Economics in the News – Dec. 2-8
Economics impacts our lives every day. Below are some of the top storylines from this past week in economic news.
- What areas of the United States economy have been most impacted by the tariffs? NPR details that manufacturing and farming have perhaps seen the largest negative effect of the tariffs with many factory workers losing their jobs. Meanwhile, farm bankruptcies jumped 24%, to their highest level since 2011.
- Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have stepped down from their respective roles of CEO and president of Alphabet, the parent company of the tech giant. The Washington Post reports that both men will no longer be involved in day-to-day operations but will keep their board seats. Sundar Pichai will step in as the company’s new CEO.
- Have you noticed that the prices of Christmas trees are higher this holiday season? Christmas trees are experiencing a shortage this year and, according to Bloomberg ($), it can be traced back to the 2008 Great Recession. The crisis in 2008 forced the closure of many farms and underplanting of seeds, causing the average price to rise to more than $78 per tree.
- The United States job market strengthened in November, as unemployment fell to a near record low. The Wall Street Journal ($) reports that 226,000 people were added to payrolls and the 3.5% unemployment rate matches September as the lowest rate since 1969, as outlined by the U.S. Labor Department.
- The Trump administration announced that it will tighten work requirements to get food stamps, leaving hundreds of thousands ineligible for the program. The Wall Street Journal ($) reports that the rule will take effect April 1, 2020 and will save the government billions of dollars.
- Consumers continue to fuel the growth of the U.S. economy with strong sales from Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However, according to Bloomberg ($), the reliance of strong numbers in consumer spending can be a warning sign for the economy. Consumer spending peaked in mid-2018 and business cycles are typically driven by investment in housing and business, both of which have been in decline.