September 28, 2022

In recent months, CEOs at leading corporations have been talking a lot about “elasticity” with their shareholders. As Americans contend with rising prices due to inflation, companies are concerned with just how elastic their pricing practices can be. This video examines the concept of elasticity and the role it plays in determining how companies price products. 

Questions:

  1. What is price elasticity, and how is it affected by inflation?
  2. What are some ways that companies like Procter & Gamble try Continue reading
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September 23, 2022

When Airbnb launched in 2008, the short-term rental company marketed itself as an easy alternative to hotels that had supposedly become too restrictive for the modern traveler. 14 years after its founding, however, many guests are heading back to hotels because of extensive cleaning requirements from Airbnb hosts. For example, teacher Christina Marie recently booked a short-term rental house on Lake Tahoe with her family of six. She spent the last day of her vacation cleaning and ensuring that her Continue reading

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August 31, 2022

Earlier this year, we looked at how the nationwide shortage of baby formula was poised to continue for months after Abbott Nutrition shut down a Michigan plant in February. An inspector from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) discovered a leaking roof in the facility, pools of water on the floor, and cracks in production equipment used to produce the brand Similac. FDA commissioner Dr. Robert Califf described the conditions as “egregiously unsanitary” while acknowledging that the federal agency should Continue reading

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August 26, 2022

Global supply chains have been all out of sorts since the start of the pandemic, but for the most part traffic and delays have been isolated to ports on the Pacific. As the video below explains, though, bottlenecks have now moved to East and Gulf Coast ports that are unprepared for this influx of ships and container boxes. 

Questions:

  1. What are some reasons why shipping traffic and delays have moved from Pacific ports to East and Gulf Coast ports? Continue reading
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July 29, 2022

Consumer confidence in the economy has taken a nosedive as prices climb higher due to rising inflation, potentially indicating that the U.S. is on the road to a recession. This video looks at how the government collects data on consumer confidence while also examining the ways that low economic expectations can further fuel inflation.

Questions:

  1. Why does the government collect data on consumer confidence? What sort of questions do they ask participants?
  2. How can declining consumer confidence potentially drive inflation even higher?
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July 22, 2022

The U.S. dollar is the world’s most important currency, serving as one side of 90 percent of all foreign exchange transactions. Before the pandemic, the U.S. dollar accounted for $6 trillion in daily activity as everyone from tourists to multinational corporations depended on this customarily stable currency. After the turmoil of the last few years, however, the dependable dollar has skyrocketed in value to its highest level in 20 years. 

The value of the dollar has jumped 10 percent Continue reading

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July 12, 2022

Since the start of the summer travel season, air carriers have canceled thousands of flights as they grapple with bad weather, high fuel costs, and rampant inflation. Along with these problems, airlines are also encountering increased resistance from one of their most important groups of employees: pilots. Faced with large workloads and an unpredictable post-pandemic environment, pilots are demanding substantial wage increases as well as quality of life benefits from their employers. 

According to analysts, airlines are likely to Continue reading

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June 24, 2022

Last week, we looked at how declining stock prices are signaling to analysts that an economic recession could be on the horizon. This video looks at how the recent downturn has been especially grim for tech companies, whose shares are down significantly due to rising interest rates and global instability. 

Questions:

  1. What are some factors that have caused tech stocks to fall sharply in recent months?
  2. How have hiring decisions by companies like Facebook contributed to the tech stock downturn
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June 22, 2022

Americans traveled in droves over the busy Father’s Day and Juneteenth holiday weekend, leading to widespread delays and cancellations at airports despite the best efforts of carriers. All told, airlines canceled more than 5,000 flights over the weekend while almost a third of all arriving flights on Friday were delayed. Travelers experienced similar moments of chaos at airports over Memorial Day weekend, reflecting an industry struggling to return to normal after the pandemic.

According to airlines, poor weather and high Continue reading

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June 17, 2022

Yesterday, the S&P 500 dropped more than 3 percent, continuing a long decline for stocks despite investors’ hopes for a rally. This places the index down 24 percent from its previous highs in January, further pushing stocks into bear market territory. Stock markets turn from bulls to bears once they drop more than 20 percent from recent peaks, potentially indicating that the economy is headed towards a recession. In fact, if losses continue at this rate, the S&P could experience Continue reading

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