Economics in the News - May 17-23 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
A new electric version of the America’s top-selling vehicle will soon be coming to a dealership near you. Ford unveiled a new electric F-150 truck, dubbed as the F-150 Lightning. The truck will be available in showrooms by next spring and will be able to travel up to 300 miles per charge and tow up to 10,000 pounds.

The new EV F-150 comes at a time when Ford and other automakers are pledging to manufacture more electric vehicle to reduce carbon emissions. Automakers now sell 18 EV’s in the United States with 30 expected to be on the market by year’s end. Ford’s F-Series, meanwhile, generates $42 billion in revenue for the Dearborn, Mich., company. [Associated Press]

As COVID-19 decimated many restaurants, business owners became more innovative and used food trucks as substitutes during the pandemic. Food trucks are essentially kitchens on wheels and can easily reach numerous client bases by traveling to them.

Food trucks are ideal for customers who are uncomfortable dining indoors and covet ordering food. Technology from ordering food along with a presence on social media has allowed food trucks to reach their customers. It has helped many significantly increase their sales. [The New York Times]

AT&T has agreed to merge its WarnerMedia assets with Discovery to form a new, publicly-traded company. The new company hasn’t been named yet. With the deal, AT&T would retreat from the media business with the latest news coming after AT&T sold 30 percent of its stake of DirecTV earlier this year.

WarnerMedia includes cable channels such as HBO, CNN, TNT and TBS, while the Discovery portfolio includes Discover channel and HGTV. It’s unclear how the deal will impact the HBO Max and Discovery+ streaming services. The two could remain separate or be combined to form a larger video library. [The Wall Street Journal]

American companies are producing roughly the same amount of goods and services as they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are 8.2 million fewer workers and many companies are having difficulty finding workers with the needed skills. With fewer workers, executives have had to innovate and accelerate the use of artificial intelligence, advanced software and industrial robots.

Automated systems have become increasingly capable during the past decade. E-commerce businesses have explored deliveries by self-driving machines. The automation is allowing companies to keep up with demand and fill orders they otherwise would have to turn down. The World Economic Forum last year forecast that automation would lead to a net gain of 12 million jobs with the elimination of 85 million and the creation of 97 million. [The Washington Post]

Faced with the world’s worst COVID-19 crisis, India’s outsourcing firms that work with the largest companies in the world are balancing the health of their employees and ensuring that their work gets done. The IT companies are trying to help sick employees to get the medical attention and vaccines that are scarce. Work capacity in Indian-based companies are estimated to have been down 30 percent in recent weeks.

India has been decimated with more than 25 million COVID-19 cases and 280,000 deaths. India’s IT and business-processing industry generates more than $180 billion and employees 4.5 million people. It helps provide a path into the middle class for Indian workers. [The Wall Street Journal]


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