Will Inflation Last Into 2023? Global CEOs Say Yes, While Key Price Indicator Hits Record Level

Inflation is worrying chief executives globally, according to a survey released Thursday by the Conference Board, a business research group, and data shared by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday backs their concerns.

Key Facts

Some 55% of CEOs expect higher prices to last until mid-2023 or beyond next year, according to the survey.

Rising inflation is the second-most common external business worry for CEOs, trailing only disruptions caused by Covid-19, after being just the 22nd most cited concern in Conference Board’s 2021 poll.

Supply chain bottlenecks were the most common explanation for the rising prices among CEOs, and 82% of respondents said their businesses were impacted by rising input costs, such as raw materials or wages.

The poll was conducted between October and November of last year among 917 CEOs in the U.S., Asia, Europe and South America.

Big Number9.7%. That’s how much the Producer Price Index, a measure tracking the prices manufacturers pay for goods, rose in 2021, the highest year-over-year increase since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began calculating the statistic in 2010. The PPI is considered a forward-looking indicator for consumer prices, meaning that the highest inflation U.S. consumers have faced in four decades could climb even further.

Tangent

The Conference Board survey found that the U.S. has faced unique labor issues during the pandemic. Labor shortages were considered the top external threat to business by U.S. respondents as a record number of Americans quit their jobs, but were not higher than third on the list of CEOs from other countries.

A primarily remote workforce is also a mostly American phenomenon: More than half of American CEOs said that they expect 40% or more of their workforce to work remotely after the pandemic, compared with just 31% of CEOs from Europe and 17% of CEOs from Japan.

Further Reading

Inflation Surge Is on Many Executives’ List of 2022 Worries (Wall Street Journal)

Inflation Spiked Another 7% In December—Hitting New 39-Year High As Fed’s Price Concerns Rattle Markets (Forbes)

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I’m a New Jersey-based news desk reporter covering sports, business and more. I graduated this spring from Duke University, where I majored in Economics and served as sports editor for The Chronicle, Duke’s student newspaper.

Source: Will Inflation Last Into 2023? Global CEOs Say Yes, While Key Price Indicator Hits Record Level

The Critics:

The 48 professional forecasters surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics were asked when the so-called core inflation rate (which leaves out food and energy prices) might return to the 2% range that the Federal Reserve targets (and that was commonplace before the pandemic).1 Right now the rate—as measured by the year-over-year change in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Personal Consumption Expenditures price index—is 4.1%, the highest since 1991.23

Most respondents said it would take at least until the second half of 2023, including more than a third who forecast 2024 or later. Since the survey was conducted in mid-November—before the omicron variant of COVID-19 was identified—it doesn’t account for how that news might impact their outlook.

The Federal Reserve has determined that roughly 2% is a healthy middle ground for inflation, one that enables a strong economy without hurting people’s buying power too much. The longer inflation stays hotter than that, the more likely the Fed is to do things to put a lid on it,4 like raise the benchmark federal funds rate. That rate influences all kinds of other interest rates, impacting the cost of borrowing on credit cards, mortgages, and other loans.5

Inflation has been double that 2% sweet spot because of the pandemic’s disruptions to supplies and the labor market. It’s hard for businesses to manufacture and transport enough goods to satisfy consumers’ unusually voracious demand for stuff.

Personal income grew 0.5% in October compared with the month before, as wage increases more than made up for declines in unemployment benefits from the government following the expiration of pandemic-era relief programs, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Wednesday in its monthly report on income and spending.1

People were inclined to spend the extra pocket money, as inflation-adjusted spending accelerated for a third month, rising 0.7%. They also saved less of their disposable income—7.3%, compared with 8.2% in September—staying within pre-pandemic norms and a far cry from April 2020, when the saving rate hit 33.8%.23

All that extra money didn’t go as far as it might have, though. The report also showed core inflation (not including food and energy) rising to 4.1% from a year ago, compared with 3.7% in September, hitting its highest level since 1991. That was in line with what forecasters at Moody’s Analytics had expected, possibly signaling that elevated inflation isn’t going away anytime soon.

“Inflation is no doubt a headwind, but in October at least, it was not enough to stop consumers from spending,” economists at Wells Fargo Securities said in a commentary.

CDC Recommends Cutting Covid Isolation Time To 5 Days For Some Healthcare Workers

With hospitals in some areas struggling with staffing shortfalls amid a nationwide surge of Covid-19 cases, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control revised its guidelines Thursday to recommend that healthcare workers who contract Covid-19 but display mild-to-moderate symptoms and are not moderately or severely immunocompromised can return to work five days after symptoms first appear, down from 10 days previously.

Key Facts

Healthcare workers who contract the virus should also wait until at least 24 hours after their last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and must wait until symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath have improved, according to the guidelines.

Some hospitals have voluntarily adopted a seven-day isolation period for infected staff, the New York Times reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises someone who tests positive to go into isolation for 10 days. Critics say that the policy does not take into account how the pandemic has developed over the last two years.

Omicron is now the dominant strain in the U.S. Although more transmissible than prior variants and amid a spike in breakthrough infections among the fully vaccinated, the strain so far appears to be causing milder symptoms.

The CDC also recommended that hospitals cancel all non-essential procedures and visits if necessary to mitigate staffing shortages. Other new CDC guidelines also revised rules for workers who have higher-risk exposure to Covid-19, such as having their eyes, nose or mouth exposed to material possibly containing the virus, but who are not confirmed to have been infected.

In general, asymptomatic workers who have been exposed to the virus in this way do not require any restriction from work if they have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters, the CDC said.

Fauci told CNN reducing the 10-day isolation recommendation would help those without symptoms return to work or school, although added “no decisions” had been made yet.

Key Background

As the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant raises infection rates across the U.S., hospitals have struggled with worker burnout and understaffing. In Massachusetts, New York and Ohio, the National Guard has been deployed to reinforce overburdened hospital staff, Spectrum News reported. “When it comes to the workforce, it’s fair to say we’re facing a national emergency,” American Hospital Association President Rick Pollack told NPR.

Tangent

Airlines for America, a trade association representing most of the nation’s largest airlines, asked the CDC on Thursday to shorten its quarantine recommendation to five days for fully vaccinated people who have a breakthrough Covid-19 case. A4A CEO Nicholas Calio cited potential worker shortages and operation disruptions amid the omicron coronavirus surge if the quarantine time isn’t reduced.

However, flight attendant union chief Sara Nelson pushed back against the airlines’ call on Thursday, saying it would pose health risks. “Although breakthrough infections are mild, the 10-day isolation is extremely disruptive to people’s lives,” he told Newsweek. “It’s unnecessary if a person is contagious for a significantly shorter period of time,” Adalja noted.

Omicron is the most dominant COVID strain in the U.S., comprising of 73 per cent of new infections last week. But even if proven to have milder systems, there are fears the health care system could be overwhelmed if infections put medical workers out of action.

I cover breaking news for Forbes. Previously, I was editor for The Cordova Times newspaper in Cordova, Alaska. In 2018, I obtained a Master of Journalism

I am a Hawaii-based reporter covering breaking news for Forbes. I graduated from the University of Hawaii with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and

Source: CDC Recommends Cutting Covid Isolation Time To 5 Days For Some Healthcare Workers

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Related contents:

How Millions of Jobless Americans Can Afford To Ditch Work

One of the more insidious myths this year was that young people didn’t want to work because they were getting by just fine on government aid. People had too much money, went the narrative.

Only trouble is, the numbers don’t back it up. Instead, early retirement — whether forced by the pandemic or made possible otherwise — is playing a big role in America’s evolving labor market.

People have left the workforce for myriad reasons in the past two years — layoffs, health insecurity, child care needs, and any number of personal issues that arose from the disruption caused by the pandemic. But among those who have left and are not able to — or don’t want to — return, the vast majority are older Americans who accelerated their retirement.

Earlier this month, ADP Chief Economist Nela Richardson said the strong stock market along with soaring home prices “has given some higher income people options. We already saw a large portion of the Boomer workforce retiring. And they’re in a better position now.”

In assessing the jobs recovery, economists have pointed out that while the unemployment rate has come down, the labor force participation rate hasn’t improved at the same pace. But Jared Bernstein, a member of President Joe Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers, said that once “non-prime age” workers — those over 55 — are excluded from the metrics a much clearer picture of how the labor recovery is doing emerges because it strips out the retirement narrative.

Last month, there were 3.6 million more Americans who had left the labor force and said they didn’t want a job compared with November 2019, says Aaron Sojourner, a labor economist and professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

Older Americans, age 55 and up, accounted for whopping 90% of that increase. “I think a lot of the narratives imagine prime-age workers as being missing, but it actually skews much older,” Sojourner told CNN Business.

The labor shortage and retirement

The oft-lamented labor shortage has become a shorthand for the complicated reality of the pandemic-era labor force. Americans are quitting their jobs in record numbers — more than 4 million each month since July — but much of that quitting is happening among young people who are leaving for other jobs or better pay. They’re not leaving the workforce entirely.

“Part of it is a job quality shortage,” says Sojourner. “It’s a bit of a puzzle why employers aren’t raising wages and improving working conditions fast enough to draw people back in. They say they want to hire people — there are 11 million job openings — but they’re not creating job openings that people want.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell underscored that issue during a news conference on Wednesday.”There’s a demographic trend underlying all of this… The question of how much we can get back is a good one, and what we can do is try to create the conditions,” that allow people to come back, he said.

To be sure, some companies have been raising wages to attract and retain staff. Some businesses also offer signing bonuses to get workers in the door. But economists aren’t sure whether these incentives are here to stay and will improve conditions for workers in the long term. “I can want a 65-inch TV for $50, but it doesn’t mean there’s a TV shortage, it means I’m not willing to pay enough to get somebody to sell me a TV,” said Sojourner..

Nearly 70% of the 5 million people who left the labor force during the pandemic are older than 55, according to researchers from Goldman Sachs, and many of them aren’t looking to return. Retirements tend to be “stickier” than other labor force exits, the researchers wrote. Even so, they expect that an improving virus situation and increased vaccination will allow older workers to return to the labor force.

In normal times, retired people are often drawn back into the workforce. But the “unretirement” rate fell significantly during the pandemic, exacerbating the shortage of workers, according to research from the Kansas City Fed. There are some early signs that seniors are coming back to the workforce as vaccination rates increase and employers offer higher wages.quintex-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-2-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-768x114-1-1-2-1-1-4-1-2-2-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1

The unretirement rate fell to just over 2% early in the pandemic, but in recent months has ticked up to around 2.6%, according to Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed. That’s still off from the pre-pandemic rate of around 3%.Then again, older workers are potentially competing with younger, more qualified applicants for jobs, which could make their return more challenging.

The Real Inflation Problem Is Corporate Profiteering

The prices of everyday goods are going up, and everyone from members of Congress to talking heads on cable news have their own diagnoses as to why it’s happening. But they’re all missing the biggest piece of the puzzle about what is to blame—namely, corporate profiteering.

You’ve heard a dizzying array of explanations about inflation. Biden administration officials have said the Covid pandemic resulted in supply chain disruptions, which are now being ironed out. Republicans are blaming Biden’s policies for putting too much money into the hands of working families.

Corporate leaders are blaming it on an inability to hire workers and a workforce that wants better pay and working conditions. Economists say that while inflation is indeed occurring, the expectation of inflation is truly what’s altering consumer attitudes and behavior.

What all these arguments miss is that, despite whatever rising costs exist for raw materials or transportation or other underlying factors, the incontestable truth is profits are way up for the largest corporations in America.

And what that means is pretty simple: Corporate America has seized on the fears of inflation to jack up prices on you and make a ton more money. According to The Wall Street Journal, nearly two out of three of the biggest U.S. publicly traded companies had larger profit margins this year than they did in 2019, prior to the pandemic. Not just profits. Larger profits.

Nearly 100 of these massive corporations report profits in 2021 that are 50 percent above profit margins from 2019. CEOs are quick to suggest to media that they have been forced to raise prices because of one difficulty or another.

However, my organization More Perfect Union reviewed recent corporate earnings calls featuring CEOs of some of the largest companies in the world, like Tyson Foods, Kellogg’s, Pepsi, Mondelez (a huge snack food and beverage company that used to be known as Kraft), and others. And we found jubilant executives revealing that price hikes are great for business.

In these calls, business leaders employ fancy financial lingo to tell large shareholders how they are engaging in “pricing improvements” and “successful pricing strategies.” They tell you they are experiencing customer “elasticities” to price increases at historically low levels. When you decode what they’re saying, it’s nothing less than a euphoric articulation that they’re able to pass off price increases to consumers, who, in the words of legendary investor Warren Buffett, are “just accepting it.”

The stocks have in turn moved higher and higher. (And interestingly, when a corporation like Target announces it hasn’t raised prices despite strong earnings, investors are punishing it by pushing the stock downward.)

In an interview with Fox Business, John Catsimatidis, a conservative pundit and billionaire CEO, revealed very simply what his C-suite colleagues are doing. “Why give something away if you don’t have to, and you can have a bigger margin?” he said. Right. It’s corporate price gouging at work.

Beef prices are up this holiday season. Why are they up? Because a consolidated market has allowed monopolists like Tyson’s, Cargill, and National Beef to rake in more profits while ensuring that very little of that goes to ranchers and farmers who are raising the cattle.

Home Depot and Lowe’s recently posted incredible earnings, pleasing giddy investors. CNBC’s voluble Jim Cramer observed that these two companies “can do no wrong because they’re passing on rising costs to the public, and the public has no choice …because these two chains have single-handedly wiped out the competition already.”

The power is entirely in the hands of large corporations, and they’re going for the gold. This story of corporate greed is being missed in the national inflation conversation.

But there’s more! Think about the devious design of what corporations have been up to. For months, they have, with one hand, fueled talk of inflation as a way to make obscene profits off the backs of consumers. That’s bad enough. But with the other hand, they have been manipulating the talk of inflation to engage in a full-frontal assault on President Biden’s efforts to pass a Build Back Better bill for working families.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called Biden’s proposal an “existential threat,” and it—along with many corporate P.R. groups—has led a multimillion-dollar barrage of corporate ad spending to try to dissuade voters about it.

Corporate America is also feeding its talking points into the hands of Republican lawmakers and media outlets that pin the blame for inflation on Biden and falsely warn that enacting a working families bill is only going to feed it further. Because the Build Back Better act will have increased taxes on corporations, these big businesses are eager to kill it. They are not about to give up any of their record profits to invest in the safety net of America.

As we head into Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we all look forward to large enjoyable feasts with friends and family, we should rightly harbor anger about inflation. Not just that they made us pay more for turkey, cranberries, and pie crusts.

We’re having to pay more because corporate America made a choice to raise prices on us, and then on top of that, it tried to manipulate your fear about those prices to keep you from getting paid leave, home care, childcare, and climate change action. Corporate America made you pay more while trying to make sure it didn’t have to.

By:

Future Of Work: The 5 Biggest Workplace Trends In 2022

Much has been written about the huge changes in our working lives during the past two years – driven of course by necessity and concerns for safety. In 2022, the pandemic is very much still a fact of life for many of us. However, it’s fair to say that we’ve learned to adapt to new behavioral patterns and expectations as we do our jobs. If we are among the millions of “knowledge workers” who find ourselves with more freedom to choose when and where we work, then hopefully, we are making the most of the opportunity to strike a better balance between home and working life.

Of course, however much there is to write about the widespread shift away from offices and centralized workplaces, there are many occupations and professions where this simply isn’t an option. To frontline workers in healthcare, retail, teaching, transport, and security – among many other industries – buzzwords like “hybrid workplace” probably have very little impact on their day-to-day lives. But they are unlikely to remain untouched by other trends on this list, as technology opens up opportunities for new ways of working and continues to redefine the relationship between us and our workplaces.

Hybrid working

When it comes to where we work, there will continue to be three main models – centralized workplaces, decentralized remote organizations, and the hybrid “best of both worlds” approach. What’s likely to change in 2022 is that it’s more likely that we, as workers, will have the choice rather than being forced to align with whatever model your organization has chosen out of necessity.

Organizations are clearly undergoing a change in their relationship with the idea of a centralized workplace. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, 69% of large companies expected an overall decrease in the amount of office space they would be using, according to research by KPMG.

Hybrid structures will range from companies maintaining permanent centralized offices with hot-desking to accommodate the fact that staff will more frequently work remotely, to doing away with offices entirely and relying on co-working spaces and serviced meeting rooms to support the needs of a primarily remote workforce.

A report recently commissioned by video messaging platform Loom found that 90% of employees surveyed – including workers and managers – are happier with the increased freedom they now have to work from home, suggesting that this is likely to be a trend that is here to stay as we move into 2022.

AI-augmented workforceThe World Economic Forum predicts that AI and automation will lead to the creation of 97 million new jobs by 2025. However, people working in many existing jobs will also find their roles changing,  as they are increasingly expected to augment their own abilities with AI technology. Initially, this AI will primarily be used to automate repetitive elements of their day-to-day roles and allow workers to focus on areas that require a more human touch – creativity, imagination, high-level strategy, or emotional intelligence, for example.

Some examples include lawyers who will use technology that cuts down the amount of time spent reviewing case histories in order to find precedents, and doctors who will have computer vision capabilities to help them analyze medical records and scans to help them diagnose illness in patients. In retail, augmented analytics helps store managers with inventory planning and logistics and helps sales assistants predict what individual shoppers will be looking for when they walk through the door.

Marketers have an ever-growing range of tools at their disposal to help them target campaigns and segment audiences. And in engineering and manufacturing roles, workers will increasingly have access to technology that helps them understand how machinery works and predict where breakdowns are likely to happen.

Staffing for resilience

Pre-pandemic, the priority was generally to have been to hire staff that would create efficient organizations. Mid and post-pandemic, the emphasis has shifted firmly in the direction of resilience. Whereas built-in redundancy or overlaps in skills might previously have been seen as inefficient, today, it’s seen as a sensible precaution.

This certainly encompasses another sub-trend, which is that employers are coming to understand the critical importance of building employee healthcare and wellbeing (including mental health) strategies into their game plan. Many are now trying to take more responsibility for helping their workforce maintain physical, mental, and financial wellbeing. A challenge here that companies will come up against in 2022 is finding ways to do this that hit objectives without being overly intrusive or invasive of employees’ privacy and personal lives.

Ensuring a workforce is healthy enough to keep a business running is clearly a critical element of resilience, but it also covers the implementation of processes that are more flexible, with built-in redundancies to provide cover when disaster strikes, resulting in operational efficiency becoming compromised. These processes are sure to play an increasingly big part in the day-to-day lives of workers as we move through 2022.

Less focus on roles, more focus on skills

Gartner says, “To build the workforce you’ll need post-pandemic, focus less on roles – which group unrelated skills – than on the skills needed to drive the organization’s competitive advantage and the workflows that fuel this advantage.”

Skills are critical because they address core business challenges, with the competencies needed in a workforce to overcome those challenges. Roles, on the other hand, describe the way individual members of a workforce relate to an overall organizational structure or hierarchy. We’ve certainly seen this trend gestating for some time, with the move towards more “flat” organizational structures as opposed to strictly hierarchical teams with a direct reporting, chain-of-command approach to communication and problem-solving.

By focussing on skills, businesses address the fact that solving problems and answering their core business questions is the key to driving innovation and success within information-age enterprises.

From the worker’s point of view, focusing on developing their skills, rather than further developing their abilities to carry out their role, leaves them better positioned to capitalize on new career opportunities. This shift in focus from roles to skills is likely to be a key trend for both organizations and workers during 2022.

Employee monitoring and analytics

Controversial though it may be, research shows that employers are increasingly investing in technology designed to monitor and track the behavior of their employees in order to drive efficiency. Platforms such as Aware that allow businesses to monitor behavior across email and tools such as Slack in order to measure productivity, are being seen as particularly useful by managers overseeing remote workforces.

It builds on functionality created by earlier products such as Hitachi’s Business Microscope that tracked movements of staff around physical office blocks and could be used to monitor, among other things, how often bathroom breaks were taken, and which workers spend the most amount of time talking to others as opposed to sitting at their workstation.

Of course, it seems that it would be easy for companies to use these tools in a way that would be seen as overbearing or intrusive by their workers, and in my opinion, that would clearly be a recipe for disaster. However, ostensibly at least, the idea is to use them to gain broad oversights into workforce behavior rather than focus on individuals’ activity and use them as tools for enforcing discipline.

Companies that invest in this technology have a fine line to tread, and it remains to be seen whether the net effect will be a boost to productivity or a “chilling effect” on individual freedoms. If it’s the latter, it’s unlikely to end well for the companies involved. However, for better or worse, it seems likely that this kind of technology will play an increasingly large role in the workplace during 2022.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Bernard Marr is an internationally best-selling author, popular keynote speaker, futurist, and a strategic business & technology advisor to governments and companies. He helps organizations improve their

Source: Future Of Work: The 5 Biggest Workplace Trends In 2022

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More Contents:

Women’s Bureau (WB) – Quick Facts on Women in the Labor Force in 2010

Employment by major industry sector

About the difference, in English, between the use/meaning of workforce/work force and labor/labour/labo(u)r pool

Predicting job performance: A comparison of expert opinion and research findings

House of Reps seals ‘death’ of WorkChoices

Overview of Independent Contractor Guidelines

Report to the Legislature of the State of New York by the Commission appointed under Chapter 518 of the laws of 1909 to inquire into the question of employers’ liability and other matters

Jobs, growth and poverty: what do we know, what don’t we know, what should we know

Work-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes: Preventing Injury to Young Drivers

Can Employment Reduce Lawlessness and Rebellion? A Field Experiment with High-Risk Men in a Fragile State

Why Workplace Democracy Can Be Good Business

Jobs, growth and poverty: what do we know, what don’t we know, what should we know?

Why Workplace Democracy Can Be Good Business

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