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Racial Employment Gap in US Grows, Leaving Black Americans Behind

Black Americans have the same participation rate in the labor force, but are still twice as likely to be unemployed as white Americans, says the January jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Unemployment decreased for Black workers from 7.1% in December to 6.9% but is still double the 3.4% rate of white workers. The 2:1 ratio has persisted for more than 40 years and is seen in almost every state where Black workers make up a significant share of the workforce, according to Valerie Wilson and Jhacova Williams’s research.

Wilson and Williams also found that only Black workers with advanced degrees had unemployment rates below 4%, the national average. In contrast, with the exception of those with less than a high school diploma, white unemployment is below 4% at all levels of education. “The fact that the country’s most highly educated black workers are still less likely to be employed than their white counterparts … strongly suggests that racial discrimination remains a major failure of an otherwise tight labor market,” write Wilson and Williams.

The Number of People Without Enough Food Is Rising

Source: UN FAO

As many as 828 million people around the world were without enough food in 2021, an increase of 150 million people since before the pandemic, reports the United Nations. Nearly one-third of the world’s population (29.3%) are moderately or severely food insecure, a number that has also increased since COVID-19.

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report found that after remaining relatively stable since 2015, the proportion of people affected by hunger jumped in 2020 and continued to rise in 2021. But food insecurity is unequally distributed — more than half of the people facing hunger live in Asia, and more than one-third are in Africa.

Food prices around the world continue to rise to record highs, driven by inflation and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The UN projects that 670 million people, or 8% of the world’s population, will still face hunger in 2030 — even if there is a global economic recovery.

US and China’s Greenhouse Emissions Cause $6 Trillion in Losses

The economic impacts of greenhouse gas emissions are disproportionately hurting countries with a lower GDP. Wealthy countries are the greatest contributors to climate change, but the economic losses caused by rising temperatures are costing trillions of dollars around the world, according to a new study from Dartmouth College.

The study measured 143 countries’ emissions and found that five countries’ emissions caused $6 trillion in global economic losses from 1990 to 2014. The two top emitters — the U.S. and China — each caused global income losses of over $1.8 trillion. Russia, India, and Brazil individually exceed $500 billion each over the same period.

“This research provides legally valuable estimates of the financial damages individual nations have suffered due to other countries’ climate-changing activities,” said Justin Mankin, an assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth and senior researcher of the study.

Warming temperatures can impact a country’s GDP through many pathways, including decreasing agricultural yields, labor productivity, and industrial output. As the effects of climate change worsen, the most vulnerable populations and poorest countries will be the first impacted.

Global Pilot Shortage Leaves Passengers Stranded

Airlines all over the world are facing a shortage of pilots and are struggling to meet demand as passengers return to air travel en masse. Large numbers of summer travelers have faced canceled and delayed flights as pilot, crew, and aircraft shortages cause strain on the aviation industry.

Experts warn that the staff shortages won’t end anytime soon—in the U.S., the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects about 14,500 openings for airline and commercial pilots each year over the next decade. Oliver Wyman estimates that there will be a global gap of​​ 34,000 to 50,000 pilots by 2025.

The root causes of the pilot shortage stretch back before the pandemic. In the U.S., barriers include an aging workforce facing mandatory retirement, fewer pilots leaving the military, and the high cost of training. In China and other regions with growing air travel, airlines were struggling to expand capacity before COVID-19. During the pandemic, the staffing crisis was exacerbated by airlines firing pilots or offering them early retirement packages as demand plummeted.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rise Above Pre-Pandemic Levels

Annual global greenhouse emissions rose by a record 6.4% last year, eclipsing gains made during 2020 lockdowns, reports the International Monetary Fund. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide decreased by 4.6% in 2020 as pandemic restrictions limited travel and economic activity.

Industry, as opposed to individuals, was the most significant contributor to emissions in 2021. The manufacturing and energy sectors had the greatest increase in greenhouse gases, while transportation and household levels rose more modestly as COVID-19 restrictions continued.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report warns that greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 at the latest — and decrease 43% by 2030 — in order to limit global warming to 1.5 Celsius. Limiting global warming “will require major transitions in the energy sector. This will involve a substantial reduction in fossil fuel use, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency, and use of alternative fuels (such as hydrogen),” said the IPCC.

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