What’s new? (November 21-27)
Four more years
On Monday, President Biden announced he is re-appointing Jerome H. Powell for another four-year term as Federal Reserve Chairman, resisting pressure from Progressive Democrats who wanted a change at the top of the Fed and opted for the Fed instead. political continuity. But in a move that could appease some of those progressives, Mr Biden said he would appoint Lael Brainard as vice president. The role could give him the power to influence everything from the cost of money to the future of digital money. Mr Powell, who is expected to receive bipartisan support for his confirmation in the Senate, will have to dismantle the extraordinary efforts the Fed made last year to keep the economy going at the height of the pandemic. Now the Fed will have to figure out how to start raising interest rates, which have been just above zero since March 2020, without plunging the economy into a recession.
Trying to relieve pain at the pump
President Biden on Tuesday ordered the Energy Department to dip into 50 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve in an effort to help curb rising gas prices. Five other countries, Britain, India, Japan, South Korea and China have also announced that they will draw on their oil stocks. Mr Biden had unsuccessfully called on Russia and members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to increase oil production. High gasoline prices hit Americans hard, leading some to cancel travel plans to see family while on vacation.
About this vacation trip
The high costs don’t deter everyone from traveling on vacation. The Transportation Security Administration said it plans to screen 20 million passengers at airports from the Friday before Thanksgiving to Sunday after a figure almost as high as pre-pandemic levels. The push will be the airline industry’s biggest test since the start of the pandemic. Even with the increase in coronavirus cases in several parts of the country, widely available vaccines appear to have helped make this Thanksgiving look different from previous years, when the country was experiencing an explosion in cases of the virus.
What’s next (November 28 to December 4)
A snapshot of the US economy
On Friday, the Labor Department will release its employment report in November, a key measure of the strength of the U.S. economy. The most recent report showed that the economy created more than 500,000 jobs in October after months of disappointing employment figures. Economists will be watching to see if this trend continues in what would be a sign that the impact of the pandemic on the economy could really fade away. Even so, 4.2 million fewer Americans were working in October compared to before the pandemic shutdowns, and the unemployment rate, now at 4.6%, does not take into account the millions of workers who have left the labor market. The end of extended unemployment benefits does not appear to have encouraged as many Americans to return to work as some economists and politicians had predicted.
Theranos Founder’s Trial Continues
Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of blood testing start-up Theranos, will continue to testify as she defends herself against fraud charges. In three days of testimony last week, she introduced herself as someone whose best intentions have been misinterpreted. She introduced herself as a dedicated start-up founder who believed in the technology of the company and suggested that she trusted the employees at Theranos too much.
Cyber Monday and Tuesday donations
Americans enthusiastically returned to in-person shopping on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, even amid the specter of shortages. But as Wirecutter notes, many offers to buy will run until Monday, known as Cyber Monday. If gadgets are your heart this holiday season, it’s probably better to act quickly than wait for the bargain. And for those who are more inclined to spend their extra income on charitable causes, there’s Giving Tuesday, introduced almost a decade ago. Last year, Americans gave $ 2.5 billion on Giving Tuesday, a 25% increase from 2019.
Shares fell on Friday after reports of a new variant of the coronavirus in South Africa. Jamie Dimon, managing director of JPMorgan Chase, said the bank would outlive the Chinese Communist Party, then quickly regretted his comment. Samsung will build a $ 17 billion semiconductor plant in Texas, a boost to bipartisan efforts to persuade chipmakers to build more components in the United States. A fourth wave of coronavirus infections in Europe is expected to hurt the region’s fragile economic recovery.
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