5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: March 30

As the saying goes, the news never stops. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories impacting American workplaces and communities.

1. Report Shows Antisemitism Rose in 2022

Research from the Anti-Defamation League shows that antisemitic incidents rose 30% last year compared to 2021.

The anti-hate and anti-bias advocacy organization said there were 3,697 antisemitic incidents in 2022, the highest total since the Anti-Defamation League started tracking these incidents in 1979. Antisemitic vandalism also increased in 2022 by 51%.

The ADL reports that there were 111 attacks against Jewish people last year, with Orthodox Jews being targeted in 59 of those cases. Additionally, 589 incidents targeted Jewish institutions, with synagogues being the primary target.

Learn more about how employers can shut down antisemitic comments in the workplace.

 2. WHO Considers Adding Eli Lilly Obesity Treatment to “Essential Medicines” List

 The World Health Organization (WHO) is considering adding obesity treatments to its list of essential medicines, which could benefit pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Co. (No. 5 on Fair360, formerly DiversityInc’s 2022 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list).

The list guides purchasing decisions for low- and middle-income countries. An updated list is expected in September.

The WHO panel may reject the request to include obesity treatments or ask for more information. If chosen, the decision to be included on the list would impact Lilly’s Mounjaro drug and could bolster the company’s stock.

3. Research: Demographic Trends, Fear of COVID & “Long COVID” Illness Contribute to US Labor Shortfall

New research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the University of Maryland shows that most of the decline in U.S. labor force participation over the past three years was due to demographic and other trends that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that the growth in the number of workers may not ease the tight American job market.

After accounting for factors such as an aging population and changes in education that affect people’s willingness to work, the study found that the U.S. labor force participation was only about 0.3 percentage points below where it would have been without the pandemic, which equals approximately 700,000 “missing” workers. The remaining gap is due to the fear of COVID-19 or the long-term effects of “long COVID” illness.

The average hours worked per week have also declined, which the study suggests could reflect a re-evaluation of the balance between work and personal life.

Subscribe to Fair360 Enterprise to learn more about the impact of COVID on the workplace, health equity and more.

4. United Airlines Invests $15 Million in Carbon Capture Start Up

United Airlines (No. 38 on Fair360, formerly DiversityInc’s 2022 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) is investing $15 million in Svante, a carbon capture start up developing technology for capturing and compressing CO2.

The startup plans to use the funds to manufacture carbon capture filters in Vancouver on a commercial scale. The captured CO2 could potentially be used to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) or be sequestered underground.

United’s Sustainable Flight Fund supports SAF startups and R&D. Airlines and aircraft manufacturers are under tremendous pressure to decarbonize. SAFs are seen as a short- to medium-term way to reduce aviation emissions. However, SAF production needs to increase notably and quickly to have a significant impact.

United aims to go emissions-free by 2050 without using carbon offsets. The company is focusing on SAFs because battery technology and hydrogen are still in their early days and facing significant headwinds.

5. UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report Finds Regression in Film Representation and Inclusion

The latest UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report revealed a regression in representation and inclusion in film since the racial reckoning of 2020, as diversity gains in theatrical releases have “melted away.”

The report focused on the 200 highest-grossing English-language releases worldwide and the top 100 original streaming movies ranked by total U.S. household rating.

While streaming movies showed gender parity among lead characters and had less than 70% white casts, the representation of people of color, women and directors of color in theatrical releases fell back to 2019 levels.

The report also found that disabled actors were underrepresented in onscreen roles, with no more than 10% of leads and 5% of all onscreen roles comprising disabled actors. The report highlights the importance of diversity, stating that audiences of color are the bedrock of Hollywood and that diversity is not a luxury but a necessity.