Economics in the News - March 22-28 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 large cargo ship was wedged in the Suez Canal for five days, before being dislodged early Monday. The MV Ever Green is 1,312 feet long with a maximum capacity of 20,000 containers. It is one of the world’s largest container vessels and is operated by a Taiwanese transport company. A large gust of wind is believed to be partly to blame, but an investigation is needed to determine the cause of the blockage.

About 12 percent of global trade passes through the canal on a daily basis, including roughly one million barrels of oil. Trade passing through the canal contributed two percent of Egypt’s GDP prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Moody’s. The stranded ship was blocking roughly $9.6 billion of trade each day. [BBC]

Some economists remain concerned that inflation will rise above the Federal Reserve’s two percent target. Economists believe that maximizing employment while limiting inflation will be a test for the Fed.

The New York Times interviewed 10 economists who provide different perspectives on what an overheating economy would look like and how we would recognize if their worries are coming to fruition. [The New York Times]

Vignesh Sundaresan and Anand Venkateswaran made headlines when they bought a digital artwork piece for nearly $70 million. The digital artwork, known as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs -- is tweaked using cryptocurrency technology known as blockchain, making it one of a kind and highly sought after by collectors.

The $70 million sale marked the most expensive NFT sale and started a conversation about their addition to the digital landscape. The NFT market has taken off in recent years growing to $250 million in sales last year. [Associated Press]

What did you do to safely stay active during the COVID-19 pandemic? Millions of Americans spent more time outdoors in 2020 than prior to the pandemic. Bike sales were up 65 percent. Electric bike sales climbed 145 percent. Golf equipment, camping equipment and boat sales also increased.

Some companies, such as Garmin International, specializing in navigation and fitness technology, hope that a society shift to the outdoors presents a greater opportunity. Garmin, who had its best year ever in 2020 with sales climbing 11 percent over 2019, is encouraged, as customers are more willing to branch out and try new activities. [NPR]

Many economists believe that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour from its current rate of $7.25 by 2025 would reduce the number of available jobs, making it more challenging for teens to gain experience in work.

COVID-19 hit teen employment hard. It peaked at almost 32 percent in April 2020 compared to 14.8 percent for the overall population. By February, teen unemployment had fallen to 13.9 percent, while national unemployment has fallen to 6.2%. The increase in the minimum wage has the potential to hurt them even more since the impact would be longer-lasting than COVID-19. [The Wall Street Journal]


All images credited to iStock