• From the Wall Street Journal this morning:
"The number of new applications for unemployment benefits remained above pre-pandemic highs last week, as persistent layoffs hold back the economic recovery.
"Claims rose to 898,000 last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, the highest level since late August and holding above the pre-pandemic high point of 695,000. After steadily declining from a peak of near 7 million in March, claims have clocked in between 800,000 and 900,000 for more than a month as companies readjust their head counts."
The story goes on: "The economy, more broadly, is flashing signs of slowdown. Monthly job gains have cooled in recent months, as has growth in job postings and consumer spending. More workers are reporting their layoffs are permanent."
• In Maine, a story from the Portland Press Herald about how Ahold Delhaize-owned Hannaford "blames technology issues for failure to report pizza dough tampering.
"But the grocery chain did not explain exactly what went wrong in August when it failed to address reports that someone had tampered with fresh doughs sold at its Sanford store."
According to the story, "Reports of sharp metal in Portland Pie Co. brand pizza dough at Hannaford’s Sanford store in August weren’t revealed by police until Tuesday, more than a week after nearly identical incidents at the Saco store triggered a recall and a police investigation … The company apologized to consumers in a written statement issued Wednesday morning citing the technical problem. Hannaford, however, would not fully explain what went wrong with its internal system for tracking and acting on consumer product safety problems or respond to requests for more information."
A man who worked for Portland Pie Co. and described as disgruntled has been charged in the case.
• The Wall Street Journal reports that "Brazil’s J&F Investimentos, which controls the world’s largest meatpacker, JBS SA, put an end to a long-running legal dispute in the U.S. over bribes it paid in Brazil, agreeing Wednesday to pay $128 million to settle the case.
"J&F admitted in 2017 to paying about $150 million in bribes to Brazilian politicians to secure cheap government funding to fuel one of the most ambitious global acquisition sprees in Brazilian corporate history. The affair landed its two major controllers, the billionaire brothers Joesley and Wesley Batista, in jail for several months.
"J&F Investimentos, in a federal court in New York on Wednesday, pleaded guilty to violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act."