June 10, 2022

Over the last year, Americans have seen prices skyrocket for everything from food to fuel, leading to higher bills and strained budgets. This video looks at how inflation has played out across the economy, from increased costs for consumer staples like meat and eggs to rising rents that are a result of low housing supplies.

Questions:

  1. What long term economic factors have led to increased meat prices in recent months?
  2. How has a lack of housing construction since the 2008 Continue reading
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Since the beginning of the year, parents around the country have struggled to obtain baby formula due to a nationwide shortage. Although Covid-related supply chain snags have contributed to the problem, matters became considerably worse once the formula manufacturer Abbott Laboratories instituted a recall in May. The company produces brands like Similac at its plant in Sturgis, Michigan, which shut down following the recall. Consumers filed formal complaints with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) about infant illnesses, leading to Continue reading

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Although electricity prices usually tend to increase alongside the temperature, this summer Americans could see their utility bills rise to record levels. The video below explains how climbing natural gas costs have made air conditioning more expensive than ever, a situation made worse by tangled supply chains and the war in Ukraine. 

Questions:

  1. How do rising natural gas prices impact utility costs for consumers?
  2. Do you think utility providers should invest more in renewable energy sources to reduce their Continue reading
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The Covid-19 pandemic took an enormous toll on people’s mental health. The World Health Organization estimates that the prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by 25 percent during 2020. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one-third of Americans have recently reported symptoms of anxiety or depression. Some patients struggle to book appointments with therapists, however, either because their insurance doesn’t cover their specific needs or because demand for mental health services has skyrocketed. 

“Since Covid, Continue reading

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iPhone with downward sloping stock graphShare prices plummeted across all three major stock indexes last Friday, wrapping up a terrible month that brought markets to their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic. On that single day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 939 points while the S&P 500 dropped 155 points, amounting to respective contractions of 2.8 percent and 3.6 percent. Worst of all was the Nasdaq, which shrank by 4.2 percent after dropping 536 points. 

The numbers look even worse when Continue reading

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April 26, 2022

Netflix revolutionized the entertainment industry after the company launched its streaming service in 2007, creating an on-demand platform that was soon imitated by many competitors. Although Netflix still has the largest audience in the industry with 220 million subscribers, the company faces strong competition from services like Disney+, HBO Max, and many others. No longer the only game in town, over the years Netflix has spent big on original television series and movies in order to stand out from this Continue reading

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April 21, 2022

Before the pandemic, enormous shipping vessels bound for the West Coast of the U.S. from Asia usually took the same predictable and profitable voyages. After docking in either the port of Los Angeles or Long Beach, the ships would unload their cargo and then head up north to Oakland, where they stocked up on agricultural goods from California’s expansive farmland. This cargo would ultimately end up in markets around the world after journeying across the Pacific and disembarking in Southeast Continue reading

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April 19, 2022

As companies continue to face climbing costs, many businesses are responding by either raising prices themselves or reducing the size of their product offerings. But there’s at least one company who hasn’t surrendered to the effects of inflation: 23-ounce cans of AriZona iced tea remain 99 cents, the same price as when they hit the market 30 years ago. So is AriZona somehow immune to recent price increases? Not in the least, considering that the cost of aluminum has Continue reading

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April 15, 2022

As businesses across the globe contend with rising inflation, many companies are cutting costs by reducing the size of consumer goods and hoping buyers don’t notice. This video looks at this growing trend of “shrinkflation” and the risks that companies take when they downsize snacks. 

Questions:

  1. Why are many companies responding to rising costs with “shrinkflation?” 
  2. What risks do companies take when they alter the packaging or size of consumer goods like snacks?
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April 12, 2022

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in March 2022 consumer prices rose by 8.5 percent compared to the same period last year, amounting to the largest increase since 1981. Not only must businesses contend with pandemic-related supply chain issues that have persisted for well over a year, but also Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to spiking fuel and food costs. As a result, inflation continues to rise alongside prices for essential goods like housing, groceries, and gasoline. Continue reading

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