June 30, 2020

According to experts, the coronavirus pandemic has deepened economic inequality and expanded the racial wealth gap across the U.S. While the unemployment rate for white workers sits at 12.4 percent, the rate among black and Hispanic workers has gone up to 16.8% and 17.6% respectively. But while many poor Americans struggle to make ends meet, the wealth of the nation’s 614 billionaires has increased by $584 billion.

These top-end earners make most of their money on the stock market, which Continue reading

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June 26, 2020

For the 14th week in a row, more than 1 million people filed for unemployment benefits as fallout from the pandemic continues to hurt workers across the nation. The last three weeks have each seen the number of newly unemployed Americans hover around the 1.5 million mark, an ominous sign that economic recovery could still be a long time coming. 

Although some people have returned to work as states reopen, the rising number of coronavirus cases threatens to once Continue reading

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June 25, 2020

After months on lockdown, states across the country have relaxed stay-at-home orders and allowed businesses to gradually resume operations. This slight return to normalcy caused the stock market to rally over the last few weeks to levels approaching its January 2020 highs. But even though many Americans are desperate to return to something resembling normal life, coronavirus remains a dangerous threat to public health. In fact, cases of infection have been steadily rising as states and businesses reopen.

As a Continue reading

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June 19, 2020

Back in April, we looked at how American dairy farmers were dumping thousands of gallons of milk due to drastic drops in demand from businesses and schools. This video illustrates how this problem has grown in the months since and offers potential solutions that could keep supplies and prices stable.

Questions:

  1. How have dairy cooperatives responded to the supply crisis that was caused by the pandemic?
  2. Do you think independent farmers should receive more relief from federal regulators? Why or why not?
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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

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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 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

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April 23, 2020

This morning, the Labor Department announced that another 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. That brings the official number of jobless people to 26.5 million over the past month, effectively erasing almost all of the new jobs created since the 2008 financial crisis. To make matters worse, many state unemployment processing systems have become overwhelmed after receiving record numbers of requests. As a result, experts predict that the actual number of jobless Americans could be much higher Continue reading

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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

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April 16, 2020

With thousands of stores closed around the country, U.S. retailers saw sales plunge by 8.7 percent in March. That represents the worst monthly decline on record as millions of consumers stopped visiting restaurants, bars, and shopping malls due to stay-at-home orders for coronavirus containment. While sales of cars, furniture, and electronics all experienced double digit drops, spending at clothing stores plummeted by more than 50 percent. Manufacturing capacity and oil production also fell to their lowest rates since the end Continue reading

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