Four Fresh Angles on Memorial Day Coverage

by May 27, 2016

Memorial Day is more than just backyard barbecue picnics—it’s about commemorating those who died while serving America.

Here are four fresh business angles you can cover as the holiday approaches.

Report on the costs of war

The Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University has tracked and collected a variety of data and statistics on the human, economic and socio-political costs of war. The organization also tracks government spending on veterans, including medical, disability and social security disability expenses.

The National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, produced by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, also provides useful data including information on expenditures on veteran benefits, claims and health education.

For story ideas, check out how much the VA is spending on the GI Bill in your state, or look into Agent Orange benefits. You can also view a breakdown of what is being spent in broader categories in your state.

Find new retail angles

Memorial Day is a lively time for the retail and food industry. But some restaurants and retailers choose this time to go out of business. For example, national retailer Sports Authority just announced plans to liquidate company assets and its going-out-of-business retail sales on Memorial Day. Sports Authority joins ailing businesses Aeropostale and PacSun, who both filed bankruptcy in the last few months. Research what other businesses may be liquidating in your community and ask local analysts or MBA school professors why.

For another angle, if you want to compare Memorial Day retail sales from one year to the next, the Monthly and Annual Retail Trade found on the United States Census Bureau’s website can help reporters compare data and draw conclusions on just how well this year’s or season’s retail sales are doing.

The Time Series and Trend Charts at Census.gov also help business reporters see year-to-year progression dating back to 1992, rather than just monthly changes.

Explore the economic impact of travel costs and TSA wait times

Those planning to jump in the car or fly this Memorial Day will pay the price. The U.S. Travel Association predicts Americans will spend 1.2 percent more than they did in 2015 traveling this weekend. Those who fly will spend a whopping $990 on average and likely see long wait times at the TSA.

The U.S. Travel Association plans on releasing research at the end of this week that will explain any economic damage that long wait times could impose on the travel industry.

Profile seasonal workers

Not everyone gets the Memorial Day holiday off. In fact, some seasonal industries are just reopening for the summer. Businesses like summer camps and water parks often begin as the weather warms up and children finish up the school year.

Look at how seasonal employment has grown (or not) in your area over the last few years. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has current employment statistics so you can view what industries are peaking from month-to-month. You can also use the website to check out demographics around summer employment.

#5 and #6” by Flickr user “malone 545” CC BY-NC-ND 2.0