Economics in the News - Feb. 15-21 How Economics Impacts our lives on a daily basis

Economics impacts our lives every day. Below are some of the top storylines from this past week related to economics.

"Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work." -- Stephen King, author
Record-low interest rates has fueled a real estate boom across the United States. Millennials have represented the largest contingent of home buyers, as 36 percent of the houses bought have been first-time home buyers. Many millennials are bucking traditional home buying because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Millennials are relying exclusively on technology when shopping for a new home. Some are buying without seeing their new house in person before closing. Tools such as Realtor.com, along with Google Maps make vetting surrounding communities simpler. [The New York Times]

Why did Texas power grids fail during a winter blast that left millions of Texans frozen and in the dark? Insufficient investments to provide power during bitter cold snaps caused 185 of Texas’s power generators to go offline.

Texas is on its own power grid. State leaders have sought for Texas to keep its power grid separate for decades. In Texas, producers are only paid for the electricity they provide and not for added capacity. Higher prices provide an incentive to increase capacity so producers can reap higher prices when shortages increase prices. However, during extremes such as recently experienced, the capacity is insufficient. [The Wall Street Journal]

Younger generations are assisting older adults in scheduling appointments for a COVID-19 vaccination. Due to the demand of the vaccine, appointments can be taken in minutes after appearing online.

Parents, grandparents and strangers are using tech savvy young people to book appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine. For many young people, the gesture is a way to give back and assist in the vaccine rollout. [The Wall Street Journal]

The Ivy League announced that it will not hold league competition for any of its spring sports due to COVID-19. The league was the first to cancel its men’s basketball tournament last March amid the ensuing coronavirus pandemic.

The Ivy League has now canceled its fall, winter and spring sports in 2020-21. The league plans to break a long-standing policy to allow senior student-athletes to play as full-time graduate students next season. [The Washington Post]

Pizza has been a staple inside of homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s ease and affordability has made it a perfect pandemic option for Americans seeking a break from cooking. Technomic, a food industry research firm, says that sales of pizza have grown by 4% in the last year.

The combined revenues of Papa John’s and Dominoes grew roughly to the point of 30 million more large pizzas were sold last year than the year before. Pizzerias are outliers, as more than 68,000 restaurants closed during the pandemic across the food industry. [The New York Times]


All images credited to iStock