‘COVID-zero’ China, jobs galore, and a woman rises as Cuomo falls

We gather the numbers to know from the week’s biggest economic news stories so you can impress your friends.

Both Elcy Gomez (left) and her daughter, Mariela Alfaro Serna (right), have struggled to make ends meet through informal work during the coronavirus pandemic in Bogota, Colombia, as many women in Latin America see the economic gains they made over the past three decades erased during the COVID-19 crisis [Megan Janetsky/Al Jazeera]

Bitcoin seems to be once again closing in on $50,000, Turkey’s central bank has resisted calls from the president to cut its interest rate and the administration of United States President Joe Biden wants OPEC+ to turn on the oil taps, like, yesterday.

Phew. It’s been a big week for business and economic news, so if you’re in the August doldrums and haven’t been reading closely, fear not. We have everything you need to know to impress yourself and your friends — then enjoy your weekend.


The number of visitors to Shenzhen’s Window of the World on a recent day — down from an average of 10,000 per day pre-pandemic.

The theme park, which features miniature versions of world monuments like the Eiffel Tower, Stonehenge, and the Sydney Opera House, is just one tourist attraction that has turned into a virtual ghost town as COVID-19 fears once again grip China.

Al Jazeera’s Michael Standaert has more on how the second-biggest travel month of the year has instead ground to a standstill thanks to China’s “COVID-zero” strategy. Read the full story here.

Shenzhen’s Window of the World, a popular theme park with miniature versions of famous attractions from around the globe, is largely deserted now compared to 2019, when it attracted around four million visitors, according to the Themed Entertainment Association [Photo courtesy of Michael Standaert]

5.3 million

The number of barrels per day (bpd) the International Energy Agency sees global oil demand rising by, a downward revision that reflects growing concerns about the economic impact of the Delta variant of the coronavirus and new lockdowns in China, which is the world’s largest oil importer.

The timing could not be worse for members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies – a grouping known as OPEC+ – which agreed to open the taps to the tune of 400,000 bpd each month starting in August.

But the US, which has called on OPEC+ to boost production now to drive down petrol prices at the pump, stands to gain. We break down what you need to know here.

House cleaner Rosa Beltran is one of the many women in Latin America who make their living through informal work — and for whom the coronavirus pandemic has worsened already difficult and unequal labour conditions [Megan Janetsky/Al Jazeera]

17 percent

The average gender wage gap per hour worked in Latin America before the pandemic – and it’s likely gotten worse.

Women in the region are falling further behind as COVID-19 exacerbates historic inequities, makes the informal work many rely on more precarious and erases the hard-won economic gains they’ve already made.

Al Jazeera’s Megan Janetsky spoke to women in Bogota, Colombia who clean houses, care for children and perform other informal work about how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted every aspect of their lives. Read the full story here.

10.1 million

The record-breaking number of US job openings in June, a sign that American consumers are back to dining out, staying in hotels and spending money at other service-industry businesses. Some 3.9 million Americans quit their jobs the same month. That’s a lot of goodbye cakes — and a signal of how confident people are feeling about their employment prospects as the economy recovers from COVID-19.

But as the Delta variant rages in parts of the US, the prospect of new restrictions on gatherings and businesses looms. We’ve got a snapshot of what you need to know about the US labour market here.

New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will formally take over for Governor Andrew Cuomo on August 24, making her the US state’s first female governor [File: Hans Pennink/AP Photo]


The number of Fortune 500 companies that are currently run by women. And while that’s a record, it shows corporations still have miles to go before hitting gender parity in the C-suite. Ditto for the US government, where only 143 out of 535 members of Congress are women, and eight out of 50 states are currently led by female governors.

On August 24, that number will jump to nine, however, when Kathy Hochul, New York’s lieutenant governor, officially takes over from Andrew Cuomo, who resigned this week after he was accused of harassing 11 women in a report released by the US state’s attorney general.

Hochul isn’t the first woman to shatter the glass ceiling after her predecessor’s fall from grace. Al Jazeera’s Anna Davies has more on the women who rose to the top after scandals engulfed their male predecessors here.

Source: Al Jazeera