Economics in the News – Jan. 24-30, 2022
Economics impacts our lives every day. Below are some of the top storylines from this past week related to economics.
- As climate change brings about stronger, more severe weather, the job for meteorologists has evolved. For decades, the local weatherman provided a respite for news anchors covering the daily news. That has evolved, as many TV meteorologists are using their platforms to cover, perhaps, the most serious story of our time in climate change and the impact of the warming of ocean waters.
With more destructive weather, TV meteorologists have an ever-increasing presence to the viewer that allows them to educate viewers of the reality and severity of warmer ocean waters and climate change. [The New York Times]
- Since President Joe Biden issued a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, American multinational corporations face mounting pressure to condemn China’s human rights violations. However, many of those businesses will be sponsors at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, arguing that the Olympics shouldn’t be politicized and that they’ve already spent millions of dollars on deals spanning multiple Olympics.
Businesses are faced with a dilemma of either jeopardizing access to China by angering the Chinese government, or dealing with the reputational risk associated with conducting business. For many international companies, the Olympics presents an opportunity to capture the attention of more than a billion consumers worldwide. [The New York Times]
- Sharp rental increases have forced millions of Americans to reassess their living situations. The average cost of rent increased 14 percent last year with it expected to climb another 10 percent this year. Some cities, such as Austin, New York and Miami, have seen rent increases of as much as 40 percent in 2021.
According to an analysis of 2018 census data by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, one in four households spend more than half of their monthly income on rent. Experts say that figure is even higher since the pandemic. Higher rent prices are expected to be a key driver of inflation in the coming months. [The Washington Post]
- The rate of people quitting jobs in education rose more than any other industry in 2021, according to federal data. Many of those teachers are burned out from juggling the stresses associated with changing COVID-19 protocols, as well as difficult parents, students and administrators.
Many of the teachers are leaving for private-sector jobs and better pay and benefits. Schools are already facing ongoing staff shortages compounded with COVID-19-related absences. The former teachers make an attractive job candidate in industries such as IT services and software development due to their ability to absorb and transmit information quickly, manage stress and multitask. [The Wall Street Journal]
- The SAT exam is going digital. The format change is expected to roll out internationally next year and in the United States in 2024. Administrators claim that the move will boost the relevancy of the test after more colleges and universities made standardized tests optional for admission.
Test-takers will be allowed to use their own laptop or device, but the test will still be monitored at an official testing site or school. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a trend in which the SAT and ACT carried less weight than in the past for students applying to college. Nearly 80 percent of bachelor-granting institutions are not requiring standardized test scores from students applying for the fall of 2022. Colleges and universities, instead, pay more attention to student achievements and activities throughout high school. [Associated Press]