The Wider World

Inflation is up at a 7% rate

THE COST OF living rose by 7 percent over the past year, according to the Labor Department (Shutterstock).

The cost of living – fired by rising costs for housing and fuel as well as snarls in the supply chain – is rising, potentially posing a threat to the American economy.

According to the Associated Press, inflation is up 7 percent over December 2020. Excluding “volatile” prices for food and gas, costs rose 5.5 percent last month, according to the U.S. Labor Department. In some ways, rising costs are also an indicator of some strength in the economy as consumers take advantage of low interest rates, government aid and the safety offered by vaccination to do more in-person shopping and dining.

Additionally, the increased demand is putting more pressure on the supply chain, which creates the scarcity that can force prices to rise. The scarcity of labor has led employers to raise wages and benefits, the cost of which is often passed on to consumers.

Need $50,000? How about the Army?

If you were ever drafted into the military or enlisted more than a few years – or even months – ago, this may seem hard to believe. In an effort to attract new recruits in a time of coronavirus and strong labor demand, the U.S. Army is now offering a “signing bonus” for $50,000 to “highly-skilled” enlistees who sign up for a six-year term.

Among those military occupations likely to be accompanied by the 50k bonus are missile defense crew, special forces, signals intelligence and fire control specialists. Other fields where the army needs to gain new recruits include infantry, combat medic, combat engineer and intelligence analyst, according to the Associated Press.

Sports: Apple in the ball game?

Flush with cash from its popular devices and new streaming service, Apple could be making a strong move into broadcasting sports. According to CNBC, the Silicon Valley tech firm is in negotiations with Major League Baseball to broadcast games on Monday and Wednesday on its Apple+ service.

Selling the rights to broadcast major sports is lucrative. ESPN’s latest deal with MLB will cost that network $5.6 billion over an eight-year stretch. Broadcast money underwrites the salaries of big league athletes as well.

Weather:  Disco weather continues

By that we mean that in the West Orange County area, daytime high temperatures will be in the low to mid-Seventies for a while. The forecast for Thursday is 71 during the day (51 overnight) under cloudy skies. Friday looks like 72 (54) with mostly cloudy weather, warming to 75 (49) on Saturday and Sunday.

Business/Finance: Another good day

The stock market had another modestly good day on Wednesday. All three major indexes showed gains at the closing bell. The S&P 500 gained $13.28 points to 4,726.35 and the Dow was up 38.30 to 36,290.32. The Nasdaq rose 34.94 to 15,188.39.

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