STARBUCKS TO HIRE 10,000 REFUGEES GLOBALLY
On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order prohibiting immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries for a minimum of 90 days, and suspending the US refugee program for 120 days. In a response to the president’s ban, Starbucks’s CEO Howard Schultz, has pledged to hire 10,000 refugees globally over the next five years. Mr. Schultz said the president’s order had caused “confusion, surprise and opposition”. He wrote to employees with “deep concern, a heavy heart and a resolute promise”, adding he wanted them to know that the firm would “neither stand by, nor stand silent, as the uncertainty around the new administration’s actions grows with each passing day”. The recruitment pledge was “a common effort to welcome and seek opportunities for those fleeing war, violence, persecution and discrimination”, he said. Starbucks operates more than 25,000 stores in 75 countries worldwide and the recruitment will begin in the US and focus on people who had served or supported the military.
IMPACTS OF TRUPMP’S BAN ON BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY
The impact of President Trump’s immigration ban on tech companies has been immediate. The cause for concern is about skilled immigration, the fuel that keeps Silicon Valley working. The US doesn’t create nearly enough software engineers and developers to sustain these enormous companies, and so foreign brainpower does more than plug the skills gap.“There’s still a massive shortage of talent necessary for our organisations,” said Aaron Levie, chief executive and co-founder of Box, an online storage firm worth just over $2bn. “Any policy that hurts high-skill immigration is a disaster.” The ban affected several of his employees, Mr Levie said. One of its co-founders is of Iranian descent. “We think it’s a very dangerous policy,” Mr Levie continued. Other major firms and personalities in this part of the world spoke out with an enthusiasm some felt was rather too late. Late on Friday, Google’s Sundar Pichai sent a memo to all employees raising his concerns and revealing that more than 100 Google staff were directly affected. His words were quickly spread outside the company’s inboxes and shared worldwide. On Saturday, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, briefly joined protesters at the San Francisco airport. We also heard from Netflix’s Reed Hastings who said the executive order was “so un-American it pains us all”. Disapproval kept coming from every corner. Twitter co-founder and chief executive Jack Dorsey said the repercussions were “real and upsetting”.Apple chief executive Tim Cook told staff the order was “not a policy we support”. “Misguided,” said Microsoft. “Ignores history,” said Mozilla. AirBnB co-founder Brian Chesky offered free housing to anyone caught outside the US, unable to return home. Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick said “this ban will impact many innocent people”, and set up a $3m fund to support staff, including drivers, caught up by the orders.
EUROZONE’S ECONOMIC GROWTH
Eurostat data showed the unemployment rate fell to 9.6% in December, the lowest rate since May 2009. The rate of 9.6% in December was down from 9.7% in November and compares with a rate of 10.5% a year earlier. The countries with the lowest unemployment rates in December were the Czech Republic (3.5%) and Germany (3.9%), while countries with the highest levels of unemployment were Greece (23.0% in October 2016) and Spain (18.4%). The rise in Eurozone’s inflation last month was driven by an 8.1% jump in energy prices in January compared with data from 2016. Furthermore, GDP growth edged up to 0.5% in the final three months of the last year. The European Central Bank’s key job is to maintain “price stability” in the Eurozone, which it interprets as inflation of below but close to 2%. For the last few years it has been wrestling with inflation that its governing council considers too low, at times even below zero, a situation of deflation or falling prices. That has led the bank to choose very unusual policies intended to stimulate prices rises through ultra-low interest rates, one of its rates is negative, and quantitative easing, buying financial assets with newly created money. However, with inflation now at 1.8%, which is pretty much in line with the target, the job is not necessarily done. There are different views in the ECB’s governing council but the majority are not likely to be in a hurry to get policy back to normal. These figures show the Eurozone’s economy is generally giving signs of recovery, but analysts questioned whether the recent improvement could be sustained. “While recent economic news points to improved growth, we suspect the Eurozone may find it difficult to sustain this momentum amid appreciable political uncertainties during 2017 and likely reduced consumer purchasing power due to higher inflation,” said Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight. “Consequently, we suspect that Eurozone GDP growth in 2017 will be no more than 1.6%. We also see growth at 1.6% in 2018.”