Economics in the News - Feb. 8-14 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
Have you dreamed of turning your hobby into a job? Many workers who lost their job or stopped working during the COVID-19 pandemic turned to their favorite hobbies for work. Several new jobs include teaching others how to cook on YouTube, selling cupcakes and playing video games.

Yelp has recorded a 10 percent rise in new businesses during the pandemic after a period of eight months which nearly 100,000 businesses closing their doors. Etsy, the e-commerce website focused on craft supplies, reported a 42 percent increase in new sellers during the third quarter of 2020 compared to 2019. [The New York Times]

The latest electric vehicle (EV) will soon be available. General Motors has unveiled its latest Chevrolet Bolt compact SUV. The 2022 model will be available for customers beginning in the early summer months.

The Bolt brings the number of EV models in the United States to at least 23 with Edmonds.com expecting at least 30 electric vehicles to be on the market by the end of the year. The new Bolt is part of GM’s pledge to bring 30 new EV’s to the market and produce only EV models by 2035. [Associated Press]

Multiple stops and starts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have posed challenges for small restaurants and eateries to survive. The repeated closing and reopening make it difficult for small businesses to retain their customers and employees.

The latest data supplied by the Department of Labor showed that restaurants have lost 2.4 million jobs since the pandemic began. Some restaurants have had to get creative in order to safely maintain their customer base and stay open. In many areas of the country, owners have to be ready to adjust to remain compliant with the latest government regulations. [The Wall Street Journal]

The economy in the United Kingdom suffered its biggest contraction in more than 300 years in 2020. Gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 9.9 percent over the year, marking the sharpest decline among the Group of Seven advanced economies.

The U.K. kept restrictions on daily life and the economy in place for longer than many of its allies during the second quarter. The country last recorded a larger contraction in 1709 when GDP tumbled 13 percent during the Great Frost – an unusually cold winter. However, data showed that the economy in the U.K. grew at an annualized rate of 4 percent in the final quarter of 2020 and the Bank of England expects a sharp rebound in consumer spending during the second half of 2021. [The Wall Street Journal]

Did you give your significant other a bouquet of roses for Valentine’s Day? Chances are those roses came from Colombia – the No. 1 supplier of flowers to the United States.

Colombian flower farms sell an estimated $1.5 billion worth of roses and other flowers to the United States, Europe, and Asia. However, the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the industry by making the flowers harder to export this year. But suppliers adjusted by being some of the first to adopt safety measures, which helped limit the drop in flower exports to 5 percent last year. Analysts expect sales are to recover this year. [NPR]


All images credited to iStock