Gas prices have been on the rise lately and St. Cloud State Economist King Banaian joined me on WJON today.  He expects gas prices to hit $3.20 a gallon by Labor Day before dropping this fall.  Banaian says the demand for travel won't likely subside until after Labor Day which will force this uptick in prices.  He says Presidential policies are not influencing gas prices and often times Presidents are given more credit than what they deserve for a good economy and receive more blame than what they deserve for a bad economy.


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The $300 weekly federal government unemployment supplement is scheduled to continue in most states, like Minnesota, until September.  Banaian says in the state's where they chose to discontinue these benefits they haven't seen evidence yet that more people are going back to work that hadn't been.  He says it is reasonable to expect the workforce shortage to get better this fall but there isn't clear evidence that will be the case.  Banaian says retail and bars/restaurants have been looking at ways to involve technology to handle some of the work responsibilities people had been doing.  He says at least one fast food restaurant is looking at robot deliveries.  Banaian says in the short term many bars/restaurants will operate with reduced hours or close certain days of the week due to the shortage.  He says the 20-24 year old age group that hasn't returned to the workforce may not be doing so due to childcare concerns along with the $300 supplemental federal government assistance.

Banaian joins me monthly on WJON.


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