business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the Associated Press:

"The nation’s employers added 336,000 jobs in September, an unexpectedly robust gain that suggests that many companies remain confident enough to keep hiring despite high interest rates and a hazy outlook for the economy.

Friday's report from the Labor Department showed that hiring last month jumped from a 227,000 increase in August, which was revised sharply higher. July's hiring was also healthier than initially estimated. The economy has now added a healthy average of 266,000 jobs a month in the past three months.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.8 percent.

The job market has defied an array of threats this year, notably high inflation and the rapid series of Fed interest rate hikes that were intended to conquer it. Though the Fed’s hikes have made loans much costlier, steady job growth has helped fuel consumer spending and kept the economy growing."

•  From the Washington Post:

"Summer has barely ended, but the holiday shopping season is upon us.

Amazon, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Best Buy and other big retailers are kicking off big sales events as consumers continue to move up their holiday timetables. Many are trying to spread their spending in the face of persistently high prices, record credit card balances and the resumption of student loan payments.

"'Retailers, understanding their consumer and understanding their fixed budgets, are trying to get a bite out of that holiday shopping sooner rather than later and maybe get little bites over a longer period of time,' said Natalie Kotlyar, a retail analyst at BDO.

"Industry experts are offering mixed messages about what to expect this holiday season. Though consumer spending has proved resilient and inflation has eased significantly from last summer’s peak of 9.1 percent, federal data shows Americans are still forgoing discretionary categories to afford gas, groceries and other essentials."

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"The U.S. Postal Service wants to raise the price of a stamp in what would be the third increase in a year.

"The postal service proposed a price of 68 cents, up 3% from the current price of 66 cents. If approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, the price increase would go into effect on Jan. 21. 

"The agency raised stamp prices to 63 cents from 60 cents in January 2023. Six months later, the price of a stamp went up again, by 3 cents.

"The Postal Service has said price increases are necessary because of the rising costs of delivering mail. The agency said Friday that was still the case, and the price bump would give it the revenue needed to achieve financial stability.

"The mail service is overhauling its operations with a 10-year plan, disclosed in March 2021, that includes charging more for services, delivering more packages and taking a couple of days longer to deliver mail.  The plan is meant to help the Postal Service avoid $100 billion in projected losses."