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Economics in the News - June 14-20 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
When was the last time you took an Uber or Lyft? As the economy has rebounded and people return to their former routines, consumers have been surprised at the higher prices for the ride-hailing services. A recent analysis by the research firm Rakuten Intelligence found that the cost of a ride was 37 percent higher in March than it was a year ago.

Prices and wait times at Uber and Lyft are up because the two companies have struggled to find drivers to meet the demand. Both companies have offered their drivers – treated as contractors – incentives, such as a higher commission for a ride with a ‘price surge’, along with cash bonuses for completing a certain number of rides. [The New York Times]

Businesses and consumers have had to adjust to a new landscape that includes higher prices, fewer workers, new innovations and inconveniences, as the United States economy continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

While unemployment and inflation remain higher than they were prior to the pandemic, a new era has arrived for greater worker power, higher housing costs and new ways of conducting business. [The Washington Post]

President Joe Biden has signed legislation that creates a new federal holiday to commemorates the end of slavery. Juneteenth or June 19 is commemorates June 19, 1865, the day where Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas.

Juneteenth becomes the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. Many schools across the country were closed Friday to celebrate. The federal Office of Personnel Management announced that most federal employees would observe the holiday. Meanwhile, banks and other businesses remained open, as what it means for workers varies greatly. [The New York Times]

A global chip shortage is pushing prices on items such as printers and laptops. The price increases are due to suppliers rushing to meet a demand, as chip makers are raising their prices due to a shortage of materials.

Chip executives maintain that they are passing on the costs to make chips onto the consumer instead of trying to profit. A number of factors are contributing to the price hike and chip shortage, including a record number of laptops bought to work and study during the pandemic. [The Wall Street Journal]

Bike sales surged during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, as Americans sought bicycles as a safe, socially distanced form of exercise and mode of transportation.

Bike sales in 2020 saw $6.9 billion spent on bicycles and accessories, an increase from $6.1 billion the year prior. The surge has continued into 2021, as bicycle sales and accessories on pace for $8.2 billion by the end of the year. [World Economic Forum]

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All images credited to iStock