Dozens of jobs created in Newcastle after mobile banking firm Pockit moves into city


A challenger bank has created 30 jobs in Newcastle after opening an office in the city centre.

London headquartered Pockit, which provides bank accounts for people with poor credit scores, has opened a new base in Newcastle as part of its expansion plans.

The fintech firm has already recruited 30 to work in its North East office and is looking to double its headcount soon.

Pockit’s CEO and founder, Virraj Jatania, said the business decided to set up shop in Newcastle because of its access to a highly skilled talent pool and its growing reputation as a centre for tech firms.

He said: “Our decision to set up an office Newcastle and join their thriving and fast-growing fintech community was down to the collaborative nature of the business community, its ability to attract and retain talent and reputation as a place to grow a tech business.

“We were quickly able to set up our offices and hire a skilled high-performing team. We have a high number of customers from the north of the UK, which also added value and the talent pool of graduates from Newcastle’s two major universities and the city’s quality of life were decisive points when we compared the city with other locations.”

Pockit’s new office has been opened in one of HiveTree’s commercial properties. HiveTree has a number of locations around Newcastle and is aiming to create a cluster of community-drive, tech focused workspaces.



The fintech firm has joined HiveTree’s cluster of North East tech firms

Pockit was able to carry out its expansion plans after securing £15m of investment during 2020. This included £15m raised through a Series B funding round from existing and new investors, as well as almost £1.4m which was raised through crowdfunding.

Mr Jatania said: “Launching a crowdfunding campaign has been an ambition of ours for some time and the time to accelerate is right now; the Covid recession and the end of furlough schemes will disproportionately affect the financially underserved. Some 12 million people in the UK need a solution urgently, and we believe Pockit is that solution. We look forward to growing and supporting people from our brand-new offices in Newcastle.”

The company’s move to the North East was supported by Invest Newcastle, which promotes inward investment to the city.

“Invest Newcastle have supported us on throughout our journey, assisting with our business case, signposting us to local funding opportunities, identifying strategic business opportunities and making vital introductions. The team have been helpful and are a great source of local knowledge and support,” added Mr Jatania.

Jennifer Hartley, director of Invest Newcastle and Dynamo Advisory Board member, said: “We are delighted that Pockit will be joining our forward-thinking and ambitious business community.

“We are home to a thriving digital and tech ecosystem and now more than ever we need to build our economy around our strengths – creating jobs, retaining talent, and positioning our city as a career destination. Our unique eco-system, talent and experienced and supportive business community is helping us to reimagine our new world.



Pockit provides bank accounts for those with poor credit history
Pockit provides bank accounts for those with poor credit history

“Over the last year we have had notable successes in attracting investment, despite the uncertainty of Brexit and the impact of coronavirus. This move from Pockit, further highlights our city’s digital strengths and that you do not need to be in London to have an exciting and ambitious tech career. “

The move has also been welcomed by Newcastle City Council.

Coun Ged Bell, cabinet member for employment and culture at Newcastle City Council, said: “This new investment in Newcastle is testament to the confidence businesses have in our city as a place to locate and grow their business and we cannot wait to watch Pockit grow and thrive here.

“Inward Investment plays a vital role in the creation of jobs and opportunities for those who live and work here. We are confident this will be the first of many businesses choosing Newcastle as we start the new year and work towards economic recovery.”

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Report: Biden killed 52K American jobs on day 1 in office


Joe Biden holds up a mask as Kamala Harris looks on during an event at the State Dining Room of the White House January 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 4:40 PM PT – Thursday, January 21, 2021

During his first day in office, Joe Biden killed around 52,000 American jobs and cut billions in wages as the country continues to struggle with staggering unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Republicans from Alaska to Washington have already called the Biden administration’s agenda into question after he pulled the brakes on major sources for American energy.

“He rejoined the Paris climate agreement, putting the United States back in a position to exercise global leadership,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. “And advancing the objectives of the ambitious agreement.”

On Thursday, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel slammed Biden’s decision to undo President Trump’s efforts to put American workers first. McDaniel took to Twitter to point out several moves Biden has already made that put Americans on the backburner. These include canceling the Keystone XL pipeline and rejoining the Paris climate agreement.

McDaniel said these moves show that Biden started his administration by putting the American worker, American unions and American energy prices last.

According to reports, blocking construction of the Keystone XL pipeline will cost 10,000 American jobs and take $2.2 billion in payroll out of American workers’ pockets. This fact is highlighted by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who said the order will stifle economic growth.

Portman was among the first to respond to Biden’s environmental orders, urging him to reconsider.

 

Alaska’s governor also criticized Biden for putting a quick stop to oil development projects in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

On Wednesday, almost immediately after Biden announced the temporary ban on oil and gas activities in the region, Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R-Alaska) released a statement.

He said the state practices responsible development, adding if the current administration intends to make good on Biden’s campaign promises to stop drilling on federal lands, Alaskans’ economic future will be in danger.

Dunleavy concluded by stating he will use every resource possible to fight for his constituents’ right to a job and their ability to pursue every opportunity.

Meanwhile, in his press conference Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy made it clear Republicans do not see these orders as moves in the direction of “unity.”

“You can’t achieve that [unity] if your focus is more on the Paris Accord, ending the Keystone pipeline,” he said. “Those are not the achievements that I think America wants to see out of Washington and unity.”

Moving forward, Republican lawmakers are calling for a review of the U.S.’s involvement in the Paris Climate Agreement, arguing Biden needs two-thirds support from the Senate to rejoin the international treaty.

MORE NEWS: Sen. McConnell: Biden Admin. Taking Big Steps In Wrong Direction



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Significant drop in unemployment rate. Sign of economic recovery?

Australia might be on the verge of economic recovery as the country’s unemployment rate has dropped to 6.6 per cent. This is from the fact that 30,000 more Australians found work in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recent data disclosed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed that for the number of employed people in the country was a figure 784,000 in December 2020 which was much higher that how the figure was in May.

That being said, amid this dramatic recovery, the total number of employed people was still low year-on-year due to the major layoffs caused by COVID-19.

Head of labor statistics at the ABA Bjorn Jarvis pointed out “employment finished the year 0.7 per cent below the March level, having fallen 6.7 per cent, or 872,000 people, between March and May.”

He explained, although employment rate seemingly recovered 90 per cent of the fall from March to May, the recovery in part-time employment has been prevalent compared to full-time employment. While part-time employment was higher than March, full-time employment was 1.3 per cent below March.

“The recovery in hours worked has been slower than the recovery in employment.” He said.

On the worst parts of the year, Australia’s unemployment level reached 7.5 per cent in July.

Speculations rise that with the lack of government economic lifelines such as JobKeeper – which opted to retain the formal connection between employer and employee – that figure could easily have reached a high 20 per cent.

On the other hand, Australia’s youth unemployment rate had dropped 1.7 percentage points to 13.9 per cent in December. However, the youth participation rate also fell to 68.6 per cent.

On the work setting, hours worked by Australians during December’s monthly calculations has increased by 2 million hours to 1.7 billion hours. Which means it is down to 1.5 per cent year-on-year, but up from November 2020.

As Mr. Jarvis concluded “The rise in the participation rate reflects a net increase of around 20,000 people in the labor force in December. There were 108,000 more people in the labor force than in March – 196,000 more unemployed people and 88,000 fewer employed people.”

They Did Their Jobs Well


As the Trump Presidency ends in the disgrace of the Capitol riot, an effort is already underway to erase everything in the last four years as disgraceful too. That’s a lie—a Big Lie, to borrow the cliché of the moment. Donald Trump’s profound character flaws need to be separated from what so many people in his Administration accomplished for the country.

These men and women didn’t “enable” Donald Trump. Sixty-three million Americans did that when they elected him in 2016, with a significant assist from the Democrats who nominated Hillary Clinton, perhaps the only candidate who could have lost to Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump appointed people who had the usual varying combinations of conviction and ambition. They served despite the hostility of the bureaucracy and press, and a President who often didn’t appreciate their work. Sometimes—in some cases, often—they protected the country by stopping Mr. Trump from his worst impulses.

We can’t list everyone who contributed, but before the Biden Presidency begins we thought we’d link some of those who did their jobs well with the successful policies they promoted. We’ve already saluted Betsy DeVos at Education and Ajit Pai at the Federal Communications Commission. Here’s a sample of other significant people and policies:

Larry Kudlow, Kevin Hassett, Casey Mulligan, Gary Cohn, and others on the economic team. The pandemic-lockdown recession has obscured that the pre-Covid U.S. economy was the strongest since the 1990s. Unlike the Obama years, the benefits of growth were widely dispersed, wage gains were strongest for the least skilled, and poverty saw its sharpest decline in decades.

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Can Intel’s ‘boy wonder’ pull a Steve Jobs?


Pat Gelsinger left Intel Corp. more than a decade ago, when it was clear he would not become CEO after 30 years at the company.

On Wednesday, he finally got his dream job, but faces quite a task in returning the chip giant to the glory days of which he was a part.

Gelsinger is leaving his post as chief executive of VMWare Inc.
VMW,
-6.79%
to take over his former employer at perhaps the most critical juncture in Intel’s INTC long and storied history. Its once industry-leading manufacturing has fallen behind, an activist investor is demanding change, and it is the target of numerous shareholder lawsuits.

More from Therese: How did Intel lose its Silicon Valley crown?

Gelsinger started his career at Intel at age 18, and during his 30-year tenure, he said in a note to employees, he “had the honor to be mentored at the feet of” Intel co-founders Bob Noyce, Gordon Moore and Andy Grove. He eventually became the company’s first chief technology officer in 2000, and held other executive positions, only to leave in 2009 to go to EMC Corp., now part of Dell Technologies Inc.
DELL,
-7.19%

“It’s the biggest return of a prodigal son since Steve Jobs went back to Apple
AAPL,
+1.62%,
” Nathan Brookwood, an analyst at Insight64, told MarketWatch.

He was also the architect of the company’s 80486 processor, also known as the 486, for PCs. He has both the engineering credentials and more recently, experience leading an enterprise software company in the cloud computing market. That market — more so than the PC market of Gelsinger’s past — is Intel’s biggest growth area right now, and where its next big battles will begin, as graphics chip maker Nvidia Corp.
NVDA,
+0.35%
has made clear with its plans to purchase of the processor designer, ARM Holdings from Softbank Group Corp.
9984,
+2.82%.

“He is a ‘perfect storm’ CEO for Intel,” Robert Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told MarketWatch. “He has enough knowledge of Intel and of what makes it successful and what Intel needs right now, because of his experience at EMC/VMware.”

As Intel has fallen behind in its manufacturing-process technology, the company has been debating whether or not to outsource some of its manufacturing to the leading contract manufacturer, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp.
TSM,
-3.07%.
Change is expected to be slow, but in general, Gelsinger is seen as a strong hope to return the company to its leadership position.

“We couldn’t think of a better candidate to be Intel’s CEO,” Raymond James analyst Chris Caso said in a note to clients.

That sentiment was widespread, fueling a surge of nearly 8% for Intel shares on Wednesday.

When Gelsinger left Intel in 2009 for EMC Corp., Intel had made a succession of executive changes as part of its well-planned CEO succession moves, and analysts said at the time that it was clear that Gelsinger was not in the running to eventually be named CEO.

Brian Krzanich was named CEO in 2013, but his tenure, though, was far from stellar, and it was under his rein that the company began to have major manufacturing delays. He left in a storm of controversy about a past relationship with another Intel employee, and was ultimately replaced by then-Chief Financial Officer Bob Swan.

From 2019: By choosing Bob Swan, Intel has put the bean counters in charge of Silicon Valley’s most storied tech company

At the time, Gelsinger’s name surfaced as the perfect candidate to return to Intel, having been outside the company for awhile, one who would also combine past insider knowledge, but he said then he was not interested in the job.

Gelsinger is now arriving at the right time. Intel needed Swan to clean up the mess created by Krzanich, and now it needs Gelsinger to establish a new path.

“[Krzanich] broke so much stuff, Intel went from having a two-year tech lead to being behind three years,” Enderle said. He said the situation is similar to what the U.S. is going through right now, transitioning to President-elect Biden, a previous vice president and senator “who understands the plumbing of the country.”

“Gelsinger is like a top race car driver, and Bob Swan was like the mechanic,” he said. “They needed Swan to fix the plumbing, get the company operating again, and get a top driver to fix the rest.

See also: Biden inherits a tech Cold War with China after Trump ratcheted up the battle

He added that Krzanich also killed Intel’s Developer Forum, (IDF), a developer conference created by Gelsinger in his time there that was valuable for both getting input and creating a relationship with industry developers, a concept Nvidia has used to create support around its CUDA platform.

When he was at Intel, Gelsinger was often referred to as “the boy wonder,” because of his rise up in the ranks at a young age, where he impressed the tough and famously paranoid former Intel CEO Andy Grove. Gelsinger’s ties to Grove and earnest appreciation for his leadership should help improve morale at Intel, which has struggled under Swan, its first CEO who did not come from the Intel family.

Now the big question is what will Gelsinger do about Intel’s manufacturing situation. It is likely that, having been an old-school Intel executive, Gelsinger may lean toward expanding its current hybrid approach, keeping most of Intel’s manufacturing in-house, but perhaps outsourcing more. But he will also have new ideas for changes, after being gone from the behemoth for so many years.

Caso put it bluntly. “Gelsinger will not bring a magic bullet to work with him on Feb. 15,” he wrote. “We consider Intel to be on a ‘burning platform,’ analogous to Nokia’s position a decade ago. If Intel decides to fully outsource, they will never again possess transistor dominance, which will make it difficult to maintain their dominant share and margin structure. ”

Read: Regulating Big Tech will be hard, and California is proving it

Brookwood of Insight64 said that another one of Gelsginer’s important tasks will be to stop the drain of engineering talent from the company. “If Gelsinger can stop the loss of tech talent and restore people’s confidence that Intel can be a tech leader again, I think that’s all for the good,” he said.

No matter what Gelsinger does, it is likely he will have greater support from the board and Intel employees than Swan.

“To come back ‘home’ to Intel in the role of CEO during what is such a critical time for innovation, as we see the digitization of everything accelerating, will be the greatest honor of my career,” Gelsinger said in his email.

With his long history at Intel and his engineering credentials, employees will know that Gelsinger means it. After his own previous love-hate relationship with the chip giant, Gelsinger appears to be the leader who can guide Intel out of the mess in which it currently resides.

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No honeymoon for Transport Minister Omar Alghabra as Air Canada slashes 1,900 jobs on his first full day on the job


One day after he was sworn in as Canada’s new transport minister, Mississauga MP Omar Alghabra finds he is confronted by what one industry representative calls “an existential crisis” for the airline sector amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Citing “increased travel restrictions” as it struggles with a persistent and massive decline in passenger traffic, Air Canada announced its latest round of layoffs and route suspensions Wednesday. In a news release, the airline said 1,900 of its workers will lose their jobs as it slashes its remaining capacity by 25 per cent.

As of Jan. 23, the company will shut down all flights to and from airports in six cities: Fredericton, N.B., Gander, Nfld., Goose Bay, Nfld., Yellowknife, N.W.T., Kamloops, B.C. and Prince Rupert B.C. Routes between Quebec City and Toronto and St. John’s and Toronto will also be among others suspended “until further notice,” the company said.

The cuts bring overall capacity of Canada’s largest airline to “about 20 per cent what Air Canada operated” at this time two years ago, the company said.

The announcement landed on Alghabra’s first full day on the job, and is the latest bit of turbulence for Canada’s airline industry as it presses the federal government for more help to cope with the collapse of air travel during the pandemic.

In a statement to the Star, Alghabra’s spokesperson Allison St-Jean said “we are disappointed by airlines’ decisions to cancel more regional routes,” and that the federal government is “developing a package of assistance” to the industry.

“But before we spend one penny of taxpayer money on airlines, we will ensure that Canadians get their (ticket) refunds, regional communities retain air connections to the rest of Canada, and Canadian air carriers maintain their status as key customers of Canada’s aerospace industry,” St-Jean said.

Mike McNaney, president of the National Airlines Council of Canada that represents major airlines, told the Star that he has heard statements about a coming aid package from Ottawa for months. And while the federal government has created emergency programs to support struggling businesses during the pandemic, McNaney said he still has no idea when the promised airline-specific help will come.

Alghabra now takes over from Quebec MP Marc Garneau as transport minister “in the midst of the most critical, existential crisis the industry has ever faced,” McNaney said.

“If we don’t get this right, then the economic recovery of the country overall will absolutely be undermined,” he added. “The challenges could not be bigger for the new minister.”

Air travel all over the world has collapsed as the deadly coronavirus has infected more than 90 million people and killed almost 2 million, according to the World Health Organization.

In Canada, air traffic plummeted when a global pandemic was declared last March and the federal government started urging people to avoid all “non-essential” travel. The most recent data from Statistics Canada shows air traffic in October 2020 was almost 83 per cent lower than one year earlier.

In May, Air Canada announced it would lay off “about 20,000” of its 38,000 employees, while WestJet — another major Canadian airline — slashed routes last week to more than 80-per-cent below flights in place at this time last year, eliminating the equivalent of another 1,000 full-time jobs.

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The announcement came after the federal government imposed a new requirement for incoming air travellers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a plane to Canada.

McNaney, who had criticized the measure as rushed and confusing, said airlines are scrambling to rebook passengers who can’t get a test within the prescribed time-frame of 72 hours before flying as they do “everything we can” to follow the new rules. While McNaney could not provide numbers, The Canadian Press reported Wednesday that airlines had turned away at least 630 passengers because of the new rules.



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Canada loses more jobs than expected in December, lockdowns darken outlook


FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past a “Help wanted” sign at a retail store in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

January 8, 2021

By Julie Gordon

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada lost more jobs than expected in December, Statistics Canada data showed on Friday, with economists and industry groups warning protracted COVID-19 restrictions across much of the country are darkening the outlook into the first quarter.

Canada lost 62,600 jobs in December, more than double analysts’ expectations of a decline of 27,500, while the unemployment rate edged up to 8.6%, in line with expectations. Employment remains 3.3% below pre-pandemic levels.

Canada’s new COVID-19 cases, meanwhile, now average 7,688 per day, forcing a number of regions across the country to impose harsher restrictions that experts say will further hit employment.

“As cases continue to reach record highs, the prospect of protracted lockdowns loom large over the first quarter,” said Leah Nord, senior director of workforce strategies at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, in a statement.

“We believe that many of the rebound gains of the last seven months are at risk of being lost, signaling a potential return to darker times for Canada’s labor market over the coming months,” she added.

Populous Quebec imposed a curfew earlier this week and extended existing lockdowns through to February, while Ontario on Thursday said it would keep most schools closed for an additional two weeks amid a partial lockdown.

The poor outlook for employment could put pressure on the Bank of Canada to further ease monetary policy, economists said. The central bank has said it could cut record low interest rates further if the economic situation worsens.

The Canadian dollar gave back some of the week’s gain, dipping 0.2% to 1.2713 per U.S. dollar, or 78.66 U.S. cents, while Canada’s S&P/TSX composite index fell 14.84 points, or 0.08%, after notching a record high Thursday as investors bet on a global economic rebound.

The service sector, hit by fresh restrictions on retail, food services, fitness and travel, lost 74,000 jobs, while employment in the goods sector rose by 11,300.

“It’s almost textbook, the decline was almost entirely in accommodation and food services, which lost almost 57,000 jobs,” said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.

Porter added the overall decline was only a fraction of that in March and April, when broad national shutdowns led to more than 3 million job losses.

Part-time employment fell by 99,000 positions, while full-time employment fared better, up by 36,500 jobs, Statscan said. Youth employment slipped in December, with employment of 15-24 year olds remaining 10.5% below pre-pandemic levels.

(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Additional reporting by Steve Scherer, Fergal Smith, Moira Warburton and Nichola Saminather; Editing by Toby Chopra, Kirsten Donovan and Nick Zieminski)



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The Lockdown Jobs Slump – WSJ


Equity markets took in stride Friday’s labor report showing 140,000 job losses in December, and that sounds right. The slump is the clear and unsurprising result of renewed state lockdowns amid the latest Covid-19 surge. But the economy looks poised for a boom in 2021, with another jobs acceleration, once vaccines roll out and the virus emergency subsides.

Leisure and hospitality accounted for the bulk of the job losses (498,000), as states such as Washington, Michigan and Pennsylvania banned indoor dining. California even barred restaurants from serving outdoors amid a broad lockdown that closed most personal services. New unemployment claims in California alone last month totalled more than 710,000.

Yet the jobless rate stayed at 6.7% as most lockdown losses were offset by strong job growth in such industries as manufacturing (38,000), construction (51,000) and even retail (120,500). Employment in residential construction grew by some 57,200 in 2020.

Employment is also up 172,100 year-over-year at big-box retailers like Walmart , Costco and Target . They’ve been growing fast to compete with Amazon . The pandemic shift to online commerce has created 223,200 new jobs in couriers and 103,500 in warehouses over the last year. Most new jobs tied to online commerce aren’t going away once the virus ebbs.

Payrolls were also revised up 135,000 for October and November, which underscores the strong job growth before states tightened business restrictions. Permanent layoffs also fell 348,000 last month while temporary layoffs increased 277,000, which suggests plans to rehire workers once restrictions ease.

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Jobs picture turns negative and there’s more bad news to come, economists warn


Article content continued

A weaker labour market could factor into other economic statistics as well. The latest jobs report “offers the first concrete piece of evidence that the Canadian economy likely contracted in December,” said Nikita Perevalov, director of economic forecasting at Bank of Nova Scotia, in a report on Friday.

And COVID-19’s drag on the economy is poised to have longer-lasting effects.

The workforce participation rate dipped in December by 0.2 percentage points, to 64.9 per cent. The drop in labour force participation rates was “mostly comprised of male youth and working women, likely frustrated by the job search and staying home to take care of suddenly homebound children, respectively,” according to Leah Nord, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s senior director of workforce strategies and inclusive growth.

“The enduring impacts of the increasingly long-term unemployed and workforce drop-outs will cast a long shadow upon the recovery, as re-entry into what will assuredly be a very different labour market presents significant obstacles,” Nord added in a statement.

A recent report from Royal Bank of Canada’s economics unit found that, between February and October, 20,600 women “fell out” of the country’s workforce. Meanwhile, moves like Ontario’s recent extension of online learning for elementary school students will weigh on working parents.

“This trend of increasing employment that we saw through till November, we wouldn’t expect it to return anytime soon,” Nord said in an interview.

• Email: gzochodne@postmedia.com | Twitter:



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