Friday, January 21News That Matters

Tag: Shortages

Spike in Inflation Reignites Debate on Price Controls

Business
In a recent survey of 41 academic economists conducted by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, 61 percent said that price controls similar to those imposed in the 1970s would fail to “successfully reduce U.S. inflation over the next 12 months.” Others said the policy might bring down inflation in the short-term but would lead to shortages or other problems.“Price controls can of course control prices — but they’re a terrible idea!” David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in response to the survey.Have price controls worked in the past?In August 1971, with consumer prices rising at their fastest pace since the Korean War, Mr. Nixon announced that he was imposing a 90-day freeze on most wages, prices and rents. Once the freeze ended, com...

CPI December 2021: Inflation Jumped at Fastest Pace Since 1982

Business
Inflation climbed to its highest level in 40 years at the end of 2021, a troubling development for President Biden and economic policymakers as rapid price gains erode consumer confidence and cast a shadow of uncertainty over the economy’s future.The Consumer Price Index climbed 7 percent in the year through December, and 5.5 percent after stripping out volatile prices such as food and fuel. The last time the main inflation index eclipsed 7 percent was 1982.Policymakers have spent months waiting for inflation to fade, hoping supply chain problems might ease and allow companies to catch up with booming consumer demand. Instead, continued waves of the coronavirus have locked down factories, and shipping companies have struggled to work through extended backlogs as consumers continue to buy f...
United Airlines Cuts Flights as Workers Call Out Sick

United Airlines Cuts Flights as Workers Call Out Sick

Business
But the change in health guidance would not give airlines much relief, at least not right away. The weather — and the flight cancellations — continued to get worse, peaking on Jan. 3, when airlines canceled more than 3,100 flights, or about 13 percent of all scheduled trips. It wasn’t until Monday that the number of daily flight cancellations fell below 1,000. In recent days, airlines have canceled many flights proactively to get a better handle on their operations and avoid surprising customers with last-minute changes.Updated Jan. 11, 2022, 5:30 p.m. ETBad weather and staffing problems hit different airlines at different times. Since Christmas, SkyWest Airlines, which operates shorter flights for major carriers, including United, has canceled more than 5,100 trips, more than any oth...

Why Tesla Soared as Other Automakers Struggled to Make Cars

Technology
For much of last year, established automakers like General Motors and Ford Motor operated in a different reality from Tesla, the electric car company.G.M. and Ford closed one factory after another — sometimes for months on end — because of a shortage of computer chips, leaving dealer lots bare and sending car prices zooming. Yet Tesla racked up record sales quarter after quarter and ended the year having sold nearly twice as many vehicles as it did in 2020 unhindered by an industrywide crisis.Tesla’s ability to conjure up critical components has a greater significance than one year’s car sales. It suggests that the company, and possibly other young electric car businesses, could threaten the dominance of giants like Volkswagen and G.M. sooner and more forcefully than most industry executiv...
In Omicron Hot Spots, Hospitals Fill Up, but I.C.U.s May Not

In Omicron Hot Spots, Hospitals Fill Up, but I.C.U.s May Not

Technology
In hospitals around the country, doctors are taking notice: This wave of Covid seems different from the last one.Once again, as they face the highly contagious Omicron variant, medical personnel are exhausted and are contracting the virus themselves. And the numbers of patients entering hospitals with the variant are surging to staggering levels, filling up badly needed beds, delaying nonemergency procedures and increasing the risk that vulnerable uninfected patients will catch the virus.But in Omicron hot spots from New York to Florida to Texas, a smaller proportion of those patients are landing in intensive care units or requiring mechanical ventilation, doctors said. And many — roughly 50 to 65 percent of admissions in some New York hospitals — show up at the hospital for other ailments...
Toyota Topped G.M. in U.S. Car Sales in 2021

Toyota Topped G.M. in U.S. Car Sales in 2021

Business
Toyota Motor unseated General Motors as the top-selling automaker in the United States last year, becoming the first manufacturer based outside the country to achieve that feat in the industry’s nearly 120-year history.That milestone underlines the changes shaking automakers, which face strong competition and external forces as they move into electric vehicles. And it came in a tumultuous and strange year in which automakers contended with an accelerating shift to electric vehicles and struggled with profound manufacturing challenges. New car sales have been damped by a severe shortage of computer chips that forced automakers to idle plants even though demand for cars has been incredibly robust.G.M., Ford Motor and Stellantis, the automaker created by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peuge...
Job Openings Report Shows Record Number of Workers Quit in November

Job Openings Report Shows Record Number of Workers Quit in November

Business
There are signs that the worst of the turbulence was beginning to ease late last year. The number of job openings posted by employers fell in November, the Labor Department said Tuesday, though it remained high by historical standards. Hiring picked up, too. Earlier data showed that more people returned to the labor force in November, and various measures of supply-chain pressures have begun to ease.But that was before the explosion in coronavirus cases linked to the Omicron variant, which has forced airlines to cancel flights, businesses to delay return-to-office plans and school districts to return temporarily to remote learning. Forecasters say the latest Covid-19 wave is all but certain to prolong the economic uncertainty, though it is too soon to say how it will affect inflation, spen...
More Than 750 U.S. Flights Canceled on Wednesday

More Than 750 U.S. Flights Canceled on Wednesday

Business
Airlines canceled more than 900 flights in and out of U.S. airports on Wednesday, a sign of continuing stress for the industry and travelers ahead of the New Year’s holiday weekend.The problems began to mount the day before Christmas as carriers contended with staffing shortages driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus, as well as foul winter weather. Cancellations peaked on Sunday, when more than 1,500 flights to, from or within the United States — more than 6 percent of scheduled flights — were scrubbed, according to FlightAware.On Tuesday, airlines canceled nearly 1,300 flights, led by United Airlines, which grounded about 6 percent of its trips, and Delta Air Lines, which canceled 4 percent of its schedule.The cancellations come during one of the busiest times fo...

PCE Index Hit Highest Level in November Since 1982

Business
Whether the 2021 price burst teaches households to expect higher inflation going forward is critically important. From the Fed’s perspective, there is a risk that climbing inflation expectations could touch off an upward spiral in wages and prices, as people seek bigger raises to cover their climbing costs.For the Biden administration, inflation worries threaten to unsettle voters, who are unhappy about paying more to get by.Inflation F.A.Q.Card 1 of 6What is inflation? Inflation is a loss of purchasing power over time, meaning your dollar will not go as far tomorrow as it did today. It is typically expressed as the annual change in prices for everyday goods and services such as food, furniture, apparel, transportation costs and toys.What causes inflation? It can be the result of rising co...

Amazon Reaches Labor Deal, Giving Workers More Power to Organize

Technology
SEATTLE — Amazon, which faces mounting scrutiny over worker rights, agreed to let its warehouse employees more easily organize in the workplace as part of a nationwide settlement with the National Labor Relations Board this month.Under the settlement, which was finalized on Wednesday, Amazon said it would email past and current warehouse workers — likely more than one million people — with notifications of their rights and would give them greater flexibility to organize in its buildings. The agreement also made it easier and faster for the N.L.R.B., which investigates claims of unfair labor practices, to sue Amazon if it believed the company violated the terms.Amazon has previously settled individual cases with the labor agency, but the new settlement’s national scope and its concessions t...