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GZERO Media

What We're Watching: Truckers wanted & not-so-cheap chips

Where are all the truck drivers?

The global truck driver shortage has been disrupting already-out-of-whack supply chains, particularly in the US, the European Union, and Britain – further complicating their post-pandemic economic recoveries. Last year, the American Truckers Association said it was around 80,000 drivers short, while in Europe, a deficit of 40,000 truckers has contributed to long waits and empty shelves. What’s going on? The pandemic has upended the way we work. Trucking is an arduous and ungratifying gig: Drivers often spend days or weeks far away from home, and they don’t get paid for hours spent waiting for goods to be loaded and unloaded. The road can be grueling, the compensation is underwhelming, and the benefits are often … nonexistent. In the US, trucking salaries have plunged in recent decades. Median wages for truck drivers in 1980 were about $110,000 annually (adjusted for inflation); in 2020, they were just $47,130. Unsurprisingly, many truckers are opting for jobs with better conditions and pay, so trucking firms in Europe and the US are struggling to lure drivers back to work and recruit new staff. It’s particularly grim in the UK, where supply side frictions have been exacerbated by Brexit. In the US, meanwhile, companies like Walmart are fighting back by offering massive salary hikes to attract truck drivers. Will it get the wheels turning?

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GZERO Media

The Graphic Truth: The great supply chain squeeze

The pandemic sent global supply chains into a tizzy. Then, just as economies were embarking on their post-COVID economic recoveries, Russia invaded Ukraine, upending the global grain trade and sending supply chains spiraling further. Supply chain frictions have a lot of unintended consequences: Brexit-related supply chain issues made it hard for some Brits to get their hands on a pint of beer, while China’s punitive zero-COVID policy drove the auto industry – among others – into a full-blown crisis. We take a look at the Global Supply Chain Index from 2000-2022 along with key global economic milestones.

Ian Bremmer: Global Middle Class Erosion Making People Hungrier — And Angrier | GZERO Media

Ian Bremmer: Global middle class erosion making people hungrier — and angrier

Until recently, global development had been defined by globalization, especially when it comes to a growing middle class and poverty reduction.

Not anymore, Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer said during a livestream conversation about the global food crisis hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Why We’re in the Current Food Crisis — And Who Could Fix It | Hunger Pains | GZERO Media

Why we're in the current food crisis — and who could fix it

Sylvain Charlebois knows a thing or two about food. He's a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, and tweets as @FoodProfessor. So, what does he think about the current global food crisis?

It started two years ago, when COVID disrupted supply chains, but the acute shortages that are driving up prices are more recent, he explained in a conversation for GZERO with Diana Fox Carney, Senior Advisor at Eurasia Group.

Why? Charlebois cites climate issues that hurt inventories, higher shipping costs due to the COVID hangover of weakened supply chains, Russia's war in Ukraine pushing prices up across the board, and "nationalistic hoarding" of staples by certain countries.

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Introducing GZERO's Coverage on Hunger Pains: The Growing Global Food Crisis | GZERO Media

Introducing GZERO's coverage on Hunger Pains: the growing global food crisis

The world is on the brink of a crisis that could push more than a billion people towards starvation. A crisis that could upend governments, roil global markets, and rattle households around the world.

The pandemic has scrambled food supply chains, raising costs for everyone. Droughts and floods tied to climate change have hampered harvests around the world. And Russia’s war with Ukraine has made it all worse.

Today, the world faces the sharpest “hunger pains” since the end of World War 2.

GZERO Media’s special coverage of the ongoing food crisis takes you deeper into the story.

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Models of oil barrels and a pump jack are displayed in front of a rising stock graph

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

What We're Watching: Soaring oil prices, inching towards an Iran nuclear deal

Rising energy crisis? Barely a week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, energy prices are going up faster than most experts predicted. Brent oil rose above $119 a barrel on Thursday, while Dutch natural gas futures — the benchmark for Europe — were trading at the equivalent of $360 per crude barrel. What’s more, prices are already soaring before Western sanctions have targeted Russian oil and gas, which could provoke Moscow into cutting off supplies to Europe. Why is this happening? Demand for Russian commodities has plummeted over fears that the next wave of sanctions will include energy. This week, the US and 30 other countries announced the release of 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserves to stop the bleeding, but that won’t be enough if the Russians turn off the tap. Will the Europeans continue supporting tough sanctions when their citizens start complaining about the cost of electricity bills and gas at the pump?

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Ian Bremmer Explains: How Did We Get to Today's Supply Chain Mess? | GZERO World

How did we get to today's supply chain mess?

The supply chain mess is hitting all of us. Inflation is now the highest it's been in over 30 years.

The costs of food, gas and housing are going through the roof. What's more, almost everything made outside of America is now in short supply — like semiconductors for our cars.

Why is this happening? A lot of it has to do with the pandemic. Asian factories had to shut down or thought there would be less demand for their stuff. So did shipping companies. But then online shopping surged, and now there's a lot of pent-up demand to spend all the cash we saved during COVID.

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The Shipping Container Shortage That’s Wreaking Havoc on the Global Supply Chain | GZERO World

The shipping container shortage that’s wreaking havoc on the global supply chain

Spare a thought for the poor shipping container, responsible for most of the world's trade. It's had a rough year that started with the gargantuan Ever Given getting stuck in the Suez Canal.

Now the Suez traffic jam has gone global.

When the pandemic started, everyone needed COVID supplies from China. Chinese factories couldn't keep up with soaring demand from Western nations, and empty containers started to pile up in faraway ports.

Sending one of these ships from Shanghai to Los Angeles has jumped more than ten-fold from $2,000 to $25,000.

And as demand increases even more, the problem is getting worse — a vicious cycle with no end in sight just as the holidays approach.

Watch this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: Inflation nation: What's driving US prices higher?

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