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ASX set to slow, jobs and skills mismatch and 4 more things to start your day.

ASX and people Christmas shopping in SYdney
ASX finished on a strong note and JeansWest and Zara are on Oxfam's naughty list this year

ASX: The ASX has lifted to its highest level in almost six months, with investors betting the predicted interest rate hikes will slow the market today. Wall Street's main indexes rose as growth stocks gained after a mixed bag of economic data led to a drop in Treasury yields, while investors awaited minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting.

Heavyweight stocks including Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Inc and Meta Platforms Inc rose between 0.4 per cent and 0.7 per cent.

Jobs mismatch: Research by Deloitte Access Economics showeds a mismatch between the skills of workers and vacant jobs wais partly to blame for extreme worker shortages.

Employers have been struggling to source staff in an ultra-competitive environment, with the unemployment rate hovering around 50-year lows.

Gender pay gap: Multi-employer bargaining would narrow the gender pay gap for working women, according to a report by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).

As expected, the research backed planned legislative changes to the industrial relations regime that the Federal Government is trying to get passed before year’s end.

"Multi-employer bargaining, and especially the single interest and supported streams, are critical for closing the gender pay gap," ACTU president Michele O'Neil said on Thursday.

Telstra in trouble: The communications watchdog has revealed Telstra breached rules on credit management for dozens of customers who were on financial-hardship plans.

An investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority revealed the telco took actions such as suspending or disconnecting services to 70 customers who were on hardship arrangements.

Zara and Jeans West on ‘naughty list’: Zara and JeansWest have been put on Oxfam's naughty list ahead of the silly season for failing to improve wages and conditions for garment workers.

Christmas shoppers have been urged to boycott the popular fashion brands after they failed to commit to improving conditions and failing to share their factory locations.

Affordable homes in short supply: Only a fraction of the 1one million homes the Federal Government promised to deliver in the Budget will be affordable for low- income Australians, Greens analysis shows.

In the October Budget, the Albanese Government announced a national housing accord to build 1one million new homes over five years starting from 2024.

But Parliamentary Library analysis commissioned by the Greens found only 2.02 per cent of the new homes would be affordable for low- income earners.

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