Entering the workforce in the greatest economic downturn in living memory, millennials earn much less than Generation X and might never close the gap
Scoff all you like at hoverboard hipsters and Brooklyn baristas: life is tough for millennials trying to chase down their American dream in New York City. The city’s millennials make about 20% less than the generation before them, according to a new report released by New York City comptroller Scott Stringer.
Entering the workforce during the greatest economic downturn in living memory, millennials – despite attending college at much higher rate than Gen X – have been stuck in low-wage jobs and might never make up that 20% gap.
Related: College-educated women earn $8,000 less a year than men as gap widens
It’s too easy to dismiss the collapsing retailer as out of date. In truth it has been bled dry by some very modern British business practices
It’s BHS RIP. If not quite yet, then, after the move into administration on Tuesday, surely soon enough. The corporate obituaries almost write themselves. Cue headlines about “the way we used to shop”, pictures of brass pendant lights and easy-care checked shirts; memories of sausage ’n’ chips washed down with tea at the in-store cafe; and retail sector analysts sharing expertise about how out-of-town malls, e-commerce and supermarkets that peddle kitchenware have done for the all-purpose store on the high street. That B, standing for British, is another emblem of how anachronistic BHS had become – a throwback to a less individualistic era, when a shop could sell itself as a national champion. To sum up the easy story here, time’s tide has simply washed BHS away.
But the suggestion this account carries – that the 11,000 staff now facing the future with dread are the inevitable victims of unavoidable change, people for whom nobody was ever going to be able do all that much – needs to be challenged. For the reality is that, even if the retail aspect of the BHS story strikes a dated note, the financial dealings behind the scenes are bang up to date, typifying the ugly realities of the modern British way of doing business. In recent weeks, the Guardian has highlighted what happened after aggressive and footloose finance acquired one trusted name on the high street, Boots, in 2007. Its stores were weighed down with mighty debts, and then the liabilities serviced by sweating the staff and maximising payments from the NHS, whether or not its patients needed the services billed for. Like Boots, BHS always used to be seen as dependable and unexciting. Like Boots, too, fate was to match it with a proprietor who was neither of these things, and rather earlier in the BHS case.
Duncan Weldon (Stunted growth: the mystery of the UK’s productivity crisis, 25 April) underestimates the importance of working conditions. As he mentions, productivity has been in decline since before the 2008 crash, and it is clear that there is a link between low productivity and poor working conditions. It is no surprise that in Britain the flexible labour market, or race to the bottom, with zero-hours contracts, enforced self-employment and poor or non-existent pension schemes has led to lower productivity.
According to the ONS, British workers produce up to 37% less per hour than French workers labouring under France’s notoriously inflexible labour laws.
While some in central London were dismayed by the chain’s demise, others felt the retailer had failed to stay relevant
Related: BHS paid more than £25m to owner in 13 months before administration
Among West End shoppers there was widespread dismay at news of BHS’s financial collapse on Monday. But even the retailer’s fans felt it had failed to move with the times.
Related: Sir Philip Green must sort out the BHS pension mess
Related: How Britain fell out of love with BHS – timeline
Related: BHS collapse – a consumers’ guide
Lobby group’s survey for three months to April found strongest performance since last July, but outlook remains challenging
Britain’s manufacturers managed to nudge up their production in the past three months and they are optimistic that domestic and overseas demand will improve, according to an industry survey.
The business lobby group CBI said its quarterly survey of factory bosses found that more reported a rise in output than a fall in the three months to April, marking the strongest performance since last July for the sector. But while the 472 manufacturers surveyed were upbeat about future demand, the past three months had been tough, with export orders falling again.
Barack Obama gave TTIP the hard sell, but leaving the EU would only make the controversial trade deal more likely – and possibly worse
Barack Obama’s key message to Europe’s leaders last week was “let’s speed up TTIP”. The US-EU trade deal, formally called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, has been mired in controversy on both sides of the Atlantic. The “free trade” agenda has become poison in the US primaries, forcing even pro-trade Hillary Clinton to re-examine TTIP.
The next round of talks begin on Monday in New York and Obama is worried – unless serious progress is made in coming months, his trade legacy may be doomed. The problem for the US president is selling TTIP at the same time as trying to warn against the dangers of Brexit. This is a tough ask because TTIP has been a godsend for Brexit campaigners, who argue that the deal is a major reason to cut loose from Brussels.
If being in the EU has brought us TTIP, it has also brought us the means to stop it
Related: What is TTIP and why should we be angry about it?
In the past, wealth came with responsibility. Today’s rich avoid taxes, military service, and charitable giving. No wonder we’re seeing a populist backlash
The author F Scott Fitzgerald once wrote that the “rich are different than you and me”.
Fitzgerald’s observation rings especially true today. The growing divide between the wealthy and everyone else is one of the pre-eminent issues of the 2016 presidential election. A tidal wave of public anger over income inequality and the decline of the middle class has made the rich a popular target on the campaign trail. The best example is the remarkable success of Bernie Sanders, who has tapped into the populist spirit of the electorate by calling for a “political revolution” against the “billionaire class”.
A private home offered by Onefinestay. Accor wants to be a player, not bystander, in the new economy. Photo credit: Onefinestay. Since he took charge in August 2013, AccorHotels’chairman and CEO Sébastien Bazin has moved at breakneck speed to transform AccorHotels as the industry faces the double-whammy of fast-changing consumer behaviours […]