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Employment growth slows sharply in November amid coronavirus surge

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 440,000 and the jobless rate to decrease to 6.7% from 6.9% in October…

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Nonfarm payrolls increased by just 245,000 in November, well below Wall Street estimates as rising coronavirus cases coincided with a considerable slowdown in hiring.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 440,000 and the jobless rate to decrease to 6.7% from 6.9% in October.

The unemployment rate met expectations, though it fell along with a drop in the labor force participation rate to 61.5%. A more encompassing measure of joblessness edged lower to 12% while the number of Americans outside the labor force remains just above 100 million.

The November gain represented a pronounced slowdown from the 610,000 positions added in October.

In all, the economy has brought back 12.3 million of the 22 million jobs lost in the first two months of the crisis. There are still 10.7 million Americans considered unemployed, compared with 5.8 million in February.

The total of permanent job losers remained at 3.7 million in November, but is up 2.5 million from February.

At the pace added in November, the economy would not be back to pre-pandemic employment levels until 2024, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist at job placement site Glassdoor.

“Today’s report is a firm reminder that we’re not out of the woods yet,” Zhao said. “Even with a vaccine on the horizon, many are bracing for a long winter ahead.”

The November job gains would be considered strong under normal circumstances, but the pandemic has left millions of Americans out of work from jobs lost in the early stages of the crisis. The total represents the slowest job growth since the employment recovery began in May as the number of workers unemployed for at least 25 weeks surged 11% to nearly 4 million.

“Overall, it is a disappointing report,” economists at Jefferies said in a note. “With COVID cases surging again and policies being put in place to try and slow the spread, hiring has slowed down. Also, worker availability is a significant limiting factor as well, with many unable to go to work due to COVID concerns or family care obligations.”

Despite the disappointing number, markets showed little reaction, with Wall Street expecting a higher open.

Job gains came from transportation and warehousing, which rose by 145,000 thanks to a jump in couriers and messengers as well as warehousing and storage.

Professional and business services added 60,000 and health care was up 46,000. The battered hospitality industry, which has taken the worst of the job losses during the pandemic, increased just 31,000, while retail lost 35,000 jobs, a potentially troubling sign heading into the holiday shopping season.

General merchandise stores dropped 21,000, while sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores declined by 12,000. Electronics and appliance stores were down by 11,000 while health and personal-care stores cut 8,000.

Overall, retail is down 550,000 employees from February, the month before the pandemic restrictions went into place.

Construction and manufacturing each added 27,000 jobs for the month, while financial activities rose 15,000.

Government hiring fell for the third straight month, down 99,000 primarily due to the loss of Census workers hired for the 2020 count.

The numbers come amid a new spike in coronavirus cases that threatens to push the U.S. health-care system to the brink. More than 100,000 people are hospitalized across the U.S. due to the accelerated outbreak, which saw 210,161 new cases Thursday, according to the COVID Tracking Project overseen by journalists at The Atlantic.

Though the U.S. is coming off its fastest growth quarter ever, economists worry that the next quarter or two could see flat or even negative growth before rebounding strongly in the latter part of 2021.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/04/jobs-report-november-2020.html

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Ventureburn

ZwartTech launches Talent Foundation to equip Africans with digital skills

Lagos-based ZwartTech has announced the launch of its new edtech, Zwart Talent Foundation (ZTF) in a statement on 30 July 2021.

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Lagos-based ZwartTech has announced the launch of its new edtech, Zwart Talent Foundation (ZTF) in a statement today.

The foundation aims to equip young Africans with ICT skills necessary to close the growing African skills gap. The project has also set aside 70% of recruitment positions for African women.

87% of African CEOs are concerned about the digital skills gap

According to a report by PwC, featured in 2020’s Digital Skills Insights publication, 79% of global CEOs are worried about the availability of digital skills in their workforces, with 87% of African CEOs sharing the same concern.

“We launched the Zwart Talent Foundation to help Africans quickly combat poverty by giving them the chance to acquire tech skills as well as connecting them to international job opportunities. This will enable them to earn more and boost their economic status,” commented Nelson Tosin Ajulo, Chairman of ZTF in a statement.

ZTF’s three-pronged approach to tackling this skills gap means participants are led through the process from initial skills training to launching successful, sustainable careers.

The foundation aims to equip 2 000 Africans with critical ICT skills and recruit them into global companies over the next five years.

The Zwart Academy

Participants are first trained through the Zwart Academy in cybersecurity and Javascript for six months at no cost, giving them the necessary foundation to complete a one-year internship with Zwart Tech on completion.

“We have also realised that the quality of ICT education in Africa is inadequate. Considering this, students who join the Foundation will become Junior Developers in less than three years compared to attending a university and spending four or five years on the same course,” stated Ajulo.

Zwart Recruit

Zwart Recruit aims to support African ICT developers by connecting them with international companies looking for employees specialising in digital skills.

The Zwart Hub

The Hub is an accelerator programme that takes startups from concept to scaling their business on a global scale through mentorship and support from successful, experienced startup owners and investors.

While the global skills gap is worrying, considering automation may render many digital jobs obsolete in the near future, ZTF’s approach is different, according to Ajulo.

“Our approach is not only innovative, but it also saves time and will help tackle inequality faster, bridging gaps between social classes. The Academy training program involves a lot of practicals and it is free,” she concluded.

Read more: Edtech Go1 is SA’s first unicorn after closing $200m round

Read more: Transforming B2B payments could grow Africa’s local businesses [Opinion]

Featured image: Zwart Talent Foundation Chairman, Nelson Tosin Ajulo (Supplied)

“We launched the Zwart Talent Foundation to help Africans quickly combat poverty by giving them the chance to acquire tech skills as well as connecting them to international job opportunities. This will enable them to earn more and boost their economic status,” commented Nelson Tosin Ajulo, Chairman of ZTF in a statement.

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/07/zwarttech-launches-talent-foundation-to-equip-africans-with-digital-skills/

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Reduced microbial stability linked to soil carbon loss in active layer under alpine permafrost degra

Credit: NIEER Chinese researchers have recently discovered links between reduction in microbial stability and soil carbon loss in the active

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Chinese researchers have recently discovered links between reduction in microbial stability and soil carbon loss in the active layer of degraded alpine permafrost on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP).

The researchers, headed by Prof. CHEN Shengyun from the Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources (NIEER) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and XUE Kai from University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, conducted a combined in-depth analysis of soil microbial communities and their co-occurrence networks in the active permafrost layer along an extensive gradient of permafrost degradation.

The QTP encompasses the largest extent of high-altitude mountain permafrost in the world. This permafrost is different than high-latitude permafrost and stores massive soil carbon. An often ignored characteristic of permafrost is that the carbon pool in the active layer soil is more active and directly affected by climate change, compared to deeper layers.

Triggered by climate warming, permafrost degradation may decrease soil carbon stability and induce massive carbon loss, thus leading to positive carbon-climate feedback. However, microbial-mediated mechanisms for carbon loss from the active layer soil in degraded permafrost still remain unclear.

In this study, the researchers found that alpine permafrost degradation reduced the stability of active layer microbial communities as evidenced by increased sensitivity of microbial composition to environmental change, promoted destabilizing network properties and reduced resistance to node or edge attacking of the microbial network.

They discovered that soil organic carbon loss in severely degraded permafrost is associated with increased microbial dissimilarity, thereby potentially contributing to a positive carbon feedback in alpine permafrost on the QTP.

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The results were published in PNAS in an article entitled “Reduced microbial stability in the active layer is associated with carbon loss under alpine permafrost degradation”.

This research was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Strategic Priority Research Program (A) of CAS and the Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program.

Triggered by climate warming, permafrost degradation may decrease soil carbon stability and induce massive carbon loss, thus leading to positive carbon-climate feedback. However, microbial-mediated mechanisms for carbon loss from the active layer soil in degraded permafrost still remain unclear.

Source: https://bioengineer.org/reduced-microbial-stability-linked-to-soil-carbon-loss-in-active-layer-under-alpine-permafrost-degra/

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