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Economics in the News - April 19-25 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
Nearly two-thirds of produce grown in the United States comes from California, but climate change and extreme weather conditions including wildfires and droughts threaten the nation’s food supply. In the next five years, it’s estimated that the agriculture sector could lose up to $17 billion in climate-related losses.

The World Wildlife Fund is working on a research program in the Mid-Mississippi Delta Region as part of an effort to broaden America’s food chain and produce grown outside California. The Mid-Mississippi Delta Region already grows produce such as watermelon, berries and tomatoes, but the production would need to be increased to a commercial scale. Another hurdle in the project is that the Delta region lacks trained laborers needed for mass production. [CBS News]

The streaming wars are headed overseas. The US market is saturated, and companies see enormous opportunities overseas. Tech companies with their own streaming platforms such as Netflix, Disney and Amazon, are investing billions of dollars to create culturally specific content in the local language to lure subscribers.

The number of streaming subscriptions world-wide exceeded 1.1 billion last year spurred in part by the COVID-19 pandemic that kept consumers at home. Netflix is producing new content targeted for outside the United States, including a $500 million investment to create South Korean local-language specific content. Disney is growing its new content based overseas for its Disney+ platform, targeted toward many of its 100 million international subscribers. Meanwhile, Amazon has doubled its local-language productions each year since 2017. [The Wall Street Journal]

As Americans are booking vacation plans, purchasing airplane seats and hotel rooms, the cruise industry remains stalled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cruise companies are fighting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) about their rules to begin sailing again along U.S. shores, arguing that the C.D.C. is treating the industry unfairly after the severity of outbreaks on ships last year.

In response, some cruise lines are moving their ships abroad to launch from foreign ports in which they are allowed to continue service, including ports in the Caribbean and Europe. Many of the cruise lines require that all adult passengers and crew members to be vaccinated. [The New York Times]

Hiring has rebounded for Americans with college degrees. However, those without a college degree or high school diploma continue to struggle to find jobs. In March, the economy added 916,000 jobs with only 7,000 of those going to workers who have a high school diploma but no college degree.

The service industries hire most of the unskilled workers, and service companies have been the most adversely impacted by the pandemic. Economists are concerned about the trend, as service sector businesses have reopened. The longer low-skilled workers are out of a job, the more difficult it becomes for them to find a job. [The Washington Post]

Health experts in the United States lifted the pause on the Johnson & Johnson single dose COVID-19 vaccine after scientists decided that its benefits outweighed the rare risk of a blood clot. The decision in the U.S. comes after European regulators had already made a similar conclusion to end the pause of the vaccine.

Of the eight million to receive the vaccine, 15 women – all under the age of 50 – developed a rare blood clot. The rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will ultimately have an impact on other countries that haven’t had as much access to vaccination supplies and the pledge by President Joe Biden's administration to provide one billion doses globally this year. [Associated Press]

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All images credited to iStock