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Economics in the News - Jan. 4-10 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
Manufacturing plants are struggling to find enough workers to staff their plants. The shortage of workers is impacting supply chains and delivery of products. The surge in e-commerce business during the COVID-19 pandemic has seen increased demand for more workers for warehouses or fulfillment centers that compete for workers with manufacturing plants.

Despite high unemployment levels, many employers are having trouble hiring workers. The labor force participation rate is at its lowest level since the 1970’s, according to the Department of Labor. Many potential workers are apprehensive, given the surge in COVID cases. Others are forced to remain at home to care for children. [The Wall Street Journal]

While watching the NFL Playoffs over the weekend, fans may have noticed more advertisements than usual during the game. The NFL is allowing two additional minutes of ad time to be sold by CBS, FOX and NBC during the playoffs leading up to the Super Bowl.

The extra ad space and two additional games played during the Wild Card round will generate millions of dollars in additional revenue for the teams and league in an effort to mitigate the revenue lost attributed to COVID-19. A spot during the wild card or divisional round is typically sold for as much as $1 million while ads during the conference championship games are sold for as much as $2 million. [The Wall Street Journal]

Employers across the United States cut 140,000 jobs in December, the Department of Labor announced. It marked the first net decline in payrolls since the COVID-19 pandemic began and followed five consecutive months in which hiring slowed. Many of the jobs cut were in the leisure and hospitality industries. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7%.

The economy lost nine million jobs in 2020, the greatest percentage loss since World War II. President Donald Trump will become the first president since Herbert Hoover to leave office with a net loss of jobs, with a net three million lost during his term in office. [The New York Times]

A Boeing 737-500 jet crashed shortly after takeoff Saturday near Indonesia capital Jakarta, killing more than 60 people on board. It’s unclear what caused the crash, but it marks the third fatal crash of a Boeing plane since 2018.

The Boeing 737-500 was developed in the 1980’s. The controversial Boeing 737 Max is the newer model that Boeing grounded last year following two crashes in a six-month span and estimated $18 billion in losses. The Boeing 737-500 has historically been safe to fly, having 19 fatal accidents in more than three decades of operation or one in four million departures. [The New York Times]

Numerous social media platforms suspended President Donald Trump’s account over a pattern of behavior that violated rules. Twitter’s ban on Trump comes after the attacks on the United States Capitol. The company says that the decision came due to “the risk of further incitement of violence.” The move comes after Facebook and Instagram banned Trump until after the inauguration.

Trump has continually used Twitter throughout his term in the White House to announce White House policy, attack rivals and widely spread misinformation. Dissenters of the ban accuse Twitter and other social media outlets of banning free speech. [NPR]

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All images credited to iStock