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.
With millions of Americans laid off and without work, many will be looking to new careers. Two-year community colleges could bridge a gap and partner with employers and innovators to train workers for a new job. Google has partnered with more than 100 community colleges to offer training for careers in information technology.

The United States spends less than other developed countries on job search assistance and training programs. During the Great Recession, for-profit online programs benefited from students looking for career training, while leaving them with the burden of significant student loan debt. Community colleges are less expensive than for-profit online programs and often provide a good return on investment for the student and community. [The New York Times]

Many companies that are reopening are facing a dilemma in prioritizing which employees they should first bring back to the office. Many of these companies are making their decisions based upon technology, local regulations and employee sentiment. Some of these companies have to prioritize whose jobs are more difficult to work from home.

Companies remain wary of the liability issues if workers get COVID-19 while on the job. IBM developed tools to be used both internally and by clients to use local public health information to help determine who should be the first back to the office. Other companies are allowing their workers to voluntarily work from the office in limited capacities. [The Wall Street Journal]

The Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve’s monetary policymakers, is concerned the recovery is slowing. They pledged to continue supporting the economic recovery by keeping interest rates near zero.

The Fed anticipates the job market will continue to improve and project that unemployment will fall from its current level of 8.4% to 7.6% by the end of the year. [NPR]

More than 300,000 seafarers that carry cargo and play an important role in trade have been stranded for months at sea. The safety of the seafarers and the global supply chain is at risk in time for the upcoming holiday season for retailers.

With travel bans implemented for countries around the world limiting air travel, swapping crew has become difficult leaving seafarers on their ships for months at a time. Many of those workers have contracts that have expired months ago with no inclination whether they will receive bonus pay. More than 120 countries and territories in the world have stopped or limited access to ships to prevent the spread of COVID-19. [Bloomberg]

Multiple wildfires in California, two hurricanes and a derecho storm. Four natural disasters have cost an estimated $1 billion each during the month of August, according to scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The four natural disasters in August were not a record but point to a growing problem with climate change that will have a greater economic impact over time. Natural disasters could damage home values, increase insurance premiums, limit state tourism and lower tax revenues while draining the state and national budgets. [The New York Times]


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