Geo-Economics and Politics

Which country has the highest minimum wage? 5 economic stories to read this week

Chinese factory closures, Gen Z financial preferences and Germany's approach to the energy crisis - these are the latest economic stories.

Chinese factory closures, Gen Z financial preferences and Germany's approach to the energy crisis - these are the latest economic stories. Image: Unsplash/Vladislav Klapin

Tom Crowfoot
Writer, Forum Agenda
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  • This weekly round-up brings you key economic stories from the past seven days.
  • Top stories: Highest OECD minimum wages; Cost-of-living crisis increasing poverty; Germany's energy crisis solution; Chinese factory closures; How Gen Z gets financial advice.

1. Which OECD countries have the highest minimum wages?

Minimum wages are a way of stopping the exploitation of workers and helping lower-income families, however, 10% of countries globally do not have a minimum wage, according to the International Labour Organization.

minimum wages countries economic stories legislation
Most countries in the world have minimum wage legislation. Image: International Labour Organization.

In the OECD, Luxembourg ranks the highest for minimum wages, with an hourly minimum of 15.66 euros ($15.87) for skilled workers over 18.

Explore the differences in minimum wages across the OECD.

2. The cost-of-living crisis has pushed 71 million people into poverty - here’s what needs to happen

The Ukraine conflict, the effects of the pandemic and recent droughts and heatwaves have places enormous strain on supplies of food, energy and other essentials. With the rising cost of living pushing millions into poverty, the UN has called for a moratorium on debt repayments so that governments can subsidize food and energy to help citizens.

poverty cost of living economic stories United Nations
The cost of living crisis has pushed 71 million people into poverty, according to the United Nations. Image: UNDP

From debt relief programmes to tax rebates, find out how governments can help lift citizens out of poverty.

Discover

What is the World Economic Forum doing to help ensure global food security?

3. Germany takes new steps to tackle the energy crisis

Many countries rely - or used to rely - on Russian energy imports and Germany is no exception. In 2021, Russia accounted for 55% of Germany's gas imports, this had fallen to 26% by June of this year. The nation has committed to replacing all Russian energy imports by as soon as mid-2024.

So how will this be done? From rapidly importing LNG from elsewhere to extending the lifespan of the nation's three remaining nuclear plants, Germany is taking big steps to end its reliance on Russian energy.

Learn more about Germany's plan to tackle the energy crisis.

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4. China's factories are shutting down again—but not because of COVID

China's factories have been closed a number of times since the start of the pandemic due to lockdowns, but more recently climate change has been the culprit. There have been intense heatwaves and drought across China's south, around the Yangtze river basin.

As a result, water levels behind dams are being depleted, halting electricity generation at hydropower plants. In Sichuan province, around 80% of their energy needs come from hydropower, meaning they have been forced to order factories to stop operations once again.

Factory shutdowns China impact global supply chains economic stories
Heatwaves and droughts are forcing factory shutdowns across China, impacting economic growth. Image: Quartz

The effects of these factory closures will ripple through supply chains. Read more to find out the wider impact.

5. Where does Gen Z go for financial advice?

It might come as no surprise that Gen Z turns to social media for financial advice. Data suggests this generation is almost five times more likely to get financial advice from social media platforms than people aged 41 or over.

'Finfluencers' are a growing trend. Tim Tkachenko, Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder, Qure.Finance, explains that Gen Z shows a lack of trust in old-school financial institutions.

Discover how else Gen Z is different when it comes to taking financial advice.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Geo-Economics and PoliticsEconomic GrowthFinancial and Monetary Systems
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