retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the Associated Press:

"More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, and although layoffs remain low, it was the fifth consecutive week that claims topped the 230,000 mark and the most in almost six months.

"Applications for jobless aid for the week ending July 2 rose to 235,000, up 4,000 from the previous week and the most since mid-January, the Labor Department reported Thursday. First-time applications generally track with the number of layoffs. Until early June, claims hadn’t eclipsed 220,000 since January and have often been below 200,000 this year.

"The four-week average for claims, which evens out some of the week-to-week volatility, inched up by 750 from the previous week, to 232,500.

"The total number of Americans collecting jobless benefits for the week ending June 25 rose by 51,000 from the previous week, to 1,375,000. That figure has hovered near 50-year lows for months."

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"The U.S. economy added 372,000 jobs in June, extending a streak of strong gains despite signs of slowing economic growth. The jobless rate remained at 3.6%.

"The labor market, in which demand for workers far outpaces unemployed people looking for work, has held up stronger than the rest of the economy, which is rapidly cooling. Consumers are starting to pull back on spending partly because of inflation, which is running at a four-decade high. Home construction is slowing as the Federal Reserve attempts to pull down inflation through aggressive interest-rate hikes. Manufacturing production is declining as Americans are reluctant to buy big-ticket items and household goods."

•  From the Canadian Press:

"Canada will require that companies add nutrition warnings to the front of pre-packaged food with high levels of saturated fat, sugar or sodium, starting in 2026 … The government says the labels are meant to help Canadians make healthier choices, as those nutrients have been linked to conditions such as cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

"Health Canada says the new labels will complement, rather than replace, the more detailed nutrition information that’s typically on the back of food packaging.

"In general, they’ll apply on pre-packaged foods that contain more than 15 per cent of the suggested daily value of saturated fat, sugars or sodium."