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Economics in the News - Sept. 27-Oct. 3, 2021 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
The United States postal service has implemented systemwide changes that include service slowdowns and price increases. As a result, families and businesses will see slower deliveries for their mail. The changes are part of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year plan designed to cut costs and raise new revenue to fix the organization’s financial problems.

As of Oct. 1, a piece of first-class mail will take between two to five days to be delivered anywhere in the country -- an increase on the prior standard of three days. The USPS plans to cut down on its air transportation that it previously used, and instead utilize drivers for mail traveling across the country. In addition, the USPS plans to increase rates on everything and adjust those rates two times per year. [The Washington Post]

Expanded unemployment benefits for those who lost their job during the COVID-19 pandemic expired one month ago. But families are still struggling to pay the bills, including rent and mortgage payments. Meanwhile, businesses and property owners are struggling to hire after the workforce has changed in fundamental ways.

The Washington Post examines the situations of numerous people from across the United States that remain under economic stress and demonstrates how far the economic recovery still needs to go. [The Washington Post]

As schools welcome students back to campus, many school districts are facing a shortage of cafeteria lunch supplies. Supply chain issues causing slow deliveries, labor shortages, a lack of truck drivers and fewer cafeteria staff have all played a role in a shortage of cafeteria supplies in many school districts.

A recent survey indicated that 97 percent of school meal program directors reported having concerns about supply-chain disruptions. Some school districts are resorting to sending staff to wholesale grocery stores, such as Sam’s Club or Costco, to buy enough food to feed students. But many of the supplies coming from those stores don’t meet federal nutrition guidelines, since they contain higher levels of sodium and fat. [The New York Times]

How will movie theaters adapt post COVID-19? After shutting down in 2020 due to the pandemic, theaters eventually reopened but had trouble regaining an audience as individuals and families preferred at-home streaming services for entertainment. Studios in Hollywood also delayed films or released films simultaneously to streaming platforms.

Movie theater operators are looking for ways to adapt. One movie theater in suburban Detroit decided to change its pricing model. Charging customers $20 to $25, for an all-inclusive service that bundled the movie ticket with concession items. The lesson learned is that consumer habits are hard to change. [The Wall Street Journal]

The 2007 law passed by Congress created a Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program that was supposed to help those that spent a decade in a public service erase their student-loan debt. Instead, 98 percent of applicants to get relief have been told their ineligible for the program.

The program promises to cancel their student-loan debt after a person in public service reaches 120 payments. But loans were denied due to technicalities and lines written within the fine print. 60 Minutes investigated the issue, as student debt remains a burden for millions of Americans. [60 Minutes]

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All images credited to iStock.