What is it? The number of H-1B visa applications filed by employers between October 2016 and June 2017.
Why is it important? The number of applications has not declined despite US President Donald Trump pledging to crackdown on misuse of H-1B visas, a temporary work permit. At this rate, the full year applications will exceed that of 2016 number of 399,349. However, approvals for current fiscal is sharply lower at 59% as compared to 87% in 2016. This could be because large number of petitions in current year are still pending decisions.
Tell me more: 74% of applications are filed for candidates born in India.
What is it? Nikkei’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) in July, a composite indicator of India’s manufacturing activity based on a survey by Markit, a financial information and services company.
Why is it important? This is the lowest since February 2009, the days of the global financial crisis. It slipped below the 50-point mark separating expansion from contraction for the first time this year. Uncertainty and information gaps around goods and services tax that was introduced on July 1st seems to have negatively impacted purchasing decisions.
Tell me more: New orders fell for the first time in the year-to-date and at the fastest pace since early 2009.
What is it? The number of months in which this year’s Earth Overshoot Day has arrived (August 2) this year, according to environmental groups WWF and Global Footprint Network.
Why is it important? Earth Overshoot Day is the date in which the annual demand of humanity on nature exceeds what the planet can regenerate over the year and it is the earliest so far. In other words, humanity is using up planetary resources such as soil, water and air at a faster pace than ever and will live on “credit” for the rest of the year; currently, we are using the resources of 1.7 Earths.
Tell me more: We would be able to return to living within the means of one Earth before 2050 if we moved the Earth Overshoot Day back by 4.5 days every year. Some of the ways in which individuals can help stop and later, reverse the trend is by burning less fuel, cut back on food waste and eating less meat.
What is it? The percentage increase in car sales for Maruti Suzuki, which has more than 50% market share, in July this year.
Why is it important? Car sales has picked up after introduction of the goods and services tax (GST) from July 1st, after contracting by 11% in June. Other car makers, except Hyundai Motor, reported double-digit increase in sales growth.
Tell me more: Shipping of cars from factory gate to dealers is counted as a sale, so the increase could be because of manufacturers pushing the stock to dealers than end-customer demand.
What is it? The increase in the net worth of Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, in one year.
Why is it important? With a total net worth of $35.2 billion, he has raced ahead of Hong Kong-based Li Ka-Shing to become the second richest Asian after Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma. Globally, Ambani went up to the 19th position, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. This has been possible partly due to investors rallying behind Reliance Jio that has disrupted the telecom space in the last few months.
Tell me more: A report by Oxfam, which works to eliminate poverty, said India’s 57 billionaires have the same wealth as the bottom 70% of the population, pointing to rising income and wealth inequality in the Asia’s third largest economy.