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Economics in the News - Oct. 5-11 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.

"There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: make the best quality goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." -- Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company.
The next time you sit down for a meal at a restaurant, you could be limited on time. Due to COVID-19, some restaurants have taken the initiative to limiting customers dining time anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours.

Restaurant patrons can be alerted of the time constraint when reserving their table, once they arrive at the restaurant, once they are seated. Some even have been reminded throughout their meal. The measure is to allow restaurants to serve more customers, as safety precautions from spreading the coronavirus has forced restaurants to adapt to serving fewer customers. [The Wall Street Journal]

The World Banks estimates that between 88 million to 114 million people have been thrown into world poverty during the COVID-19 pandemic this year. Those in poverty will be living on less than $1.90 a day or $700 a year, according to the organization.

The report noted that the pandemic was exasperating income inequality around the world with those in poor countries with less resources faring the worst. With the increase in poverty after years of decreasing poverty, the pandemic is expected to push global poverty to 2017 levels. The World Bank had hoped that it would reduce poverty to 3% by 2030, but now projects that 6.7% of the global population will live below the poverty line in 10 years. [The Wall Street Journal]

The costs of medical care in the United States continues to rise, even during the COVID-19 pandemic that has costs workers their jobs. The average annual cost of a family health plan this year is $21,342, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Workers paid, on average, nearly a quarter of the total premiums while employers picked up the remainder of the tab.

The increase in the cost of premiums and deductibles together has outpaced inflation and the growth of income among workers over the last decade. Many workers now face the prospect of losing their health coverage, amid company layoffs. The pandemic has also raised the need for better access for mental and behavior health services that are often not covered by insurance companies. [The New York Times]

The NFL is dealing with its first COVID-19 outbreak, forcing the league to postpone games and potentially threatening the remainder of the season. The league has had to make multiple scheduling adjustments over the last two weeks. Multiple players and team personnel from the Tennessee Titans and the New England Patriots have tested positive for coronavirus, including New England star quarterback Cam Newton and reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore.

The Titans have reported 21 positive cases and had to postpone their originally scheduled Oct. 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The NFL is also investigating an informal, impermissible workout at a local high school put together by some of the team’s players while the team facility was closed, and players were asked to quarantine. [The Washington Post]

When Hurricane Delta made landfall on the Gulf Coast near Lake Charles, La., late last week, it was the latest in a record-breaking year in natural disasters. Hurricane Delta was the latest of 16 climate-related disasters that caused at least $1 billion in damages. It’s already a record with three months remaining in 2020.

In addition to Hurricane Delta, the wildfire in California known as the August Complex became the first known gigafire – a distinction for a fire that burns more than 1 million acres – in modern history. It’s covered roughly 25% of the 4 million-plus acres of land that have burned this year. [Bloomberg]

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All images from iStock