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Wage Gap Between Men and Women Narrows in US As Employers Push for Social Skills

Source: Pew Research Center

The wage gap between men and women has narrowed over the past three decades, in part due to greater female employment in fields requiring social, fundamental and analytical skills.

A new Pew Research analysis says, “the earnings of women as a ratio of the earnings of men increased from 0.67 to 0.85” between 1980 and 2018. Women are increasingly filling jobs that require negotiation, persuasion and critical and analytical thinking. “Women currently hold an edge over men in certain skills and in schooling,” the analysis reads.

The inclusion of more women in highly skilled roles is reflected by a rapid growth in jobs demanding social and fundamental skills. “From 1980 to 2018, overall employment more than doubled in jobs where social and fundamental skills are most important, by 111% and 104%, respectively.” This trend is expected to continue with jobs requiring “people skills” topping the most-in-demand jobs on LinkedIn for 2020.

Northern Europe Maintains a Positive View of Its Economy, Even Amid the Pandemic

Source: Pew Research Center

Nearly 75% of those in Denmark believe their country’s economic situation is good — a surprising outlook considering the restrictions COVID-19 has placed on economic activity across the world. These views were reported between June and August, 2020, and collected in a survey from the Pew Research Center.

A similar percentage of respondents from Sweden and the Netherlands share positive views about their countries’ economies. But these northern European countries are outliers, as most adults surveyed across 14 countries report a negative economic situation in their country.

Denmark and Sweden — the two countries with the highest percentage of positive assessments of their respective economies — have had relatively low COVID-19 infection and death rates. They were also two of the first countries in Europe to lift lockdown restrictions. There is a correlation between how respondents perceive their country’s response to COVID-19 and how they view the economic status of their country, according to the research: “Those who view their country’s coronavirus response negatively are more likely to describe their country’s current economic situation as bad.” 

GDP Growth Depends on Far More Than Investment

Source: World Economic Outlook Database, IMF

Average gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in Latin America has not grown consistently since 1990. However, in the last 30 years, GDP in Asian countries has grown fourfold — in part due to investor activity, according to a paper from the International Monetary Fund. 

Over the past two decades, Latin America has received far less investment compared to Asian countries — but more than European countries, and Europe saw growth in GDP during the same period. Europe’s growth resulted from institutional reforms, meaning the relatively low GDP growth in Latin America is due to factors beyond investment.

The combination and quality of human capital, business climate and governance is what makes a difference: “In countries where property rights are not secure and governance is poor, firms will remain small and productivity low,” the paper notes. IMF analysis found that Latin American countries score low on both human capital and strong governance, making low investment in Latin America the result of low growth — not the cause. “Governments solely focused on boosting investment might want to look at the problem from a different perspective,” says the IMF.

50% of Jobs Lost in US Performing Arts Due to COVID-19

Source: Brookings Institution

The creative industry will lose an estimated 31% of jobs and 9% of its sales in the United States due to the impact from coronavirus. Fine and performing arts will see the heaviest loss at 1.4 million jobs and $42.5 billion in sales, according to estimates from the Brookings Institution, due to the pause in live performances.  

The southern region of the U.S. will suffer the most losses, followed by the western region, as creative industries in these areas are larger, with California, New York and Texas being most economically affected.

The creative industry is “one of the sectors most at risk from COVID-19,” says Brookings. The sector heavily supports other regional economies as well, and without the right financial support, “the damage will have reverberating effects” beyond the economy, on culture and quality of life.

News Deserts Are a Major Loss for Communities Across the US

Source: UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media

More than 2,100 — or one quarter — of newspapers have disappeared in the United States since 2004. 

News deserts, or areas with one local newspaper or none, “contribute to the cultural, economic and political divide within the country,” according to a report from the University of North Carolina. Those who live in news deserts tend to be older, less formally educated and more economically vulnerable, and their lack of access to local news may result in less political engagement and interest in voting. 

During a crisis, local news outlets play a vital role in distributing the latest safety information, but the Brookings Institution found that half of the counties reporting COVID-19 cases in April were in news deserts. Without information from local news on how the pandemic is playing out on a community level and how locals can best protect themselves against the virus, those in news deserts could be more vulnerable to its spread.

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