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What Social Trends Told Us About the American Economy in 2021

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This may also have been the year that “OK, Boomer” ceded the floor to “You OK, Boomer?”

A recent Federal Reserve survey of business contacts found that several “noted that baby boomers were leaving jobs and selling businesses to retire early — a trend that was due (1957 marked the peak year for births among baby boomers; those babies turn 65 next year) but has accelerated because of pandemic burnout.”

That shows up in the data. People over the age of 45 have been slower to return to the job market since the start of the pandemic. That group includes Generation X, who range in age from 41 to 56, and baby boomers, who are roughly 57 to 75. It’s not clear if the apparent rush toward early retirement is going to stick: People may come back once the health scare of the pandemic is behind us, or if stocks return to less buoyant valuations, reducing the value of retirement portfolios.

What happens next with the middle-age-and-up work force will be pivotal to the future of the labor market. If older workers stay out, America’s labor force participation rate — and the pool of workers available to employers — may remain depressed compared with levels that prevailed before the pandemic. That will be bad news for employers, who are increasingly desperate to hire.

Don’t shed all of your tears for the baby boomers, because millennials also had a tough time in 2021. They divided the year between reminding the internet that they are graying, keeping Botox boutiques in business, and feeling aghast as Generation Z, their successors, accused them of being old. A generation that made the poorly informed decision to recycle the low-rise trend also had the gall to claim that side parts make people look aged and skinny jeans are out.

Whether their elders are ready for it or not, the reality is that Gen Z, the age group born from 1997 to 2012, began to enter adulthood and the labor market in full force during the pandemic. They are a comparatively small generation, but they could shake things up. They are fully digital natives and have different attitudes toward, and expectations of, work life than their older counterparts.

If office workers ever actually meet their new colleagues, things could get interesting.

Speaking of the office, this year put the acronym “R.T.O.” firmly into the professional lexicon. Return-to-office planning was repeatedly upended by rolling waves of infection, but that didn’t stop cries of outrage. Many professionals began to question the utility of high heels and slacks — known derisively as “hard pants” — as opposed to their far more beloved and couch-friendly “soft pant” alternative.

Whether the future of work-wear will involve more elastic waistbands remains an open question, but it is increasingly clear that America is unlikely to return to many of its old workday habits. Surveys of workers suggest that many did not miss the office, and employers are increasingly turning to hybrid work models and location flexibility, in part to avoid fueling further resignations.

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Teladoc Tumbled 38% After Big First-Quarter Loss. Is It Just a Pandemic Play?

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After pandemic drop, Canada’s detention of immigrants rises again By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Two closed Canadian border checkpoints are seen after it was announced that the border would close to “non-essential traffic” to combat the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the U.S.-Canada border crossing at the Thousand Isla

By Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada is locking up more people in immigration detention without charge after the numbers fell during the pandemic, government data obtained by Reuters shows.

Authorities cite an overall rise in foreign travelers amid easing restrictions but lawyers say their detained clients came to Canada years ago.

Canada held 206 people in immigration detention as of March 1, 2022 – a 28% increase compared with March 1 of the previous year. Immigration detainees have not been charged with crimes in Canada and 68% of detainees as of March 1 were locked up because Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) fears they are “unlikely to appear” at an immigration hearing, according to the data.

The rise puts Canada at odds with Amnesty International and other human rights groups that have urged Ottawa to end its use of indefinite immigration detention, noting CBSA has used factors such as a person’s mental illness as reason to detain them.

A CBSA spokesperson told Reuters that “when the number of entries (to Canada) goes up, an increase in detention is to be expected.” CBSA has said in the past it uses detention as a last resort.

A lawyer told Reuters her detained clients have been in Canada for years.

In the United Kingdom, too, immigration detention levels rose last year after dropping earlier in the pandemic, according to government statistics. Unlike Canada, the United States and Australia, European Union member states have limits on immigration detention and those limits cannot exceed six months.

The rise in detentions puts people at risk of contracting COVID-19 in harsh congregate settings, refugee lawyers say.

Julia Sande, Human Rights Law and Policy Campaigner with Amnesty, called the increase in detentions “disappointing but not surprising,” although she was reluctant to draw conclusions from limited data.

The number of immigration detainees in Canada dropped early in the pandemic, from a daily average of 301 in the fourth quarter (January through March) of 2019-20 to 126 in the first quarter (April through June) of 2020-21.

FEW NO-SHOWS AS DETENTIONS DROPPED

Detaining fewer people did not result in a significant increase in no-shows at immigration hearings – the most common reason for detention, according to Immigration and Refugee Board data.

The average number of no-shows as a percentage of admissibility hearings was about 5.5% in 2021, according to that data, compared to about 5.9% in 2019.

No-shows rose as high as 16% in October 2020, but a spokesperson for the Immigration and Refugee Board said this was due to people not receiving notifications when their hearings resumed after a pause in the pandemic.

Refugee lawyer Andrew Brouwer said the decline in detention earlier in the pandemic shows Canada does not need to lock up as many non-citizens.

“We didn’t see a bunch of no-shows. We didn’t see the sky fall … It for sure shows that the system can operate without throwing people in jail,” Brouwer said.

He added that detainees face harsh pandemic conditions in provincial jails – including extended lockdowns, sometimes with three people in a cell for 23 hours a day.

Refugee lawyer Swathi Sekhar said CBSA officials and the Immigration and Refugee Board members reviewing detentions took the risk of COVID-19 into account when deciding whether someone should be detained earlier in the pandemic but are doing so less now.

“Their position is that COVID is not a factor that should weigh in favor of release,” she said.

“We also see very, very perverse findings … [decision-makers] outright saying that individuals are going to be safer in jail.”

The Immigration and Refugee Board did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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Nasdaq futures rise as market attempts comeback from April sell-off, Meta shares soar

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Stock futures rose in overnight trading as the market shook off the April sell-off and investors reacted positively to earnings from Meta Platforms.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 70 points or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.7% and Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 1.2%.

The moves came as shares of Meta surged more than 18% after hours following a beat on earnings but a miss on revenue, a sign that investors may see signs of relief in the beaten-up tech sector. Shares were down 48% on the year heading into the results.

Meanwhile, shares of Qualcomm gained 5.6% in extended trading on the back of strong earnings while PayPal rose 5% despite issuing weak guidance for the second quarter.

“I think a lot of people want to believe that earnings are going to pull us out of this, but earnings are not what got us into this,” SoFi’s Liz Young told CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime” on Wednesday. “… But the reality is there are so many macro headwinds still in front of us in the next 60 days that the market is just hard to impress.”

The after-hour activity followed a volatile regular trading session that saw the Nasdaq Composite stoop to its lowest level in 2022, as stocks looked to bounce back from a tech-led April sell-off. The index is down more than 12% since the start of April.

In Wednesday’s regular trading, the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended at 12,488.93, after rising to 1.7% at session highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 61.75 points, or 0.2%, to 33,301.93 propped up by gains from Visa and Microsoft, while the S&P 500 added 0.2% to 4,183.96.

Investors await big tech earnings on Thursday from Apple, Amazon and Twitter, along with results from Robinhood. Jobless claims are also due out Thursday.

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