A coronavirus-led demand shock has seen oil prices collapse in 2020, with strict public health measures coinciding with curtailed travel and economic activity.An easing of lockdown measures in the third quarter helped global oil demand to improve, but OPEC now fears a surge in the number of reported Covid-19 cases could derail an expected recovery.“As new COVID-19 infection cases continued to rise during October in the US and Europe, forcing governments to re-introduce a number of restrictive measures, various fuels including transportation fuel are thought to bear the brunt going forward,” OPEC said. LONDON — OPEC on Wednesday trimmed its global oil demand forecasts for the remainder of this year and 2021, citing a weaker-than-expected economic outlook and a surge in coronavirus cases.In a closely watched report, the group of oil-producing nations said it now expects world oil demand to contract by around 9.8 million barrels per day year over year in 2020. That reflects a downward revision of 0.3 million barrels from last month’s assessment.For next year, OPEC said oil demand growth will rise by 6.2 million on an annual basis, representing a downward revision of another 0.3 million barrels from its October report. The group has steadily lowered its oil demand outlook for 2021 from an initial expectation of 7 million in July.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – International benchmark Brent crude futures traded at $44.84 a barrel on Wednesday afternoon, up around 2.8%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures stood at $42.52, also 2.8% higher.Both oil contracts were on pace to record their third consecutive positive trading session after hopes of an effective coronavirus vaccine continued to bolster market sentiment.Pfizer and BioNTech said Monday that early results showed their vaccine candidate was more than 90% effective in preventing Covid infections. It is hoped a safe and effective vaccine could help bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 1.27 million lives.Huge challenges remain before a Covid-19 vaccine can be rolled out, but energy markets have cheered the news.Looking further ahead, OPEC warned “risks remain” with regard to oil demand.“Ongoing developments in the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to dominate a recovery amid the latest news relating to a potential imminent vaccine,” the group said.“The structural impact of the pandemic on various sectors, especially the transportation sector, will linger well into 2021.” – Advertisement – Paul Putnam, 53, a rancher and independent contract pumper walks past a pump jack in Loving County, Texas, November 25, 2019.Angus Mordant | Reuters “These downward revisions mainly take into account downward adjustments to the economic outlook in OECD economies due to COVID-19 containment measures, with the accompanying adverse impacts on transportation and industrial fuel demand through mid-2021,” OPEC said in the report.The report comes ahead of the group’s Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 meeting with non-OPEC allies to discuss the next phase of oil production policy.The energy alliance, a grouping known collectively as OPEC+, had agreed to a record supply cut of 9.7 million bpd starting on May 1. The cut was subsequently scaled back to 7.7 million in August and OPEC+ has said it plans further tapering next year.‘Risks remain’- Advertisement – Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries – OPEC logo is seen on the organisations’ headquarters in Vienna, Austria.Jakub Porzycki | NurPhoto | Getty Images
UMBC, Vermont put streaks on line SAVVY SENIORS: Vermont’s Anthony Lamb, Stef Smith and Everett Duncan have collectively accounted for 54 percent of the team’s scoring this season, including 48 percent of all Catamounts points over the last five games.CREATING OFFENSE: K.J. Jackson has either made or assisted on 49 percent of all Maryland-Baltimore County field goals over the last three games. Jackson has 23 field goals and 13 assists in those games.STREAK SCORING: Vermont has won its last five home games, scoring an average of 78.6 points while giving up 53.8.ASSIST-TO-FG RATIO: The Catamounts have recently used assists to create baskets more often than the Retrievers. Vermont has 47 assists on 81 field goals (58 percent) over its previous three contests while Maryland-Baltimore County has assists on 30 of 73 field goals (41.1 percent) during its past three games.DID YOU KNOW: The Vermont defense has allowed only 58.4 points per game to opponents this season, ranking the Catamounts fifth among Division I teams. The Maryland-Baltimore County offense has averaged 68.3 points through 27 games (ranked 239th, nationally). ___For more AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25___This was generated by Automated Insights, http://www.automatedinsights.com/ap, using data from STATS LLC, https://www.stats.com Associated Press Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditMaryland-Baltimore County (13-14, 6-6) vs. Vermont (22-6, 12-1)Roy L Patrick Gymnasium, Burlington, Vermont; Saturday, 7 p.m. ESTBOTTOM LINE: Vermont looks for its 13th straight conference win against Maryland-Baltimore County. Maryland-Baltimore County’s last America East loss came against the Stony Brook Seawolves 74-63 on Feb. 1. Vermont is coming off a 63-54 win over Stony Brook in its most recent game. February 21, 2020
This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.Within 10 years, at its current growth rate, the majority of the US workforce will be freelancers. Think about that for a second (or a minute): It has major ramifications for our economy, politics, culture.This startling stat comes from “Freelancing in America: 2017” (FIA), a comprehensive study from freelancing website Upwork and our own Freelancers Union.FIA estimates that already more than one-third of the US workforce are currently freelancing (57 million Americans) and contribute approximately $1.4 trillion annually to the economy — a nearly 30% jump since last year.This includes almost half of all working Millennials, more than any other generation.The freelance workforce grew at a rate 3x faster than the US workforce overall since 2014 — and 59% of them started freelancing within just the last 3 years.This coincides with a growing corporate trend of converting traditional full-time jobs into freelance gigs. According to a recent survey by the global HR services company Randstad, “More than half of global human capital leaders expect to transfer one-third of their permanent positions to contingent roles in the near future.”SCORE, a nonprofit partner of the Small Business Administration that provides free mentoring and education, sees a similar trend for small businesses.From its own recent report: “While the number of firms that employ full-time workers has remained relatively flat, non-employer businesses (also called ‘solopreneurs’) have been increasing. There has also been a marked increase in the ‘gig economy,’ which describes the use of contractors and part-time workers to fill roles within businesses.” Nearly 20% of businesses surveyed reported replacing employees (of any type) with contractors over the previous six months.As you might imagine these trends are a major factor contributing to the explosion of coworking in recent years. By some estimates there are roughly 14,000 coworking spaces in at least 100 countries. Membership in my own coworking venture, BEAHIVE, has grown since I opened in Beacon, NY, in 2009 — steadily at first and more briskly in the last couple of years, mirroring both these global workforce shifts and local demographic shifts.”We are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution — a period of rapid change in work driven by increasing automation, but we have a unique opportunity to guide the future of work and freelancers will play more of a key role than people realize,” says Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork and co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Council on the Future of Gender, Education and Work.And yet… policies, budget decisions, and economic development initiatives aren’t typically considering freelancers and so-called solopreneurs. A majority of them work from home, isolated.In exurban areas like my own Hudson Valley, there’s a noticeable lack of resources catering to them — mentoring, training, networking and social support (which I try to address through BEAHIVE).Other notable findings from the FIA report:54% of the U.S. workforce is not very confident that the work they do today is likely to exist in 20 years.Freelancers update their skills more often and believe they’re better prepared for the future. 65% of full-time freelancers say they’re updating their skills as jobs evolve, versus only 45% of full-time employees.Main drivers of freelancing for full-time freelancers are freedom and flexibility, with part-time freelancers driven by earning extra money as well as flexibility.Freelancers increasingly think having a diversified portfolio of clients is more secure than one employer (63% agree, up 10 points since 2016) and have an average 4.5 clients per month.Freelancers and non-freelancers share most of the same list of top concerns, which includes access to affordable healthcare, debt and ability to save.That said, freelancers have a unique top concern — income predictability. Freelancers therefore dip into their savings more often, with 63% of full-time freelancers dipping into savings at least once per month versus only 20% of full-time non-freelancers.Freelancers are seeking a voice, beyond political affiliation — 72% are open to crossing party lines if a candidate indicated that they supported freelancer interests.We need our leaders to adapt to this changing landscape.We need to rethink outdated approaches to economic development, which often focus on attracting and retaining large out-of-region businesses and giving them tax breaks. Politicians like to herald these projects — and the often-elusive (or low-paying) jobs and tax revenues that will follow — with photo ops and press releases.While such projects may help their careers, they do little for the communities they serve.A version of this post originally appeared as an op-ed in the Poughkeepsie Journal.Scott Tillitt is a connector — of dots and people. Throughout his 20-plus year career he has been a strategist, publicist, marketer, social entrepreneur, nonprofit leader, and writer. He’s the founder of BEAHIVE, a coworking community, and Antidote Collective, projects and consulting for social impact.