Higher Rock Education - Economics Blog

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Economics in the News – July 1-7, 2024 

Economics impacts our lives every day. Below are some of the top storylines from this past week related to economics.

o   Young couples often make the decision to move in together, even after only a short time of dating. For many, the high housing costs is often cited as the primary reasoning. According to a Realtor.com survey, 80 percent of Gen Z respondents and 76 percent of millennial respondents said that finances or logistics had contributed to their decision to live together.

Experts suggest that while splitting the cost of rent and other utility bills has its benefits, moving in together too soon can cause issues if a couple doesn’t already have a good understanding of each other’s communication styles and conflict-resolution skills. While moving in together can improve communication, not all relationships survive after moving in together too soon. [The New York Times

o   High prices and major national debts are fueling political turmoil on a global scale. Kenyans are protesting over a proposed tax increase which resulted in deaths, abductions and part destruction of the Parliament. A Bolivian military general led a failed coup attempt due to gas shortages causing gas lines. The far-right party surged in support in France after months of road blockades by farmers over low wages and rising costs.

A common thread between each of the disturbances is rising inequality, diminished purchasing power and growing anxiety that the next generation will be worse off than this one. Because of that, many citizens have lost faith in the ability of their governments to cope with those who face a grim financial future. Even in the United States, the largest share of voters said the economy was the election’s most important issue. [The New York Times]

o   Older Americans are emerging as major drivers of the economy. Their stock portfolios, retirement savings, and paid-off houses have boomed in value over decades of growth. Americans aged 55 and over control nearly 70 percent of household wealth, according to the Federal Reserve. That compares to just 50 percent in 1989. Instead of working, attention can be devoted to golf, concerts, and brunch.

Most cities seek to focus their attention on attracting young families, but in Georgetown, Texas – America’s fastest growing city in the United States – baby boomers are leading the way. The city has also benefitted by overflow from Austin and its rapid, tech-driven expansion. Other states, such as Florida, Arizona, Georgia and the Carolinas have gained a net half-million people over the age of 55, as more communities cater to baby boomers. [The Wall Street Journal]

o   How often do you apply sunscreen in the heat of the summer? Roughly 69 percent of Americans applied sunscreen at least occasionally in 2020, up nearly 10 percent from 60 percent who applied sunscreen in 2000, according to the National Health Interview Survey.

Women are more than twice as likely as men to always wear sunscreen when they go out in the sun for over an hour. White Americans are almost four times more likely to wear it than their African American friends. Melanoma is the fifth most common form of cancer in white Americans, while it is the 35th most common in African Americans and more than four times more than any other race. But there is other reason to wear skin protection in the sun, including avoiding other UV-relation skin problems. [The Washington Post

o   With the explosion of online shopping over the last decade, retailers and consumer goods manufacturers have moved to upgrade their supply chains. They’ve wanted centralized locations to receive and store products that are close to population centers and connected to major transportation networks. That brings rural America into focus with ease of multiple interstates and can easily connect an entire region.

In central Pennsylvania, warehousing has become a popular career choice, especially for those who opt not to attend college. A generation ago, similar opportunities in the area would have led to farming, the military or manufacturing. Nationwide, employment in warehousing and storage has tripled from 2010 to 2022, to 1.9 million employees. Some are concerned that warehouse jobs are disrupting the balance of the economy, with wages and benefits far superior to other entry-level jobs. [Bloomberg

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