Economics in the News – Nov. 1-7, 2021
Economics impacts our lives every day. Below are some of the top storylines from this past week related to economics.
- Retail stores are scrambling to find temporary workers in anticipation for the upcoming busy holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation predicts record holiday sales and has forecast that retailers will hire between 500,000 and 665,000 temporary workers. Only 486,000 were hired last year due to the pandemic.
Companies are using perks to attract employees, as challenges in enticing workers remain due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses are offering higher wages, fewer hours and bonuses. Some companies are paying employees bonuses if they recruit someone to join the company. [The New York Times]
- The House of Representatives have passed President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill. The bill now heads to the President’s desk for signing. The Senate had previously passed the bill in August.
The bill will fund repairs to the nation’s roads, bridges and highways, while improving public transportation. A large component of the bill is comprised to assist America’s efforts to fight climate change, including investment in electric vehicles (EV) and expansion of the EV charging stations networks. [Associated Press]
- Get ready for higher heating bills this winter. The price of natural gas – used to heat nearly half of the homes in the United States – has nearly doubled in the last year. The price of crude oil – used in around 10 percent of homes – has seen a similar spike.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has suggested a milder-than-average winter season. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects a 15 percent spike in heating bills for those who rely on electricity, while those using natural gas can expect a 50 percent hike. Households using propane to heat should expect a whopping 94 percent spike. [The New York Times]
- The United States re-opened its borders with Canada and Mexico Monday morning and lifted its restrictions for most of Europe. The lifting of restrictions allows travelers from other countries to travel to the United States for the first time since the beginning stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. But those traveling passengers can provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.
The travel ban did not impact American citizens from traveling back into the country, but limited tourists and business travelers. Airlines are expecting a surge in flying, especially from European countries. [Associated Press]
- Spectators can now track runners in the New York City marathon remotely. The annual marathon was held in-person Sunday, Nov. 7 for the first time since 2019, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The marathon was held virtually in 2020.
The app, provided by Tata Consultancy Services, allows users to track runners on a live map. Virtual participants, who have been allowed to participate since 2018, can also be tracked at progress points equivalent to the New York City event. [The Wall Street Journal]