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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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 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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March 11, 2022

Earlier this week, we looked at how some companies faced increasing pressure from consumers to halt their operations in Russia during the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. While chains like McDonald’s eventually listened to the outcry and shut down their Russian locations, other companies could not join the “corporate exodus” as easily. Burger King, for instance, has about 800 locations in Russia that are owned by independent franchisees, meaning the company cannot shut them down directly.

But with the eyes of Continue reading

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March 8, 2022

Last week, we looked at how retailers like H&M and Nike as well as major corporations like Apple and ExxonMobil suspended their operations in Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine. And while this list of companies is long and full of prominent names, it does not include major American brands like Coca-Cola, Starbucks, KFC, and many others that continue to operate in Russia. As a result, users on social media have recently piled criticism onto these companies to pressure Continue reading

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March 4, 2022

The appalling invasion of Ukraine has convinced many companies to halt their operations in Russia during this catastrophic event. Last week, for instance, the clothing company H&M announced that it would close its 170 Russian stores while Nike shuttered its 116 retailers in the country. Other big brands like Apple, T.J. Maxx, and Ikea followed with announcements that laid out similar plans to close stores during this frightening time.

“The devastating war in Ukraine is a human tragedy, and our Continue reading

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January 20, 2022

Although heavy traffic in U.S. ports did not end up canceling Christmas last year, the supply chain crisis still led to some empty shelves and expensive items as companies struggled to obtain needed inventory. Now that the holiday shopping season is long over, however, some officials are optimistic that the worst has passed as ports in Southern California work through their backlogs and shipping costs drop from their September 2021 highs. But like so many other aspects of American Continue reading

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November 4, 2021

While shoppers managed to buy most of their treats this Halloween despite the current supply chain crisis, unfortunately the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday will be a bit trickier. Like many other consumer products, nearly every component of the traditional Turkey Day dinner will be more expensive than ever before. For example, an executive chef in Arkansas said that he paid over 20 percent more for 25 pasture-raised turkeys than he did in 2020. And according to Norman Brown, director of sweet Continue reading

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October 29, 2021

While supply chain problems are bringing uncertainty to the upcoming Christmas season, retail analysts are optimistic that Halloween will be a vast improvement over 2020. Last year, the pandemic largely prevented kids from trick or treating and discouraged many adults from having costume parties, leading to a multi-billion dollar drop in retail sales during the spooky season. With an increasingly vaccinated population and lifted restrictions across the country, though, sales from 2021’s Halloween festivities are expected to increase by 20 Continue reading

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October 21, 2021

For months, supply chain problems have led to increased prices and long delays that show no sign of ending anytime soon. As a result, industry analysts are recommending that consumers start their holiday shopping as soon as possible if they want their items to arrive by December. While supplies remain low because of factors like jammed ports and truck shortages, demand is expected to ramp up this holiday season as experts predict a 7 to 9 percent increase in retail Continue reading

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