The widespread disruptions caused by the pandemic resulted in millions of Americans losing their jobs last year and subsequently applying for unemployment benefits. In one especially bleak week in spring 2020, new unemployment claims topped out at more than six million as businesses locked down to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Although the amount of new claims steadily began to decline after this historic high, hundreds of thousands of Americans have nevertheless applied for unemployment week after week since the Continue reading

Continue reading...

At the beginning of the year, we looked at how an explosion in demand for consumer electronics led to a shortage of microchips across the globe. This semiconductor shortfall has continued in the intervening months and its impact has spread across numerous industries. Along with preventing carmakers from installing vital microchips in vehicles, the shortage has also hindered production of iPads, farming equipment, and even dog grooming machines. 

“This particular problem affects all aspects of manufacturing, from little people Continue reading

Continue reading...

April 29, 2021

The current vaccine rollout that is going strong throughout the country is largely the result of multi-billion dollar deals struck between economic powers like the U.S. and U.K. with pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer and Moderna. But while bilateral trade agreements across the globe allowed for the largest vaccine rollout in history, this video looks at why these deals are also delaying the vaccination process in struggling countries like Brazil and India.

Questions:

  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of bilateral Continue reading
Continue reading...

April 27, 2021

Last year, the onset of the pandemic devastated air travel as lockdown orders kept planes on the ground all over the world. After numerous airlines nearly collapsed as a result, the federal government provided the industry with three bailouts amounting to tens of billions of dollars in relief. This allowed airlines to keep many of their employees on the payroll while they waited to see if travel would recover. And now with ticket sales on the rise once again, analysts Continue reading

Continue reading...

April 22, 2021

Earlier this week, we looked at how pandemic lockdowns led to increased consumer demand as well as supply chain problems that are delaying deliveries around the world. Large-scale disruptions such as the Suez Canal blockage and the traffic jam at the Port of Los Angeles have resulted in wide-ranging financial damage to all sorts of small operators who cannot get their hands on vital merchandise. For instance, one restaurant in Oklahoma must pay $200 for a case of gloves that Continue reading

Continue reading...

April 20, 2021

On any given day since mid-2020, the Port of Los Angeles has had as many as 30 container ships anchored outside and waiting to eventually dock. This video looks at how the pandemic inspired a boom in online purchases while also causing a shortage of shipping workers, leading to the transportation crisis currently taking place at ports across the world. 

Questions:

  1. How did the pandemic lead to supply chain problems that caused traffic jams at major ports around the Continue reading
Continue reading...

April 15, 2021

After experiencing the worst year for the hospitality industry in U.S. history, restaurants and bars are beginning to bounce back as vaccinated Americans reemerge into the world and Covid-19 restrictions ease. For instance, sales at the Miami coffee shop and eatery All Day spiked in January to their highest levels since the start of the pandemic. “It was like turning on a light switch,” said owner Camila Ramos. As customers continued to flood into All Day, she tried to hire Continue reading

Continue reading...

April 8, 2021

Movie theaters across the country closed for months last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and then struggled to recover once other businesses began to reopen. After Tenet disappointed at the box office during the summer, other would-be blockbusters like Wonder Woman: 1984 and Raya and the Last Dragon were simultaneously released in theaters and on streaming services. This radical change in distribution made industry observers and uneasy theater owners wonder if moviegoers would continue to remain at home as Continue reading

Continue reading...

April 6, 2021

Starting in March 2020, new unemployment claims in the U.S. seemed to reach record levels every week as businesses closed all over due to the pandemic. And while that number has gradually been decreasing in recent months, thousands of people continue to file fresh unemployment claims each week. 719,000 workers filed for unemployment last week, an increase from 658,000 initial claims the week before.

Although the U.S. unemployment rate remains high, some experts are optimistic that the economy is on Continue reading

Continue reading...

March 23, 2021

As the pandemic forced Americans to stay at home a year ago, many people turned to indoor activities like baking, watching TV, and playing video games to pass the time. Sales of products like baking accessories and new televisions increased as a result, but video games skyrocketed in popularity to a degree never seen before. In 2020 Americans spent a record $56.9 billion on gaming, a 27 percent increase from the year before. 

Sony reported a 62 percent jump Continue reading

Continue reading...