The past couple of years have been a financial nightmare for millions of Americans who have lost their jobs or homes (or both) and are struggling under mounting debt. But the reality is that for a segment of the population — those who work for minimum wage — even the boom years that preceded the crash have probably not been much easier.via www.mint.com
Microsoft's unprecedented run of burning money online continued last quarter, as the company had an operating loss of $696 million.via www.businessinsider.com
President Barack Obama meets Britain's prime minister, David Cameron, for talks in Washington on July 20th. The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and allegations over the company's involvement in an “oil-for-terrorists” deal with Libya are likely to be on the agenda. BP is under pressure to satisfy government officials that the containment cap placed on the leaking well on July 15th is holding. Using the government task force's upper estimate, as many as 4.4m barrels of oil have escaped into the Gulf. This would make it the largest accidental oil spill in history (military attacks have created far bigger spills). Despite that, this quantity of refined oil is enough to keep America's cars and trucks on the road for just a quarter of a day. BP has spent almost $4 billion on clean-up costs to date, with the eventual total estimated at $39 billion.via www.economist.com
Foreign-born labour: Alien invasionsAs economies across the developed world fell into recession in 2008, legal permanent immigration to the mostly rich members of the OECD declined by 6%, after five years during which growth averaged 11%. Despite the slowdown in the arrival of new migrants, the number of foreign-born workers in most OECD countries rose in 2008 from a year earlier. In 2007 one in every four workers in Australia was born abroad; in 2008 that share rose further, to 26.5%. Among the 18 OECD countries for which 2008 data are available, the share of the foreign-born in the labour force fell only in Luxembourg (not shown), Austria, Belgium and France. The number of foreign-born workers in America rose by 308,000 in 2008, to 25.1m.via www.economist.com
Between 2000 and 2008 health spending per person increased by 4.2% a year on average, according to the latest data from the OECD, a rich countries' club.
Health-care spending: Pass the statins.