More Less

Friday news roundup July 5, 2019

Friday news roundup July 5, 2019

Working less improves mental health. According to a recent study in the journal of Social Science and Medicine, the risk of mental health problems reduces on average by 30% when people move from unemployment into paid work for eight hours a week or less. The same study also concludes that there is no evidence that working more than eight hours a week provides further boosts to well-being. However, the research also assumes that the pay stays constant and so it doesn’t take into consideration the mental health effects of a potentially smaller pay cheque. Co-author of the recent study, Senhu Wang, commented: “The traditional model, in which everyone works around 40 hours a week, was never based on how much work was good for people. Our research suggests that micro-jobs provide the same psychological benefits as full-time jobs. However, the quality of work will always be crucial. Jobs where employees are disrespected or subject to insecure or zero-hours contracts do not provide the same benefits to wellbeing, nor are they likely to in the future.”

Shares around the world are hitting new records amid rising economic fears. There is a growing disconnect between the economic outlook and record sharemarket growth. Amid growing US recession fears, interest rates seem to be on their way down worldwide. According to indicators for areas such as manufacturing, industrial production, and trade, there is lower economic growth. Mike Taylor, CEO of Pie Funds Investment Management in Auckland, New Zealand, commented: “Certainly central banks are concerned. We've seen interest rates fall between one and one and a half per cent in the past six to nine month, that's significant.” This week, the Reserve Bank of Australia also cut rates to 1%. “For economies with full employment and growth at around two percent, to have interest rates at one per cent just seems crazy,” Taylor commented.

55 migrants safely landed on the island of Lampedusa by Italian coast guard. The migrants were rescued in waters off the island of Lampedusa on Thursday by a coast guard patrol boat which belongs to the same border command that refused entry to a rescue ship operated by the NGO Sea-Watch last Saturday. Since the election of a populist government in 2018, Italy has been very strict when it comes to accepting migrants rescued in the Mediterranean. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has historically closed ports to boats arriving with migrants. The ongoing violence in Libya, which is a gathering point for many refugees across Africa, has meant that many people are attempting crossing to Italy despite the risks.

Read more about working hours: past, present and future, labor markets and institutions and setting policy on asylum.