retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  The Associated Press reports that "the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell again last week to a four-month low even as the Federal Reserve continues its aggressive interest rate cuts to bring inflation under control.

"Applications for jobless aid for the week ending Sept. 10 fell by 5,000 to 213,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That’s the fewest since late May … The four-week average for claims, which offsets some of the weekly volatility, fell by 8,000 to 224,000.

"The number of Americans collecting traditional unemployment benefits inched up by 2,000 for the week that ended Sept. 3, to 1.4 million."



•  Bloomberg reports that McDonald's has decided to move its innovation center from the Chicago suburbs to the city's downtown, describing it as "a big bet on the city that comes as other high-profile companies flee the area’s high taxes and crime … The move to bring more workers to the third-largest city in the US follows announced departures from Boeing Inc. and billionaire Ken Griffin’s hedge fund, Citadel. Chicago’s appeal has been eroded by high taxes, an indebted government and systemic segregation that has contributed to crime."

However, CEO Chris Kempczinski said that the confidence in the city is not unconditional:  "“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to operate a global business out of Chicago and Illinois … There is a general sense out there that our city is in crisis."  Kempczinski, the story says, "called on Chicago to tackle crime while improving its business environment and infrastructure such as roads, railways and schools."