Up to 7.7 million U.S. workers lost jobs with employer-sponsored health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic, and 6.9 million of their dependents also lost coverage, a new study finds.

Workers in manufacturing, retail, accommodation and food services were especially hard-hit by job losses, but unequally impacted by losses in insurance coverage.

Manufacturing accounted for 12% of unemployed workers in June. But because the sector has one of the highest rates of employer-sponsored coverage at 66%, it accounted for a bigger loss of jobs with insurance — 18% — and 19% of potential coverage loss when dependents are included.

Nearly 3.3 million workers in accommodation and food services had lost their jobs as of June — 30% of the industry’s workforce. But only 25% of workers in the sector had employer-sponsored insurance before the pandemic. Seven percent lost jobs with employer-provided coverage.

The situation was similar in the retail sector. Retail workers represented 10% of pre-pandemic employment and 14% of unemployed workers in June. But only 4 in 10 retail workers had employer-sponsored insurance before the pandemic. They accounted for 12% of lost jobs with employer-sponsored insurance and 11% of potential loss including dependents.

The study was a joint project of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and the Commonwealth Fund.

“Demographics also play an important role. Workers ages 35 to 44 and 45 to 54 bore the brunt of [employer insurance]-covered job losses, in large part because workers in these age groups were the most likely to be covering spouses and other dependents,” said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program.

“The adverse effects of the pandemic recession also fell disproportionately on women,” Fronstin added in an EBRI news release. “Although women made up 47% of pre-pandemic employment, they accounted for

India Central Bank Lauds Government Effort to Rein in Budget Gap

Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg

The Reserve Bank of India said it will offer more support for debt markets in a package of measures meant to control borrowing costs and reassure traders worried about a bond deluge.

Sovereign bonds rallied after the central bank said it would double the size of purchases at open market operations to 200 billion rupees ($2.7 billion). The RBI will also buy state debt, and help companies raise funds by doing targeted long-term repurchase operations worth a trillion rupees.

The latest measures come as stubbornly high inflation kept the central bank from cutting rates even as the economy suffers from Asia’s worst-virus outbreak. In a sign of stress, underwriters have had to pick up four sovereign debt auctions recently after investors demanded higher yields.

“This was a bond market policy today rather than the money policy,” said Vijay Sharma, executive vice president for fixed-income at PNB Gilts Ltd. Governor Shaktikanta Das “has done everything under his control, except cutting rates, to keep interest rates low through the bonds. The bullish sentiment will remain.”

The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond fell six basis points to 5.96%. The rupee gained 0.2% to 73.0650 to a dollar.

“Market participants should be assured that in keeping with the monetary policy stance announced today, the RBI will maintain comfortable liquidity conditions and will conduct market operations in the form of outright and special open market operations,” Das said in his speech.

Benchmark yields have largely been steady this month with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration sticking to its 12 trillion rupees borrowing aim for the fiscal year. The second-half borrowing starts Friday with a scheduled 280 billion rupee debt sale.

Source Article

FILE PHOTO: the sun sets behind a crude oil pump jack on a drill pad in the Permian Basin in Loving County, Texas, U.S. November 24, 2019. Picture taken November 24, 2019.REUTERS/Angus Mordant

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil settled above $43 a barrel on Thursday on support from output shutdowns ahead of a storm in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and the possibility of supply cuts from Saudi Arabia and Norway.

Markets rose sharply at noon on a Dow Jones report that Saudi Arabia is considering reversing course over OPEC’s planned production increase early next year.

Brent crude settled up $1.35, or 3.2% to $43.34, after falling 1.6% on Wednesday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude added $1.24 cents, or 3.1%, to $41.19 after falling 1.8% on Wednesday.

Oil also gained support from the prospect of more production outages in the North Sea because of a workers’ strike. Oil firms and labor officials said they will meet with a state-appointed mediator on Friday in an attempt both sides hope will bring an end to a strike that threatens to cut Norway’s oil and gas output by some 25%.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has been challenged by rising output in Libya, an OPEC member exempted from cutting output, as well as an increase in coronavirus cases in many areas of the world.

“If true, the Saudis’ decision rewards the cheaters in OPEC while acknowledging the demand challenges that are still here,” said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

“This potential extension of the cuts is definitely a positive for the markets and maybe provides the seasonal bottom that is happening anyway,” he said.

The market has also drawn support from Hurricane Delta, which is forecast to intensify into a powerful, Category 3 storm in the

Viacom-CBS has enacted some additional belt-tightening for 2020, as employee merit pay increases have been eliminated for the year.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic’s continued hammering of the media sector, Viacom-CBS CEO Bob Bakish addressed staff in a global town hall event on Wednesday morning to announce the cuts.

“In an effort to manage company assets conservatively during this economically challenging time, we have come to the difficult but necessary decision to forego merit increases for all employees this year,” Bakish said, according to multiple individuals familiar with the meeting.

Merit pay is unscheduled increases in compensation based on performance, and is separate from bonuses.

A Viacom-CBS spokesperson had no immediate comment on the matter.

Sources said there’s also a feeling more staff reductions may shake out by the end of the year, which will come as part of the recent recombination of CBS and Viacom, and not as part of pandemic economic factors. The company has enacted several rounds of layoffs since February, its highest round affected roughly 100 employees across holdings.

“Even before the coronavirus pandemic, we were already in a period of significant change to integrate our newly combined company — work that is helping us weather this crisis, creatively adapt and strengthen the resiliency of our business,” Bakish said at the time.

On Wednesday, Bakish also said that domestic employees would not be returning to their offices “for the foreseeable future,” according to another individual. Months ago, the CEO announced that all office locations including their New York headquarters would remain closed through the end of 2020.

More from Variety

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Source Article

By Simon Jessop

LONDON (Reuters) – Dutch lender ING <INGA.AS> has sharply cut the carbon emissions linked to its lending to the power industry over the past year after reducing funding to coal-fired power plants and boosting financing for renewable energy, it said on Thursday.

ING said it had reduced its direct exposure to coal-fired power plants by 22% and increased renewable power generation financing by 1.9 billion euros in 2019.

ING is part of a small group of banks seeking to lead the way in aligning a combined 2.4 trillion euros in lending with the 2015 Paris climate agreement, aiming to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial norms by 2050.

Along with BBVA, BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered and Societe Generale and non-profit think tank the 2° Investing Initiative, ING has begun developing science-based methods and tools to help them measure their impact and guide lending decisions.

A key aim of the group is to be open about their efforts, in the hope other banks will follow their lead. After an inaugural report last year, the report on Wednesday is the first time that ING has been able to evidence its year-on-year progress.

For each of nine high-emitting sectors, ING has defined a multi-year pathway over which the emissions-intensity of its lending – the level of emissions per unit of economic activity – must change in order to meet the climate goals.

The biggest improvement was in the impact of the bank’s lending to the power generation sector, where carbon intensity – measured by kilograms of CO2 per megawatt hour – was now 14.9% below the target pathway and ahead of schedule.

Steel and cement sector-linked emissions intensity were 0.6% and 0.9% below their pathways, respectively, although both form a relatively smaller part of the bank’s