On Tuesday, December 21, Bloomberg Economics reported that the latest strain of COVID-19, Omicron, is set to halve fourth quarter global economic growth. According to Bloomberg, the global economy is expanding at just 0.7% in the final three months, which is half the pace of the third quarter. The European economy is on pace for a 0.8% expansion this quarter while the United States is on track to register a 1.2% growth. Experts are warning that as the year closes, this variant—which is said to be far more transmissible than its predecessors—has the potential to throw off gains enjoyed by the global economy earlier in the year due to the efficacy of vaccines and available treatments in particular as it is coupled with accelerating inflation worldwide. [Bloomberg; Dec. 21, 2021]

Also on Tuesday, Yahoo! Finance reported that Credit Suisse has downgraded its views on the U.S. equities market from “overweight” to “neutral”, citing the near-term risks associated with the Omicron variant. Credit Suisse’s investment committee noted that the market could face a situation “in which the growth prospects are waning while central banks are forced to tighten liquidity at the same time” in light of rising inflation. The investment bank also cut UK stocks to “neutral” citing a deterioration of earnings. [Yahoo! Finance; Dec. 21, 2021]

On Sunday, December 19, Bloomberg Economics reported salary increases in several professions, most notably occupational recruiters—which experienced a 14% increase in salaries this year. Other professions that had salary increases when adjusted for inflation include: educators and corporate trainers, public relations experts, restaurant managers, cleaners, and coordinators. On the whole these professions appear to be white collar or managerial, with the biggest gains being in sectors that suffered large exits in the workforce due to the pandemic. This phenomena occurred despite the nationwide fall in wages overall when adjusting for inflation. The salary increases of professional recruiters seem to suggest the high demand for different jobs and that “job switchers and new hires” in sought-after industries are getting raises that outpace the recent surge in consumer prices. Furthermore, such data spotlights the contrast between new hires and existing workers at this time of high inflation, an issue predicted to linger for some time. [Bloomberg; Dec. 19, 2021]