Economics in the News – Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2022
Economics impacts our lives every day. Below are some of the top storylines from this past week related to economics.
- Overcrowded and backed up ports and warehouses that have caused problems for the supply chain are unlikely to be resolved in 2022, according to experts. Over the last three months, container ships unloading goods have remained at American ports for seven days on average, an increase of four percent compared with all of 2021 and an increase of 21 percent since the start of the pandemic.
Supply chain woes are one of the reasons why the International Monetary Fund downgraded its forecast for economic growth for 2022 to 4.4 percent from 4.9 percent. [The New York Times]
- This week’s Super Bowl showdown between the hometown Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals will mark the eighth time in modern NFL history that Los Angeles has hosted a Super Bowl. Every year the Super Bowl is among the most watched events in the United States. The game generates enormous profits for businesses in the host cities, the municipalities, advertisers, the NFL, and even the players. Player Super Bowl bonuses have increased tenfold since the first Super Bowl in 1967.
How much of an economic impact does hosting a Super Bowl have for the host city? Super Bowl LVI is expected to bring a total economic impact estimated at $477 million in total for Los Angeles County. The city of Inglewood – the site of SoFi Stadium – is expected to collect between $23 million to $52 million in revenue. [Los Angeles Business Journal]
- The Winter Olympic Games opened Friday night in Beijing, becoming the second Olympic games in a six-month period after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the Summer Olympic Games for a year. Beijing becomes the first city to host both the winter and summer Olympic Games. Athletes Zhao Jiawen and Dinigeer Yilamujiang delivered the Olympic torch.
Leaders of some countries, including the United States, Australia, Great Britain and Canada, imposed a diplomatic boycott in protest of the unfair human rights treatment the Chinese government has placed upon the Uyghurs Muslim population. The lighting of the Olympic torch by Yilamujiang was especially noteworthy, as she is part of China’s Uyghurs Muslim population. [Associated Press]
- Parts of Europe have eased or lifted COVID-19 restrictions despite surges in cases. While the now-dominant Omicron variant is highly contagious, it is causing less severe disease, especially for the vaccinated. World leaders have been calling for a change in approach to the virus, including accepting it as part of everyday life. Still, if the coronavirus becomes an endemic, much like the seasonal flu, it would remain a threat.
The travel industry has seen a boost in the United States and Europe in recent weeks, as an increasing number of travelers say that the pandemic is no longer influencing their decision to travel. Many in the travel industry are optimistic that the opening will last, planning for a rebound and investing in new infrastructure. [The New York Times]
- The United States is considering whether or not to adopt a digital currency. The vision is of a cashless future that other countries, such as China and India, are already embracing. A digital dollar would be used similar to how apps or “digital wallets” are currently used on smartphones.
The Federal Reserve has begun laying out the advantages and disadvantages to a digital dollar. Some of the benefits would include reducing or eliminating fees and providing a digital wallet would allow those Americans without bank accounts to participate in an ever-increasing cashless society. The greatest challenges and threats would be privacy and cybersecurity. [NPR]