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Rethinking the boundaries between economic life and coronavirus death – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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Carolyn Prouse, Queen’s University, Ontario; Beverley Mullings, Queen’s University, Ontario; Dairon Luis Morejon Perez, Queen’s University, Ontario, and Shannon Clarke, Queen’s University, Ontario

As governments around the world begin to reopen their borders, it’s clear that efforts to revive the economy are redrawing the lines between who will prosper, who will suffer and who will die.

Emerging strategies for restoring economic growth are forcing vulnerable populations to choose between increased exposure to death or economic survival. This is an unacceptable choice that appears natural only because it prioritizes the economy over people already considered marginal or expendable.

The management of borders has always been central to capitalist economic growth, and has only intensified with neoliberal reforms of the last several decades. Neoliberal economic growth has increasingly become tied to opening up national borders to the flow of money and the selective entry of low-wage labour with limited access to rights.


Read more: What exactly is neoliberalism?


Nation-state borders regulate this flow, and in so doing, reconstitute the borders between people: those whose lives must be safeguarded and those who are considered disposable.

COVID-19 has brought heightened visibility to these border-making practices, with the pandemic intensifying the decisions between economic and social life.

A migrant worker from Mexico is shown in downtown Leamington on Thursday, June 25, 2020.

Exceptions made for seasonal workers

Early in the outbreak, for instance, Canada closed its borders to international travel, but made exceptions for an estimated 60,000 seasonal agricultural workers from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Anxious to avert the potential loss of as much as 95 per cent of this year’s vegetable and fruit production, temporary farm workers were deemed the essential backbone of the agri-food economy. For the health and safety of Canadians and seasonal farm workers, farmers required the farm workers to self-isolate for 14 days in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

But the deaths of two farm workers in Windsor, Ont., and serious outbreaks of COVID-19 infections among migrant workers on farms across the country, have revealed systemic forms of racism that reveal the priority given to profit maximization over the health and safety of Black and brown migrant farmers.

Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, migrant farmers are not entitled to standard labour rights such as a minimum wage, overtime pay or days off, and federal oversight over housing conditions has been notoriously inadequate.

With worker welfare left largely to the discretion of employers, it is not altogether surprising that reports of crowded and unsanitary housing, an inability to socially distance, delays in responding to COVID-19 symptoms and threats of reprisals for speaking out have become rife throughout the agri-food economy. Even as COVID-19 cases soar in Ontario, provincial guidelines make it possible for infected farm workers to continue working if they are asymptomatic.

It is a tragic irony that the quest for a better life among migrant workers should be one that demands levels of exposure to abuse, threats, infection and premature death that few citizens are likely to face.

Traffic is loaded onto the MV Confederation on Friday morning at the Wood Islands, P.E.I., ferry terminal. Plenty of people were taking advantage of day one the Atlantic bubble. - Dave Stewart/The Guardian
Traffic is loaded onto the MV Confederation on Friday morning at the Wood Islands, P.E.I., ferry terminal. Plenty of people were taking advantage of Day 1 the Atlantic bubble. – Dave Stewart/The Guardian

Choosing between health and the economy

Now, as governments speak of opening borders more widely due to the economic costs of COVID-19, countries are beginning to make new, challenging decisions between public health and economic growth.

For example, across the Caribbean, the abrupt closure of international borders decimated the region’s tourism industry overnight. Estimating a contraction of the industry of up to 70 per cent, Standard & Poor has already predicted that some islands will experience significantly deteriorated credit ratings.

For example, with tourism accounting for half of Jamaica’s foreign exchange earnings and more than 350,000 jobs, it is not entirely surprising that the tourism minister has justified re-opening as “not just about tourism. It is a matter of economic life or death.” It’s also not surprising that resort chains like Sandals and airlines alike have been eager to resume business as usual.

But assurances that “vacations are back,” even as new cases emerge, ring hollow given that most Caribbean countries have long struggled with overburdened health-care systems. And even with new protocols for screening, isolating or restricting the mobility of infected visitors, it is likely that the region’s poorer citizens — many of whom are women in front-line hospitality services — will bear the brunt of the costs of new infections.

Unequal dependencies

The dependence of Caribbean and Latin American governments on tourism and remittance dollars, and Canada’s dependence on Black and brown people to carry out low-paid essential work, are unequal dependencies that are intimately tied. For the most vulnerable, these dependencies mark the stark overlap between economic life and COVID-19 death.

Yet COVID-19 has also presented us with a unique opportunity to rethink the border inequalities that have governed our lives and the primacy of the economy within it.

It forces us to ask: Who does “the economy” serve? What types of activities are valued or dismissed when we prioritize economic growth? Whose life is valued, and whose continues to be expendable?

Prioritizing the economy over the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable should never be an acceptable fix.


This is a collaborative article written by members of the Global Economies and Everyday Lives Lab at Queen’s University, Canada. Nathalia Ocasio Santos, Grace Adeniyi Ogunyankin, Priscilla Apronti, Hilal Kara and Tesfa Peterson co-authored this piece.

The Conversation
The Conversation

Carolyn Prouse, Assistant Professor of Human Geography, Queen’s University, Ontario; Beverley Mullings, Professor of Geography, Queen’s University, Ontario; Dairon Luis Morejon Perez, Phd Student in Geography and Urban Planning, Queen’s University, Ontario, and Shannon Clarke, PhD Student in Geography, Queen’s University, Ontario

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Economy

Argentine economy to shrink 12.5% this year, central bank poll says – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s economy is likely to contract 12.5% ​​in 2020, a central bank survey of economists showed on Friday, a slightly more negative outlook than a month earlier as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic hammers the South American nation.

The economic outlook in the monthly report polling 44 economists was down from a 12% estimated drop previously.

Economists predicted a larger fiscal deficit of around 2 trillion Argentine pesos ($27.49 billion) as the government steps up spending to reignite the economy after two years of recession and to recover from COVID-19.

Those polled forecast a deeper contraction in the second quarter, but had a more positive outlook for the third quarter, “indicating that the period of greatest impact of the pandemic has already been overcome,” the report said.

Argentina has registered 235,677 confirmed infections of COVID-19, with daily cases accelerating in recent weeks as the country has looked to ease some lockdown restrictions in place in and around Buenos Aires, the capital.

The country, which defaulted in May, reached a deal with creditors this week to restructure $65 billion in foreign debt.

The central bank survey also estimated inflation for 2020 at 39.5%, slightly down from its month-earlier forecast. The peso currency was seen rising to 86.4 pesos per dollar in December 2020 and 123.2 pesos per dollar in December 2021.

(Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Leslie Adler)

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Is the reboot of our economy on an upward trajectory or is it game over (user wins)? – CBC.ca

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As coronavirus restrictions continue to ease up, some parts of the Canadian economy are seeing positive numbers.

But experts say businesses and workers alike are not out of the woods yet, and it remains to be seen what the consequences are to our economy — and how long they could last.

  • The Cost of Living is sticking around all summer on CBC Radio One!
    Catch us Fridays at 11:30 a.m. or if you prefer weekends,
    starting July 4, 2020 we encore Saturdays at 11 a.m. after the news.
    To listen anytime, click here to download the show to your podcast player of choice.

Paul Haavardsrud speaks with Karl Schamotta, Chief Market Strategist at Cambridge Global Payments for his expert take and also hears from businesspeople on the ground.


Click “listen” at the top of the page to hear this segment, or download the Cost of Living podcast.

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July jobs report: Economy added back 1.763 million payrolls in July, unemployment rate fell to 10.2% – Yahoo Canada Finance

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The US economy regained fewer jobs in July after a record gain in June, as a resurgence of coronavirus cases in some states earlier this summer weighed on the labor market recovery. However, the number of jobs added topped estimates, and the unemployment rate fell more than expected.” data-reactid=”16″>The US economy regained fewer jobs in July after a record gain in June, as a resurgence of coronavirus cases in some states earlier this summer weighed on the labor market recovery. However, the number of jobs added topped estimates, and the unemployment rate fell more than expected.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Department of Labor’s July jobs report was released at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday. Here were the main metrics in the report, compared to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg:” data-reactid=”17″>The Department of Labor’s July jobs report was released at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday. Here were the main metrics in the report, compared to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg:

  • Change in non-farm payrolls: +1.783 million vs. +1.48 million expected and +4.791 million in June

  • Unemployment rate: 10.2% vs. 10.6% expected and 11.1% in June

  • Average hourly earnings, month over month: +0.2% vs. -0.5% expected and -1.3% in June

  • Average hourly earnings, year over year: +4.8% vs. +4.2% expected and +4.9% in June

The change in total non-farm payrolls for June was revised down slightly by 9,000 to 4.791 million, while May’s payrolls were revised up by 26,000 to 2.725 million.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Contracts on the three major US stock indices pared overnight losses after the better-than-expected July print was released.” data-reactid=”24″>Contracts on the three major US stock indices pared overnight losses after the better-than-expected July print was released.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="July marked the third straight month that the economy added jobs on net. However, even with the past several months of gains, the economy has not made up the entirety of the lost jobs since the start of the pandemic – especially after April’s record drop of more than 20 million payrolls.” data-reactid=”25″>July marked the third straight month that the economy added jobs on net. However, even with the past several months of gains, the economy has not made up the entirety of the lost jobs since the start of the pandemic – especially after April’s record drop of more than 20 million payrolls.

In July, the number of unemployed individuals on temporary layoffs fell by 1.3 million to 9.2 million. That was half of April’s level, as Americans began returning to work following temporary virus-related business closures. However, the number of permanent job losers held steady in July over the prior month at 2.9 million, underscoring the longer-lasting impact to the labor market due to the pandemic.

The services sector again led non-farm payroll gains in July, after the services economy was cut deeply by shelter in place orders and business closures earlier on this year. The leisure and hospitality industry added back 592,000 jobs after gaining nearly 2 million in June, and retail trade jobs increased by 258,000 in July after a rise of more than 800,000 during the prior month.

Within services, information-related industries were the only group to shed jobs on net in July, losing 15,000. Within the goods-producing sector, mining and logging jobs fell by 7,000.

Government jobs rose by 301,000 in July, after an increase of 54,000 in June.

Elsewhere, the jobless rate improved by a greater than expected margin to 10.2% in July from 11.1% in June. However, the unemployment rate remained above the the Global Financial Crisis peak of 10.0%, and more than double the 3.5% rate from February before the spread of the pandemic in the U.S.

Average hourly wages unexpectedly rose on a month over month basis by 0.2%, following a revised 1.3% decline in June. Consensus economists had expected to see average hourly earnings moderate and decline 0.5% on a monthly basis, due to compositional effects as low-wage workers reentered the workforce following shutdowns.

The US economy added back 1.763 million non-farm payrolls in June and the unemployment rate edged lower to 10.2%. (David Foster/Yahoo Finance)
The US economy added back 1.763 million non-farm payrolls in June and the unemployment rate edged lower to 10.2%. (David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

As had been the case since the start of the pandemic, the dispersion among estimates for July’s change in non-farm payrolls was elevated.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="On the high end, a handful of economists estimated that the economy added back at least 3 million jobs during the month, or double the median estimate. Several, however, expected that non-farm payrolls declined by several hundred thousand. US employers added back more jobs than expected in each of the three latest jobs reports.” data-reactid=”44″>On the high end, a handful of economists estimated that the economy added back at least 3 million jobs during the month, or double the median estimate. Several, however, expected that non-farm payrolls declined by several hundred thousand. US employers added back more jobs than expected in each of the three latest jobs reports.

Still, economists convened on the notion that the pace of recovery in the labor market decelerated since June, due to both the sunsetting of enhanced federal unemployment benefits and the reimposition of stay-in-place measures in some states.

“The 1.763 million increase in non-farm payrolls in July confirms that the resurgence in new virus cases caused the economic recovery to slow, but also underlines that it has not yet gone into reverse,” said Andrew Hunter, senior economist for Capital Economics. “With new infections now trending clearly lower again and high-frequency activity indicators showing tentative signs of a renewed upturn, employment should continue to rebound over the coming months.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Ahead of the July jobs report, other recent data also reflected a braking recovery in the labor market. The reference week for the Labor Department’s jobs report captured the period including the 12th of the month, and in mid-July, weekly unemployment insurance claims worsened for two consecutive weeks after months of improvement.” data-reactid=”51″>Ahead of the July jobs report, other recent data also reflected a braking recovery in the labor market. The reference week for the Labor Department’s jobs report captured the period including the 12th of the month, and in mid-July, weekly unemployment insurance claims worsened for two consecutive weeks after months of improvement.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Plus, the closely watched ADP National Employment Report released Wednesday showed private payrolls rose by a meager 167,000 in July. Consensus economists had expected private employers added back 1.2 million payrolls, after an upwardly revised 4.3 million additions in June.” data-reactid=”52″>Plus, the closely watched ADP National Employment Report released Wednesday showed private payrolls rose by a meager 167,000 in July. Consensus economists had expected private employers added back 1.2 million payrolls, after an upwardly revised 4.3 million additions in June.

The ADP report, however, has historically been an imprecise indicator of the “official” government-issued employment report. ADP’s initial print for May, June and now July payroll additions each ultimately undershot the data reflected in the Labor Department’s monthly reports.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="This post is breaking. Check back for updates.” data-reactid=”54″>This post is breaking. Check back for updates.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance.&nbsp;Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck” data-reactid=”56″>Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more from Emily:” data-reactid=”57″>Read more from Emily:

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Find live stock market quotes and the latest business and finance news” data-reactid=”63″>Find live stock market quotes and the latest business and finance news

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="For tutorials and information on investing and trading stocks, check out&nbsp;Cashay” data-reactid=”64″>For tutorials and information on investing and trading stocks, check out Cashay

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Follow Yahoo Finance on&nbsp;Twitter,&nbsp;Facebook,&nbsp;Instagram,&nbsp;Flipboard,&nbsp;LinkedIn, and&nbsp;reddit.” data-reactid=”65″>Follow Yahoo Finance on TwitterFacebookInstagramFlipboardLinkedIn, and reddit.

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