Last Month Today September 2023 in review

The United States economy speeds up faster than that of their Euro counterparts

According to the latest forecasts by central banks, the economic growth in 2023 is significantly faster in the United States than in the Euro region. The numbers, clearly bigger than initially expected, are largely due to the substantial growth that has taken place in private consumption.

While private consumption adds up to almost 70 per cent of U.S. gross domestic product, in the Euro region it is merely a good 50 per cent.

During the pandemic, United States directed its recovery policy especially to households, which were able to accumulate their savings. Now they are spending those savings generously, and that spending is clearly visible in the consumption growth numbers.

In addition, the real income of U.S. households has grown this year while unemployment has remained low. At the same time, inflation has slowed down considerably. All these factors strengthen private consumption, which accelerates economic growth.

In its latest cyclical forecast, the U.S. Central Bank estimates the economy to grow by 2,1 per cent during the year 2023. This latest forecast is significantly better than the previous one, released three months ago and estimating the economy to grow by only 1,0 per cent.

Financial worry is a top driver of anxiety among Gen Z, new EY study finds

Money continues to be a growing concern for Gen Z as financial uncertainty, worry about an uncertain future and distrust of large businesses propels generational anxiety to an all-time high, according to the Ernst & Young 2023 Gen Z Segmentation Study.

“Right now, Gen Z is particularly important as the newest generation of consumers, employees and citizens that will dramatically impact businesses today and into the future,” said Marcie Merriman, EY Americas Cultural Insights & Customer Strategy Leader.

This third iteration of the Gen Z Segmentation Study gathered insights from over 1,500 participants across the US born between roughly 1997 and 2007 (currently aged 16 to 26 years old). The survey aimed to track Gen Z’s personal and professional interests and outlook on mental health, trust, technology, career and lifestyle ambitions.

“Our research has consistently found that mental health is an ongoing challenge for Gen Z,” Merriman said. “As the generation moves into our prime workforce and consumer markets, several shifts are happening simultaneously. The oldest Gen Z are aging out of their parents’ health care plans this year, and they are feeling the impact of financial independence amid economic uncertainty. These factors are shaping their views of work and life and what success looks like.”

Less than a third of Gen Z (31%) feel financially secure, with more than half (52%) saying they are very or extremely worried about not having enough money. Placing importance on making money has consistently increased year-over-year, with 46% of respondents saying it was a top priority compared with 32% in 2021 and 38% in 2019.

Toyota Research Institute unveils breakthrough in teaching robots new behaviors

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) announced a breakthrough generative AI approach based on Diffusion Policy to quickly and confidently teach robots new, dexterous skills. This advancement significantly improves robot utility and is a step towards building “Large Behavior Models (LBMs)” for robots, analogous to the Large Language Models (LLMs) that have recently revolutionized conversational AI.

“Our research in robotics is aimed at amplifying people rather than replacing them,” said Gill Pratt, CEO of TRI and Chief Scientist for Toyota Motor Corporation. “This new teaching technique is both very efficient and produces very high performing behaviors, enabling robots to much more effectively amplify people in many ways.”

Previous state-of-the-art techniques to teach robots new behaviors were slow, inconsistent, inefficient, and often limited to narrowly defined tasks performed in highly constrained environments. Roboticists needed to spend many hours writing sophisticated code and/or using numerous trial and error cycles to program behaviors.

TRI has already taught robots more than 60 difficult, dexterous skills using the new approach, including pouring liquids, using tools, and manipulating deformable objects. These achievements were realized without writing a single line of new code; the only change was supplying the robot with new data. Building on this success, TRI has set an ambitious target of teaching hundreds of new skills by the end of the year and 1,000 by the end of 2024.

Business leaders: AI will create more jobs than it replaces

Amid rapid digital transformation across the workforce, nearly two-thirds of business leaders believe AI will spur the creation of new jobs, and 69% believe their organizations will require different skills in order to stay competitive over the next decade.

Findings from Multiverse’s report, Preparing for the AI revolution: How to build the future workforce of 2030,also reveal that while the majority of business leaders believe in the potential of growth, some do fear that AI has the greater potential to replace jobs.

As businesses continue to face skills-related challenges and the massive need to transform their workforces, Multiverse surveyed over 1,000 business leaders across the US and UK to uncover the key trends driving the pace of change in workforce transformation.

“Artificial intelligence is transforming businesses around the world, and it’s clear from our research that business leaders anticipate huge opportunities while also recognizing the risks,” said Gary Eimerman, Chief Learning Officer at Multiverse. “Both their bottom lines and the longevity of their staff’s careers will be negatively impacted if businesses don’t prioritize closing the AI skills gaps in a timely manner. If leaders lean into the massive upside that investing in talent now provides, they’ll reap the outsized benefits of an AI-empowered workforce for years to come.”

Amid continued rates of high turnover and deepening skills gaps across industries, business leaders point to learning and development as a core strategic priority for the remainder of 2023.

– 73% are likely to reskill employees into new roles,

– 76% of leaders say they are likely to invest in upskilling existing employees, and

– 77% say they plan to increase training and development budgets to prepare for 2030.

For employees ready for a career change, or for those with roles at risk of being displaced, a larger investment in upskilling opens opportunities to realize new career routes into tech, data, and engineering.


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