecasts of the effects of the pandemic on jobs around the world. 

What do the three forecasts of optimistic, middle of the road and pessimistic mean for the global economy? 

The headline figure is that in the first half of this year, we saw the loss of the equivalent of 400 million jobs. None of these scenarios get us back to where the year started. 

Has the financial help offered by governments helped? 

We estimate that some $10 trillion have been spent around the world trying to keep our economies going… It’s not been an international effort. So the advanced countries of the world are responsible for 88 percent of this spending. 

We run the risk of having a situation where some of the most strongly affected countries least able to deal with this pandemic are going to be left behind.

Your report also mentioned that women had been disproportionately affected. How can that be fixed? 

Women are concentrated in those sectors like hospitality, like retail and wholesale, where the pandemic restricted activity most severely. So they (women) have been shaken out of the workforce more quickly. 

And the worry here is that the modest advances in gender equality in the world of work over recent decades run the risk of being set back to where it started from. And as we recover, we do have to look at these situations of vulnerability.

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