June 11, 2020

Tens of millions of Americans have filed for unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic. This historically high number increased by another 1.5 million last week as many people continue to struggle to make ends meet. Although the gradual reopening of businesses has sent some back to work, nearly 21 million Americans are still receiving unemployment benefits. All together, more than 44 million people have applied for unemployment over the course of the pandemic. 

“That means 29 percent of the workforce Continue reading

Continue reading...

April 28, 2020

Last week, legislators approved of another round of small business loans after funding failed to reach thousands of companies the first time. Unfortunately, many of these desperate businesses are encountering the same problems as they did a few weeks ago. Shortly after going online on Monday, the Small Business Administration’s electronic loan portal crashed due to high demand. “The SBA’s systems were not designed to and are not capable of handling the volume of loans banks processed over the last Continue reading

Continue reading...

April 24, 2020

For nearly two months, millions of Americans have been shut inside their homes in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus. Many people have turned to video games as a way to pass the time, and one of the most popular titles of the last few weeks has been Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Players of the Nintendo Switch title move into their own island where they work and hunt for treasure all in an effort to buy things Continue reading

Continue reading...

April 21, 2020

A few weeks ago, legislators approved a $2 trillion stimulus package that set aside $349 billion for small businesses that have drastically altered operations during the pandemic. After a poor rollout left many companies unable to petition for relief, however, the fund dried up last weekend with thousands of businesses still in need of loans. What’s more, among the companies that received relief included major chains with thousands of employees and numerous locations across the country.

For example, the Continue reading

Continue reading...

April 7, 2020

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused countless restaurants and stores across the country to alter their services or close entirely, some for as long as a month so far. This stretch of downtime has been devastating for many small businesses that usually get by on week-to-week sales. At Old Town Pizza & Brewing in Portland, Oregon, owner Adam Milne had to lay off two-thirds of his staff as the brewpub transitioned into carry-out only service. In the process he racked Continue reading

Continue reading...

February 18, 2020

Rather than worry about having cash on hand, many American consumers now prefer to use credit or debit cards as their preferred methods of payment. Companies are usually happy to oblige cashless customers since cards are easy to process and keep busy lines moving. In fact, a number of retailers and restaurants across the country have switched to cashless payment models that rely entirely on cards or mobile apps. According to consumer advocates and lawmakers, however, these businesses could be Continue reading

Continue reading...

November 21, 2019

Analysts estimate that last year consumers spent more than $50 billion on virtual items in video games like Counter-Strike and World of Warcraft. This lengthy but highly informative video explains why the market for virtual items has grown bigger than global box office returns for the movie industry. 

Questions:

  1. How are in-game economies similar to real-world economic systems?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of online marketplaces that sell virtual goods?
Continue reading...

November 15, 2019

This week, Google announced that it’s launching a banking service next year that will offer “smart checking” accounts to mobile-focused customers. Known as Cache, the program is the result of a collaboration between the search giant and two banks: Citigroup and Stanford Credit Union. Although details of the partnership remain limited at this time, Google eventually wants Cache to become an extension of its Google Pay app. The company also claims that customers will “benefit from useful insights and budgeting Continue reading

Continue reading...

November 14, 2019

Earlier this year, McDonald’s spent $300 million acquiring a data analysis and artificial intelligence startup called Dynamic Yield. Along with providing the fast food chain with tons of information about its operations, this new technology will also help the company upgrade its growing fleet of self-ordering kiosks. Customers can place orders on these large touchscreens rather than wait in line, which the company claims improves efficiency and increases sales. As a result, McDonald’s wants to place these machines in as Continue reading

Continue reading...

August 23, 2019

Last Wednesday, the stock market tanked after the yield curve for the bond market became inverted, meaning that interest rates on short-term bonds grew higher than those paid on long-term bonds. The video below takes a look at this complicated concept and explains why the “inverted yield curve” can be a warning sign of a recession. 

Questions:

  1. What is the difference between short-term and long-term bonds? 
  2. Why do investors consider the inverted yield curve to be a potential sign of a recession?
Continue reading...