With tens of millions of Americans currently out of work, the U.S. is experiencing an unemployment crisis on a scale not seen since the height of the Great Depression. This video looks at the devastating effects of rising joblessness while also explaining how several European governments intervened to avoid disastrous unemployment rates. 

Questions:

  1. Why is the U.S. unemployment insurance system not equipped to face the current crisis?
  2. Do you think the U.S. should take a more active role in Continue reading
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April 9, 2020

This morning, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that another 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. All told, almost 17 million people have applied for jobless aid in the past three weeks, accounting for 10 percent of the U.S. labor force. The sudden loss of so many jobs is staggering and unprecedented. For comparison, it took two years for 8.6 million people to lose their jobs during the Great Recession. Many analysts predict that the unemployment rate Continue reading

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April 2, 2020

After a long debate, last week legislators finally approved and signed into law a $2 trillion stimulus package that provides much needed economic relief during this unprecedented health crisis. The video below looks at how the money will be allocated to companies and the logistics behind expanded unemployment benefits as well as a $1,200 stimulus payment to American adults. 

Questions:

  1. What sort of restrictions does the stimulus package place upon companies that accept government relief?
  2. Do you think this Continue reading
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March 26, 2020

After the federal government placed a ban on gatherings of ten or more people last Monday, restaurants and bars across the country either closed or drastically altered their operations. Although such measures are necessary to contain the spread of coronavirus, countless businesses have had to furlough workers or lay them off entirely as a result. In fact, statistics released by the Labor Department this morning found that a record 3.3 million Americans applied to receive unemployment benefits last week.

That Continue reading

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March 20, 2020

With many businesses altering their day-to-day operations, millions of Americans working in restaurants, bars, hotels, or for gig companies like Uber have seen their hours and pay cut drastically. This video looks at how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting regular people working in the San Francisco Bay Area and the solutions that they are asking for to relieve this crisis. 

Questions:

  1. Why do small businesses like restaurants and bars face so much uncertainty during the current coronavirus pandemic?
  2. Do Continue reading
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March 10, 2020

Last week we looked at how fears over coronavirus have caused major events to cancel and governments to restrict travel. Since then, organizers of South By Southwest have called off the festival while Italy has expanded emergency measures for the entire country. That means no public gatherings will be allowed in the Mediterranean nation along with a general ban on travel for all citizens unless they receive special permission. This global escalation of tensions surrounding the Covid-19 virus has Continue reading

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February 4, 2020

The national unemployment rate is currently at 3.5 percent, its lowest point in decades. As a result, retailers and restaurant chains across the country are having a difficult time finding workers to fill low-wage positions. “Understaffing is a massive problem,” said Jonathan Maze, executive editor of Restaurant Business Magazine. “You have companies that are stressed to try to fill hours and keep people on, and it can lead to violations.” 

According to a recent ruling from a Massachusetts court, Continue reading

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October 29, 2019

In mid-September, nearly 50,000 General Motors employees represented by the United Auto Workers union went on strike after failing to reach an agreement with the company. Staffers walked picket lines for more than a month as they fought for improved wages, benefits, and job security. Then last week the standoff finally ended as the union struck a deal with management that partially gave in to some of the workers’ demands.

For instance, employees are now guaranteed a 3 percent pay Continue reading

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October 24, 2019

This in-depth video explains how stock buybacks work and why they have possibly contributed to rising income inequality over the years. Along with providing a detailed history of this controversial practice, the video also takes a close look at the closing of GM’s factory in Lordstown, Ohio. 

Questions:

  1. Do you think lawmakers should pass regulations against corporate stock buybacks? Why or why not?
  2. How did the closing of GM’s Lordstown factory affect the community as a whole?
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