October 27, 2020

The stock market plunged in March as the coronavirus emerged in the U.S. but eventually recovered as some businesses reopened and consumers received economic relief. With cases once again on the rise, however, the combination of potential closings and a lack of another stimulus package caused the Dow to plummet by 650 points on Monday. “Financial markets are getting a reality check, as investors come to terms with the failure of Congress to agree to a pre-election stimulus package and Continue reading

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October 22, 2020

Last week, another 787,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits. This represents a drop from the stretch of months where more than 1 million people filed for unemployment week after week, but it nevertheless reflects a deeply strained economy. “The ranks of people applying for extended unemployment are starting to make it look like a traditional recession,” said economist Diane Swonk. “This leaves scars in the labor force, is demoralizing, and increases health risks for workers…We’re not calling people back Continue reading

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October 20, 2020

Since its founding in 1998, Google has grown into one of the largest companies in history. Last year it earned more than $34 billion from search revenue, an enormous amount that analysts predict will grow to $42.5 billion by 2022. Google’s parent company Alphabet is valued at more than $1 trillion and holds $120 billion in cash reserves. The company’s name has even become synonymous with search as millions of people around the world “google” all sorts of information every Continue reading

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October 8, 2020

According to the Brookings Institution, more than 400,000 small businesses have closed during the pandemic while hundreds of thousands more remain at high risk of ceasing operations. But while many small companies have struggled, large corporations in the tech and telecommunications industries have never been better. In fact, experts fear that big companies like Amazon and AT&T could consolidate on an enormous scale over the next six months as they buy bankrupt businesses at fire sale prices.

Although corporations have Continue reading

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October 2, 2020

In the last few months, companies like the space tourism agency Virgin Galactic and the data-mining firm Palantir have debuted on the stock exchange without launching IPOs. This video looks at the pros and cons of the SPAC process that allows businesses to go public through so-called “blank check” companies.

Questions:

  1. What are the advantages of taking a company public through a SPAC rather than a traditional IPO?
  2. What are the potential drawbacks of SPACs compared to IPOs?
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October 1, 2020

Back in March, airlines received $25 billion in relief so that workers could stay on the payroll as the coronavirus pandemic caused a massive disruption in world travel. But with that money now spent, major carriers had been hoping for another round of economic stimulus from the federal government as demand for travel remains low. Legislators have been unable to come to an agreement so far, however, leading American Airlines and United Airlines to announce that more than 32,000 employees Continue reading

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September 2, 2020

The video sharing app TikTok has become a big hit with millions of Americans over the last few years. According to the federal government, however, the Chinese-owned company presents national security risks that could lead to a ban on the app in the U.S. This video looks at the controversy surrounding TikTok’s American operations as well as the larger dangers of a fractured global Internet. 

Questions:

  1. Why is the federal government considering a ban on TikTok? 
  2. Do you Continue reading
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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 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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