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

Container ship outside Hong Kong

Blockchain and trade finance have always seemed like natural partners, and a company based in India is taking another stab at cracking the code.

Persistence has built the back-end infrastructure for a trade finance system that will allow small and medium-sized buyers to more easily find financing for commodities purchased from sellers, traveling between the main trade hubs of Asia, places like Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai, among others.

The startup closed a $3.7 million token round led by Arrington XRP, along with Alameda Research and South Korean stablecoin company Terra, among others. The backers are purchasing the Persistence token, or XPRT, which is set to be released sometime late this year or early next year, once macroeconomic conditions appear to be stabilized, said Persistence CEO Tushar Aggarwal.

Related: Boardroom Raises $2.2M for Blockchain Governance Toolset

“Commodity trading is a notoriously difficult industry to penetrate,” Aggarwal told CoinDesk in an interview, noting that other firms like Perlin and Centrifuge have already entered this space.

Persistence’s advantage, Aggarwal said, lies less in its technology than in its business-development strategy.

To build an application that would appeal to companies outside of the blockchain industry, Persistence settled on Tendermint as its base layer, after investigating both Ethereum and Waves.

“A big focus of ours is the institutional folks. On the institutional side we tried to abstract away some of the complexity,” Aggarwal said.

Related: Dapper Labs Raises $18M in Token Sale for NFT-Centric Flow Blockchain

Read more: Cosmos Gains Traction in India Amid Broader Crypto Resurgence

The specific trade finance platform was built as a separate application atop Persistence, called Comdex. That platform was turned over to a third party that already has access to the trade finance industry. Invoices get turned into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that can then be collateralized to back

President Donald Trump promised a new dawn for the struggling U.S. steel industry in 2016, and the lure of new jobs in Midwestern states including Michigan helped him eke out a surprise election win.

Four years later, Great Lakes Works — once among the state’s largest steel plants — has shut down steelmaking operations and put 1,250 workers out of a job. A year before the June layoffs, plant owner United States Steel Corp called off a plan to invest $600 million in upgrades amid deteriorating market conditions.

Trump’s strategy centered on shielding U.S. steel mills from foreign competition with a 25 percent tariff imposed in March 2018. He also promised to boost steel demand through major investments in roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

But higher steel prices resulting from the tariffs dented demand from the Michigan-based U.S. auto industry and other steel consumers. And the Trump administration has never followed through on an infrastructure plan.

Higher steel prices resulting from Trump’s tariffs have dented demand from the Michigan-based U.S. auto industry and other steel consumers.

Michigan’s heavy reliance on the steel and auto industries puts Trump’s trade policy in sharp focus ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election in this battleground state. Democrats say they aim to recapture the votes of blue-collar workers they lost to Trump four years ago — one key factor in his victory over Hillary Clinton. Trump won Michigan by less than one percent of the statewide vote total. The competition for the votes of often-unionized manufacturing workers —who historically have voted Democratic — will be just as fierce in the battleground states of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, political analysts say.

Biden leads Trump in Michigan by 8 percentage points, according to a Reuters/Ipsos state opinion poll of likely voters conducted from Sept. 29 – Oct.

  • The largest oil and gas companies, including ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and BP, are projected to sell a combined $100 billion in oil and gas assets around the world as they focus on top-performing regions, particularly the U.S. shale, according to a new analysis from consulting firm Rystad Energy.
  • Climate change and renewable energy investments are forces that these Big Oil firms need to respond to strategically, but their own carbon divestiture campaigns will be motivated by factors distinct from the push from climate activists. 



a boat in the water: The Johan Sverdrup oil field in the North Sea, operated by Equinor, is the third-largest oil field on the Norwegian continental shelf, with 2.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Equinor is planning to cut the carbon-intensity of energy products it sells by at least 50% as part of the energy transition related to climate change.


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The Johan Sverdrup oil field in the North Sea, operated by Equinor, is the third-largest oil field on the Norwegian continental shelf, with 2.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Equinor is planning to cut the carbon-intensity of energy products it sells by at least 50% as part of the energy transition related to climate change.

Energy transition has climbed towards the top of the agenda in the boardrooms of the world’s largest oil and gas companies. With electrification and renewable energy on the rise, Big Oil is striving to adapt to a transformation that could eventually render their business obsolete if they don’t latch on to the opportunities it brings. The result could be a massive sell-off of assets as the biggest petroleum players concentrate their oil and gas production to the countries where oil and gas is cheapest and easiest to produce.

The transition to renewable energy poses a threat to oil and gas production in the longer term as solar and wind power is expanding on the energy supply side, while lower-cost electric vehicles and better battery technology are driving big changes on the global oil demand side. Big oil companies have strong skills within energy and own assets globally that they can use to remain competitive

Lloyd’s has launched a new “first-of-its-kind” business interruption policy for small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), specifically designed to protect them against IT disruption or downtime.

Parametrix Insurance offers simple and reliable coverage by removing the traditional indemnity trigger that most insurance policies today use. Instead, the new solution uses a parametric trigger, meaning that the policy automatically pays out if a customer’s critical IT services – such as cloud, e-commerce or payment systems – are disrupted, said Lloyd’s in a statement, noting that this will significantly reduce the time insurers spend assessing a loss or adjusting a claim.

The new product is led by Tokio Marine Kiln (TMK) and supported by other members of Lloyd’s Product Innovation Facility including RenaissanceRe. It is the first off-the-shelf parametric IT downtime policy tailored towards SMEs, said Lloyd’s.

Yonatan Hatzor

“Businesses have shifted to managing most of their critical IT operations by using third-party service providers, thereby increasing their vulnerability to disruption,” said Yonatan Hatzor, co-founder and CEO of Parametrix Insurance.

“As a result, critical technology downtime has become the fastest growing risk for businesses today, whether you are a technology company or not. On top of this, the existing claims process in the field is complicated, expensive and time consuming,” added Hatzor.

“Parametrix’s approach addresses all these issues, providing a solution that saves both time and money, while making tech insurance accessible to new business segments. We are thrilled to launch the first ‘off-the-shelf’ parametric insurance product for IT downtime,” he said. “This is a great milestone for us, and we are grateful to TMK, Howden and Lloyd’s Product Innovation Facility for helping us to develop our product and providing us with valuable insights and support along the way.”

“We know that insurance products and services have to evolve to respond to the challenges of