Sep 26, 2022
The Weekly Scan September 26, 2022
Find out what’s happening in the world of business this week
Welcome to the Weekly Scan. Here’s what we’re following for the week of September 26, 2022. Plus, our Certified Financial Planner™ Lauren Anastasio gives advice on how to respond to the news.
Another hike. The Federal Reserve (the Fed) announced that it’s raising the federal funds rate by three-quarters of a point to a range of 3 to 3.25% in its continued campaign to lower inflation. It was the third time the Fed raised the benchmark interest rate this year. The Fed also released projections for the remainder of the year that included a more aggressive approach to raising rates. The central bank also said it expects the economy to slow significantly, and for unemployment to increase. Markets fell, with the S&P dropping 1.8% last Wednesday.
- Lauren’s take: Though the market overall fell at the announcement of higher interest rates, some sectors are less impacted, or even benefit from higher interest rates. While real estate may struggle with rising interest rates, other sectors, including financials, tend to benefit through increased profit margins.
Liquid gold. Lower milk production and a labor shortage have caused the price of butter to sharply increase, with the price per unit reaching $4.27 at the end of August, the highest level since 2017. Overall, grocery prices in the U.S. rose 13.5% year-over-year. Meanwhile, butter prices went up by almost double—24.6%—over the same stretch. Some butter producers are reportedly trying to increase their output before holiday baking increases demand.
- Lauren’s take: One way to avoid high costs due to increased demand is to look for product substitutes. If you’re focused on keeping your grocery bill down, vegetable oil, margarine, and greek yogurt are popular substitutes for butter when it comes to baking.
Touchdown Amazon. Amazon’s first week streaming Thursday Night Football was more successful than predicted, according to Nielsen. The first National Football League (NFL) game that Amazon streamed—between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers—garnered an average 13 million viewers last week. Twelve million of those viewers watched the game on Amazon Prime, and the remainder watched on broadcast TV in Los Angeles or Kansas City. Amazon had promised advertisers 12.5 million viewers. The game was the most popular game of the season so far among people between the ages 18 and 34. Amazon acquired the exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football for $1 billion.
- Lauren’s take: Streaming Thursday Night Football benefits Amazon through potential new Prime subscriptions and the ability to market other Amazon-exclusive content to a larger audience. Amazon isn’t the only company benefiting from their relationship with the NFL—Disney (ESPN), Fox Corporation, Comcast, and ViacomCBS also closed exclusive deals with the NFL in the last year.
Santa’s workshop is hiring. Target said that it plans to hire 100,000 seasonal workers ahead of the holidays. The retailer hired the same number of people for the 2021 holiday shopping season. In 2020, Target brought on 130,000 seasonal employees. Wages for this year’s hires will start between $15 and $24. Beginning in October, Target will start marking down items for the holidays. Still, projections for holiday shopping haven’t been optimistic. Some experts have predicted 1% to 3% growth from last year when accounting for inflation. Walmart is hiring 40,000 people for the holidays, far below the 150,000 they added last year.
- Lauren’s take: Job numbers are getting extra attention these days, and we recently saw significant growth in the labor force, meaning more people are trying to participate in the labor market. A larger supply of talent is good for employers and may help reduce inflation.