Friday news roundup March 5, 2021
A new report commissioned by Friends of the Earth looks at how green jobs might help in the fight against youth unemployment and reduce employment inequality in the UK. Transition Economics looks into youth unemployment, the current state of green jobs, and how more green jobs can be created. There are over 500,000 young people aged 16–24 out of work in the UK, and just one year’s unemployment in your late teens has been found to result in up to £133,000 in lost earnings over the next two decades, says the report. Friends of the Earth recommend the UK government invest up to £10 billion over the next five years to create 250,000 green apprenticeships in England and Wales, with wage subsidies of 50%–100% depending on need. They are also calling for the government to fund a £40 billion per year green infrastructure investment program that could create more than 1 million jobs for people of all ages, save the NHS tens of billions of pounds, and deliver other benefits like healthier air and warmer homes.
A new basic income experiment in California saw dramatic results. Using donated funds, Stockton in California launched a small demonstration program, sending payments of $500 a month to 125 randomly selected individuals living in neighborhoods with average incomes lower than the city median of $46,000 a year. The recipients were allowed to spend the money however they saw fit, with no strings attached. The US currently spends less of its GDP on “family benefits” than any other country in the OECD, except Turkey. The attitude before now has been that if you just give people money they will become dependent on welfare. However, analysis of the data from Stockton reveals that the best way to offer families more resources may just be to offer them more resources. The families receiving the payments tended to spend it on essentials, including food, home goods, utilities, and gas; less than 1% was spent on cigarettes and alcohol. The cash also doubled people’s capacity to pay unexpected bills, and allowed them to pay their debts. Individuals getting the cash were also able to help their families and friends, providing financial stability to the broader community.
The closure of 1.5 million schools in India due to Covid-19 impacted 247 million children, says a UNICEF report. The report stresses that with only one in four children having access to digital devices and internet connectivity in the country, online education was not an option for all. Only eight states have so far been able to start classes for those in years 1–12; 11 states have reopened for years 6–12, and 15 states have reopened for those in classes 9–12. There are worries about younger children missing out on crucial foundational learning as Anganwadi centers (a type of rural child care centre) have only reopened in three states. “the longer children stay out of school, the more vulnerable they become, with less chances of returning to school,” says Dr Yasmin Ali Haque, the UNICEF India Representative. There are also concerns for children’s mental health and well-being with them not being able to attend school for so long.
Tokyo Olympics added 12 women to its executive board in a symbolic gesture toward gender equality. The Tokyo Olympics has appointed 12 women to the body’s executive board, bringing the share of female board members to 42%. The move comes after former Tokyo Olympics president Yoshiro Mori was forced to resign in February after he said women talked too much and caused meetings to drag on too long. Seiko Hashimoto, the new president of the organizing committee, who took over from Mr Mori, prompted the changes. Japan ranks 121st out of 153 countries in the World Economic Forum’s gender-equality ranking, and women are seldom found in leadership roles or in the boardroom.
Find IZA World of Labor content on Covid-19, the environment, and inequality.