September 12, 2017

avocadosOne hundred years ago hardly any Americans outside of California had ever seen an avocado, let alone ate one. Then during the 1920s a Los Angeles postal worker named Rudolph Hass planted an avocado seed in his backyard that eventually grew into a highly productive tree. His children raved about how their father’s flavorful fruit beat out any competitors at the local market, eventually convincing him to patent the Hass Avocado in 1935. Soon growers across the region began to Continue reading

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August 10, 2017

restaurantThe U.S. economy has managed to add thousands of jobs so far this year thanks to big gains in industries like construction and health care. But even these substantial sectors can’t compare to the robust growth of the restaurant industry, which has gained nearly 200,000 new jobs in 2017 alone. And unlike manufacturing or construction work, these jobs aren’t localized to a few lucky cities scattered across the nation. Instead, nearly every American metropolis has seen a boom in restaurant Continue reading

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August 4, 2017

Since the passage of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act, banks have been required to keep a certain amount of cash on hand relative to their assets. Legislators put the rule in place so that institutions would have enough money in their vaults to bail themselves out in the event of another credit crisis. This video explains the concept of bank capital and why these regulations have caused some frustration in the finance industry.

Questions:

  1. Why are banks required to keep Continue reading
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July 14, 2017

edwin-leeThis week we’ve taken a look at the effect mobile technology has had on Chinese businesses, both for better and worse. Of course, China is far from the only Asian nation to undergo drastic changes thanks to the rise of smartphones. From India to Indonesia, mobile technology has altered the ways that both consumers and businesspeople go about their lives. Still, perhaps no other place on the continent has been as fundamentally changed by smartphones as the country of Continue reading

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June 23, 2017

When the economy was on the verge of collapse due to the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve dropped interest rates to zero in an effort to get money moving around again. The economy is not in such dire straits now, of course, so the Fed has once again returned to raising rates gradually. This video quickly reviews how the Fed works and demonstrates the ways that the central bank affects the nation’s money supply.  

Questions:

  1. What are the Continue reading
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restaurants-strugglesWhile retailers have seen sales drop in the years since the Great Recession, restaurants have largely enjoyed a boom time. American eateries benefitted from a shift in consumer spending habits away from products and towards “experiences” like meals and travel. And as demand increased, so did the supply of restaurants. Chipotle, for instance, has added 57 stores so far this year on top of the 240 locations it opened in 2016.

The burrito chain’s aggressive expansion is even more astounding Continue reading

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November 21, 2016

CurranKelleherThe end of November is always a trying time for travelers. Each year millions of Americans crisscross the country to reach their loved ones for Thanksgiving, leading to congested roads and crowded airports. And for those who hoped this year might be easier, think again. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), nearly 49 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home between Wednesday and Sunday. That amounts to an increase of 1 million people compared to last Continue reading

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August 29, 2016

As the Trans-Pacific Partnership inches closer to ratification in the U.S. and abroad, the debate surrounding free trade agreements like it has grown more intense. This video takes a look at one of the first of these tariff-eliminating multinational deals, NAFTA, and the ways that it has remained controversial.

Questions:

 

  1. Do free trade deals like NAFTA or TPP provide enough of an economic benefit to justify their potentially negative effects on the U.S. job market?
  2. How do tariffs encourage Continue reading
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A week has passed since more than 17 million voters in Great Britain chose to leave the European Union, leading to confusion and plummeting stock markets throughout the world. And while the immediate economic fallout from the “Brexit” decision has tapered off in that time, political leaders as well as regular people still don’t know what will happen next. In fact, British citizens aren’t even sure who will be running their country in a few months. Prime Minister David Cameron Continue reading

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April 15, 2016

For years Americans have heard about the dangers of the national debt from TV talking heads as well as politicians on both sides of the aisle. But what exactly is the national debt, and how does it differ from the deficit? And just how frightening are these figures that top out in terms of billions and trillions of dollars? Along with defining “the debt” versus “the deficit,” this quick video also explains why GDP plays a major role in any Continue reading

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