Economics in the News – May 25-31
Economics impacts our lives every day. Below are some of the top storylines from this past week in economic news.
- An estimated 2.1 million workers applied for unemployment benefits for the week ending May 23, bringing the total to 41 million people since containment measures caused by the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses to shut down in mid-March. Many economists expect a May unemployment rate of 20 percent, surpassing the 14.7 percent unemployment rate in April – the highest since the Great Depression. [Los Angeles Times]
- The first United States privately designed, owned and operated spacecraft had a successful launch Saturday, May 30. Founded by Elon Musk, SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 rocket to space for the first launch of an American crew since the space shuttle program ended nine years ago. The launch took place at Kennedy Space Center with astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken aboard. [CBS News]
- Added costs and fewer customers is the situation restaurants confront as cities reopen across the United States. With social distancing guidelines in place, restaurants are limited to 50 percent capacity or less and many have put up plexiglass to assist in separating customers. [Wall Street Journal]
- Income rose, but spending decreased. Largely because of government stimulus checks, personal incomes rose 10.5% in April. However, consumer spending dipped 13.6 percent since Americans stayed home and many businesses remained closed. [New York Times]
- Most economists believe the current recession will be short and comparisons to the Great Depression are unwarranted. Nobel laureate, Robert Shiller disagrees, and references may similarities including high unemployment and a fear that long-term unemployment will lead people to restrain spending. Even the responses of former President Herbert Hoover and current President Donald Trump are comparable. [The New York Times]