business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the Associated Press:

"Fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as the labor market remains tight, even as the Federal Reserve has tried to cool the economy and inflation by raising interest rates.

"Applications for jobless aid in the US for the week ending Jan. 21 fell by 6,000 last week to 186,000, from 192,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. It’s the first time in nine months that number has been below 200,000 in back-to-back weeks.

"The four-week moving average of claims, which flattens out some of the week-to-week volatility, declined by 9,250 to 197,500. It’s the first time that number has been below 200,000 since May of last year."

•  From the Washington Post:

"The Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that products infused with CBD, which is derived from cannabis or hemp and used in items as varied as soap and seltzer, do not appear to meet federal safety standards and require stricter regulations.

"The announcement was a blow to the burgeoning CBD industry, which had hoped the agency would greenlight CBD’s use. Instead, the agency asked Congress to pass new regulations governing its use."

The Post writes that "the use of CBD raises various safety concerns, especially with long-term use, according to the agency statement. It cited studies that show potential harm to the liver and the male reproductive system as well as risky interactions with some medications. CBD exposure may also hold risks for certain vulnerable populations such as children and those who are pregnant."

The story notes that "despite the lack of a green light," from federal regulators, "CBD products have proliferated in the marketplace, from energy drinks and bubbly water to ointments and tinctures — and even pet foods. Industry studies had predicted the global CBD market would grow to $1.25 billion by 2024, with thousands of CBD-infused products now available online."

•  The Hill reports that this week a federal judge "tossed a lawsuit from three former Whole Foods employees alleging the grocery chain unlawfully retaliated against them for opposing a workplace ban on Black Lives Matter masks.

"U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs granted summary judgment in favor of Whole Foods, finding it didn’t treat the workers differently than similarly situated ones who violated its dress code policy when the chain stepped up enforcement in mid-2020."