Record 4.5 million people left their jobs in November. Walmart, Kroger raise at-home test prices. US arrests Colombian ex-military officer in Haiti president slaying.
Great Resignation: Record 4.5 million people left their jobs in November
At the peak of the holiday hiring season, 4.5 million voluntarily left their jobs in November, setting a new monthly record. That’s according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, who released their monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report for November yesterday. Every region of the country reported an uptick in resignations.
The food service and hospitality sector led the field in resignations. Several other sectors were heavily affected, including healthcare and warehouse/manufacturing. While the numbers were high, it appears that most who left their jobs took better compensated work rather leaving the workforce altogether as had been seen in previous months.
Resignations in each of these sectors tell a different and nuanced story. People quitting food service and hospitality jobs in part reflects rising concern over the omicron variant. Workers in these sectors are also in high demand and are seeking better or higher paid jobs within that sector. People in the healthcare sector may be fleeing lower paid, high stress permanent positions to take more lucrative jobs as travel nurses and contractors. High mobility in manufacturing indicates that employers are now paying more to compete in a tight labor pool.
Walmart, Kroger raise prices of at-home tests after White House deal expires
In September, the Biden administration struck deals with major nationwide retailers like Walmart, Amazon and Kroger to sell at-home COVID-19 test kits at cost (about $14) for three months. That deal expired last month. Walmart kept its price at $14 through the holidays, but has now raised it to $19.88 on its website. The price of the same test kit from Kroger rose to $23.99.
Major retailers also seem to be having trouble with supply, with both Walmart and Kroger listing the kits as sold-out on their websites. In Walmart’s case, a spokesperson says the kits are more widely available in stores than online.
The supply deficit and price hikes come at an inopportune time. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are spiking across the US after the holiday season.
The White House has not commented so far. However, last month, Biden said the administration was preparing to ship as many as 500 million free test kits to people who could request them online. Supposedly, they’ll be ready to start shipping them out sometime this month. But, with supply lines already stretched to the limit, test manufacturing is going to have to scale up significantly to meet the expected demand.
US arrests Colombian ex-military officer in Haiti president slaying
Just days after Haiti’s current leader Ariel Henry survived an assassination attempt, the US has filed charges against a man officials say conspired to murder Henry’s predecessor. The Department of Justice has charged Mario Antonio Palacios, 43, with having “participated in a plot to kidnap or kill the Haitian president”. Last July a group of gunman broke into the home of Haitian President Jovenel Moise and murdered him. It appears this was originally a kidnapping plot which went off the rails.
Palacios is a former Colombian military officer. The DOJ alleges that Palacios was among the 20 or so people who actually entered the presidential palace last year. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
But Palacios and the others who assassinated Moise were merely hired mercenaries, mostly from Colombia. The masterminds of the plot remain a mystery.
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