Economics in the News – May 8-15, 2022
Economics impacts our lives every day. Below are some of the top storylines from this past week related to economics.
- The Colorado River stretches 1,450 miles from the Rocky Mountains to the Sea of Cortez. It serves 40 million people across seven states, 30 federally recognized tribes and Mexico. Now the demand for water from the Colorado River exceeds supply, as supply drops amid a growing population, megadrought and rising temperatures.
Earlier this month, the federal government held back water from Lake Powell – the nation’s second-largest reservoir – in an emergency move due to the water being at a historic low. States and cities are scrambling to protect the most severe impacts on growth, farming, drinking water and electricity. [The Washington Post]
- Just as Tesla disrupted the automobile industry with electric cars, start-up manufacturers are hoping to replicate the same success in the boating, cycling and lawn and garden industries. In some categories, battery-powered equipment is gaining market share faster than electric cars.
The benefits to buying electric equipment could be advantageous. They are noisy and often use lower-quality fuel. A gas-powered lawn mower generates as much pollution as a 300-mile car trip, according to the California Air Resources Board. Electric lawn and garden equipment have accounted for 17 percent of the market in the United States. So far, major manufacturers have been slow to go electric and battery-powered equipment create technological challenges for designers. [The New York Times]
- Many young adults under the age of 35 are spending more to pursue their passions, while saving less money for tomorrow. A recent study by Fidelity Investments found that 55 percent of adults aged from 18-35 have put retirement planning on hold. Forty-five percent in the same age group are not planning to save until the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic and the political climate return to normal.
For some, the motivation to ward off saving comes from a decision to enjoy the moment that was triggered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other reasons include worries over societal issues, such as climate change, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, political instability in the United States, soaring inflation and the soaring costs of housing. [The New York Times]
- The United States COVID-19 death toll has eclipsed the 1 million mark. It’s roughly equal to the number of Americans who died in the Civil War and World War I combined. The death toll is based on data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics but is believed by many experts to be far higher.
New cases of COVID-19 are on the rise, with about 86,000 new diagnoses per day -- climbing more than 60 percent in the last two weeks. Demand for the vaccine has plummeted, but two-thirds of Americans are fully vaccinated with half of those vaccinated having received at least one booster. According to the CDC, an unvaccinated person has a 10 times greater risk of dying than a fully vaccinated person. [Associated Press]
- More than two decades ago, Apple’s iPod helped revolutionize the music industry. The tech giant announced that it will be discontinuing the iPod, selling the iPod Touch only while supplies last. The iPod was released by Apple in 2001 and it helped expand Apple’s reach from computers into other personal devices.
As smartphones have become more sophisticated and music is commonly streamed rather than accessed through paid downloads, iPod sales diminished. For many, the iPod was their first introduction to Apple. [The Wall Street Journal]