economy

A new study suggests that raising the minimum wage might lower the suicide rate — especially when unemployment is high — and that doing so might have saved tens of thousands of people from dying by suicide in the last quarter century.

Whether you think the new decade starts at midnight Tuesday or a year from then, the eve of 2020 seems like a good time to look back on the top political stories of the 2010s.

For the first time in years, it’s a wonderful time to grow Christmas trees.

Christmas tree growers say 2019 has been the industry’s best year in decades — in part because of a number of bad years, says Chal Landgren, a Christmas tree specialist at Oregon State University.

Landgren grows trees on a five-acre farm north of Portland, Oregon, and says seedlings planted in 2019 have seen good rates of survival. That wasn’t the case from 2015 to 2018, when dry, hot summers led growers to plan for losses.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

Amazon’s fulfillment center in Opa-locka is aptly named: It fulfills the impossible-seeming task of having almost any item imaginable shipped directly to one’s door in a matter of hours.

A few clicks of a mouse set into motion a veritable ballet of autonomous functions and approximately 2,000 human packers in Northeast Miami-Dade that allows a shopper, or his intended recipient, to pick up packages from their doorsteps.

Brendan Farrington / AP via Miami Herald

A series of polls from the St. Leo University Polling Institute shows Floridians deeply divided on some of the major issues that the state will face in the coming year. But most Floridians support increasing the state's minimum wage.

Matias J. Ocner / Miami Herald

Florida's economy is booming by most economic metrics. The unemployment rate is near a record low. Over 125 million tourists will visit the state this year. And property values are still growing, even though the pace has slowed.

 

Presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders want to tear up your student loans and set you financially free. That's popular among voters – especially those struggling to pay off this debt.

Other Democratic candidates have more modest plans. But economists say the dramatic proposals from Sanders and Warren to free millions of Americans from the burden of student debt could boost the economy in significant ways and help combat income inequality.

The story of South Florida’s economy is more than statistics. Behind the well-known data on income disparity, housing affordability, and low average pay are the voices of people grappling with its adversities and those thriving from its opportunities. These stories are from people who are struggling to make ends meet, and the experiences of others enjoying prosperity. These are personal portraits of real people sharing the role money plays in their lives in South Florida.

Updated at 12:10 p.m. ET

U.S. employers added 128,000 jobs in October as the unemployment rate inched up to 3.6%.

Friday's report from the Labor Department suggests job growth remains resilient, despite the ongoing trade war and temporary setbacks such as the United Auto Workers strike at General Motors, which was settled a week ago.

Job gains for August and September were also revised upward by a combined 95,000.

YAMIL LAGE / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The Cuban government announced economic measures this week to seek dollars in a bid to stay afloat in the midst of an acute financial crisis triggered by its dependence on Venezuelan oil and new U.S. sanctions.

On Tuesday, Cuban Vice President Salvador Mesa and several ministers announced on television that the government was going to lower the prices of household appliances and other items on the condition that Cubans pay in dollars.

The move is an attempt to obtain a larger percentage of remittances sent from abroad.

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The gap between the richest and the poorest U.S. households is now the largest it's been in the past 50 years — despite the median U.S. income hitting a new record in 2018, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The percentage of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods in Florida has decreased 8 percent since the Great Recession, according to a new study from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

BILL OXFORD / GETTY IMAGES

A bill that would halt employment-based immigration from any countries other than India or China is headed back to the floor of the U.S. Senate next week.

If it passes, immigration policy experts estimate that for the next 10 years or so, Indian nationals, as well as a small number of Chinese nationals, would be the only foreign workers able to obtain green cards through employment — a move that would crush U.S. businesses seeking other talented foreign employees.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

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