Economics in the News – May 18-24
Economics impacts our lives every day. Below are some of the top storylines from this past week in economic news.
- Car rental company Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection. The combination of a plummeting demand resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, inadequate cash reserves, and a $24 billion debt load has been too much for Hertz to handle. Hertz joins J.C. Penney, Nieman Marcus, J. Crew, and Stage Stores as some of the larger publicly recognized companies to be pushed into bankruptcy during the coronavirus crisis. [The Associated Press]
- Melissa Dell, the 2020 John Bates Clark Medal recipient for being one of the top economists under the age of 40 in the United States, has studied poverty throughout her career. Most of her research has centered on why poverty persists in many areas of the world and how an area’s past can determine its economic development in present. [NPR Indicator for Planet Money]
- As the United States and other countries around the world reopen their economies, more people will be heading back to work. In an effort to safely allow for employees to return to work, businesses are looking at testing for coronavirus. With minimum guidelines in place, companies must decide how to go about testing, with companies such as Amazon planning to spend $1 billion on testing its work force. Other companies are planning to limit testing to taking temperatures. Still others are not testing at all. [The New York Times]
- More than 2.4 million people filed for unemployment during the week ending May 23 in the United States. In the two months since the coronavirus began to impact American businesses, nearly 39 million people have applied for unemployment benefits. [The Associated Press]
- The coronavirus has forced millions to work from home. It is likely that trend will continue. Many companies are discovering that allowing their employees to work from home has not adversely impacted productivity. In some cases, efficiency has increased. It also saves many companies rent. However, employees working from home may be more likely to be overlooked for a promotion than a more visible employee who is at the office. [BBC]