retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  The Associated Press reports that "the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week even though the US job market has been rebounding from last year’s coronavirus recession.

"Jobless claims climbed by 28,000 to 222,000 from the previous week’s 52-year low 194,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The four-week average of claims, which smooths out week-to-week ups and downs, fell below 239,000, a pandemic low.

Since topping 900,000 in early January, the weekly applications — a proxy for layoffs — have been falling more or less steadily."



•  From the Wall Street Journal this morning:

"The U.S. economy added just 210,000 jobs in November, a slowdown in hiring that clouds a recovery amid new Covid-19 uncertainties.

"The slower pace of hiring last month—the smallest monthly gain since last December—followed an upwardly revised increase of 546,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department said, and comes as employers face a persistent shortage of available workers. The unemployment rate fell to 4.2% as more people joined the labor force, the department added."



•  The Washington Post writes that "as prices creep higher for food, gasoline and other necessities, nearly half of U.S. households say they are feeling the financial strain, according to a Gallup survey released Thursday.

"The effects were most acute in lower-income households, with 71 percent of those making less than $40,000 a year saying they experienced hardship, compared with 47 percent for middle-income households and 29 percent of those considered upper-income."



•  National Public Radio reports that "the Kellogg Company and the union for roughly 1,400 of its cereal plant workers have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, ending a nearly two-month strike.

"The food giant and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union announced the deal on Thursday, with workers set to vote on the proposal on Sunday … Kellogg workers walked off the job on Oct. 5 at four plants in Battle Creek, Mich.; Lancaster, Penn.; Memphis, Tenn. and Omaha, Neb. The company and the union were unable to reach consensus on the terms of a new contract after the previous one expired, and the union claimed Kellogg threatened to send jobs to Mexico, but company officials denied that."

According to the story, "The tentative five-year agreement announced this week would include a 3% wage hike for long-time legacy employees, as well as increases for newer, "transitional" workers and new hires based on years of service.

It would also give those newer workers a defined path to becoming higher-tiered legacy employees. Current 'transitional' workers with at least four years at the company would automatically become legacy employees, and each subsequent year of the contract would see 3% of the plant's headcount move up."



•  Published reports say that Kellogg's will team up with Tesco in the UK to test the use of recyclable paper liners in cereal boxes, a move that would all the packaging more environmentally friendly.