August 27, 2020

For nearly every week since March, millions of Americans have filed for unemployment benefits as the economy continues to struggle with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. And last week was no exception: once again more than 1 million people filed for unemployment for the first time. All together, more than 27 million people applied for benefits as the jobless rate hovers around the 10 percent mark. 

“It’s massively concerning that five months into this crisis we are still Continue reading

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August 24, 2020

In 2018, California’s Supreme Court ruled against a delivery company that classified its employees as independent contractors. This landmark decision was followed two years later by official legislation that required businesses throughout the state to turn contracted staff into full-time workers or else face legal action. The most prominent targets of this new law were Uber and Lyft, the rideshare giants that employ tens of thousands of people as independent contractors. 

According to consumer advocates, drivers for Uber and Continue reading

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August 20, 2020

As companies across all industries look for ways to reduce contact between employees during the pandemic, many are turning to automated labor as a way both to stay safe and trim costs. This video looks at how advanced robotic technology could change workplaces in the long term while also examining the potential limitations of automation. 

Questions:

  1. Why are many companies investing in automated labor during the pandemic?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of automation?
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August 11, 2020

For many Americans who have been working from home for six months, each day can seem like the same procession of Zoom meetings and email exchanges. As a result, some professionals have had trouble scheduling meetings with new clients who don’t want to add another video chat to their already packed calendars. For example, a Brooklyn-based ad executive named Lewis Smithingham tried for weeks to set up a meeting with an investment analyst only to receive a string of postponements Continue reading

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August 7, 2020

Airline passenger volume has plummeted by 95 percent during the coronavirus pandemic, wiping out tens of billions of dollars in revenue in the process. This video looks at how airlines are fighting to survive these unprecedented times by furloughing employees, limiting flight capacity, and retiring old aircraft like the Boeing 747. 

Questions: 

  1. What measures are airlines taking to cut costs during the pandemic? 
  2. What are the potential long term consequences of furloughing employees like pilots?
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August 4, 2020

From April to June 2020, the U.S. GDP plummeted at an annual rate of 32.9 percent, the worst drop on record. As businesses closed across the country due to the pandemic, the U.S. fell into a recession that wiped out the economic gains of the last five years in just a few months. This data released last week by the Commerce Department “just highlights how deep and dark the hole is that the economy cratered into in Q2,” said economist Continue reading

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July 30, 2020

According to data from Yelp, more than 55 percent of the 132,500 businesses listed on the site that closed during the pandemic will remain shuttered permanently. Although government relief bought some companies time, businesses that are now closed will likely remain that way for the long term. Restaurants account for the greatest share of permanent and temporary closures, followed closely by retailers and then beauty salons and spas. 

“Businesses are needing to decide, ‘Do I renew my lease on Continue reading

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July 28, 2020

Last Friday, a federal moratorium on evictions for tenants in government-assisted housing expired. With eviction moratoriums in many states also at an end, experts fear that millions of Americans could be kicked out of their homes in the coming months. According to one estimate, as many as 40 million people could be evicted during the pandemic. “It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen,” said John Pollock of the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel.

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July 21, 2020

Yesterday, tens of thousands of workers across the U.S. walked off their jobs in support of the “Strike for Black Lives.” According to organizers, the strike was held to bring greater attention to issues like income inequality and systemic racism in both the private and public sectors. The nationwide event included members from labor unions and political groups such as the Service Employees International Union, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, American Federation of Teachers, and dozens of other organizations. 

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July 16, 2020

Nearly four months into the pandemic, millions of Americans are struggling to remain employed. Last week more than 1.5 million people filed for unemployment benefits for the first time, an increase of almost 109,000 from the previous week. The total number of unemployment claims stood at 17.3 million for the week ending in July 4th, with many people also collecting expanded benefits that could soon expire. 

“What we’re seeing is continued, historic elevated rates of job loss in the Continue reading

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