Higher Rock Education - Economics Blog

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Economics in the News – June 10-16, 2024

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

o   Prices of electric vehicles (EVs) in the United States have fallen in recent years but the prices lag behind the rest of the world. Even after a series of price cuts, the top-selling electric vehicle sedan in the United States, the Tesla Model 3, starts around $40,000. Meanwhile, in China, the BYD Seagull sells for roughly $10,000. The Dacia Spring starts at $20,000 in Europe, while the Renault Kwid e-Tech in Brazil costs $19,000.

Manufacturers in the US are changing their strategies from luxury to practicality, hoping to build a car for everyday Americans. Manufacturers are also racing to fend off Chinese imports which are currently the target of the 102.5 percent tariffs set by the US government. Several models are set to become available next year, including a re-designed Chevy Bolt which could be available for $26,500. Stellantis plans to launch a $25,000 electric Jeep Renegade. [Bloomberg]  

o   What are the most common jobs in the United States? In 2023, the most common profession was home health and personal care aide with just shy of 3.7 million workers and a median income of $33,530. Retail workers and fast-food workers finished just behind, as the second and third most popular jobs in America. The most popular high income job is general and operations managers with just more than 3.5 million workers. Rounding out the top five are cashiers with roughly 3.3 million workers and a $29,270 median salary.

Physicians are among America’s highest paid careers, with the average salary nearing $250,000. Dentists, chief executives and airline pilots are also among the highest paid. Among the lowest paid jobs in America are restaurant hosts and hostesses, fast-food cooks, gamblers, amusement and recreation park attendants, as well as shampooers. [The Washington Post]

o   Brazilians have long believed that they were a country that was free from natural disasters, such as hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes, and others. But extreme weather is becoming more prominent in Brazil, who recently had their worst drought in a century – a drought that devastated parts of the Amazon rainforest. Now, the country has been devastated with flooding.

Five months of rain fell over a course of 15 days in Rio Grande do Sul, submerging hundreds of towns. Economists projected the state’s cleanup and reconstruction efforts to be $20 billion to rebuild the infrastructure, as well as relocate homes and schools to higher ground. [The Wall Street Journal]  

o   Emerging nations are dealing with $29 trillion in public debt. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, 15 countries are spending more on interest payments than they are on education, while 46 countries spend more on debt payments than they do health care. Global government debt is four times what it was in 2000.

Part of the blame for government overspending is global crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic brought on a reduction in business profits and worker incomes, while the costs increased for health care and relief. Conflicts in the Ukraine and elsewhere contributed to rising energy prices, while central banks raised interest rates to combat inflation. Many economists and policymakers are coming to the belief that mechanisms and institutions that were created to deal with countries facing financial distress are simply not up to the task. [The New York Times

o   Cricket, the world’s second most popular sport, is gaining momentum in the United States. Last week, the United States pulled off the greatest upset in the sport’s history, beating power Pakistan in the Men’s T20 World Cup, which is being co-hosted by the United States and several Caribbean nations. Backers of Major League Cricket franchises in cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle are creating plans to build dedicated cricket stadiums.

Similarities exist between the newly established Major League Cricket and when Major League Soccer first began play 30 years ago. The season runs in between other global cricket leagues’ schedules, allowing for established international stars to play in the United States. Baseball evolved from cricket, and overtook it as the predominant game in the United States in the late 19th century. At its peak, thousands of cricket clubs operated across the United States. [The New York Times

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