🌏 China and India have some job problems

Plus: 2022’s hottest gift is a lump of coal
🌏 China and India have some job problems

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Here’s what you need to know

Thousands of Chinese tech jobs were cut as unemployment worsens. Smartphone maker Xiaomi announced layoffs after reporting a 10% revenue loss last quarter.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with US president Joe Biden and addressed the country’s Congress. House speaker Nancy Pelosi compared the visit to Winston Churchill’s 1941 trip to Washington, DC, where he urged the US to join the war against Nazi Germany.

UK ambulance drivers went on strike to protest low wages. The British government urged its citizens to use “common sense” with activities and drafted members of the army and navy to help replace the essential workers.

Palantir signed a £75 million ($91 million) deal with the British military. The expanded use of Peter Thiel’s controversial surveillance software comes despite an outcry from UK privacy groups.

Tesla is planning another round of layoffs. Citing a “very bad feeling” about the economy, CEO Elon Musk said he will issue more pink slips next quarter, according to Electrek.

Tens of thousands of people were evacuated after major flooding in Malaysia. Monsoon conditions killed at least five as water levels reached about 3 meters (10 feet).

Uganda will get $240 million in financing from the International Monetary Fund. The east African country reported an increase in economic growth this year despite inflation and weak global demand.

What to watch for

Change is in the air at the typically conservative Bank of Japan (BOJ). The central bank decided on Dec. 20 to allow the 10-year bond yield to move 0.5% on either side of its zero percent rate target, widening the range from the previous 0.25%.

Keeping that yield bond curve as close to zero as possible is a major ingredient in the “Abenomics” recipe that BOJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda has closely followed since he began his term in March 2013. He insisted the decision did not signal the end of this strategy, but analysts have interpreted it as a sign of willingness to change.

The appointment of Kuroda’s successor in April might offer a chance for other policy shifts. A report in Japanese media this week suggested the government might seek a more flexible timeline on taming unusually high inflation. The latest inflation figures, scheduled for Dec. 23, are expected to show a new four-decade high.

2022’s hottest gift is a lump of coal

Global use of coal will hit an all-time high in 2022. Coal use is expected to peak in 2023, level out by 2025, and then drop again.

This year’s burning demand for the dirtiest of fossil fuels was unforeseen. In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, coal use fell by 4.4%, leading to a sunny prediction that the energy source was on its way out. But now two trends—war and weather—are refueling coal consumption.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February dashed COP26 hopes to “consign coal to history” as it upended supply chains, drove up natural gas prices, and triggered a global energy crisis. Droughts and heatwaves from China to France also reduced hydro and nuclear energy supply, forcing countries to seek other sources.

The silver lining to coal’s comeback? These twin trends are also accelerating investment in renewable energy.

India has a growing unemployment problem

Unemployment in India has reached a higher level than at the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, when millions of people lost their jobs. To make matters worse, the pace of job addition has simultaneously slowed.

A line chart showing India's rising unemployment rate in urban and rural settings. Urban is much higher and increasing faster.
Graphic: Mimansa Verma

While some hoped the country’s ​resilient farm sector would soften the losses, there’s little evidence the agricultural industry can absorb any more workers than it already has.

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