business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the New York Times:

"Worker filings for unemployment benefits declined last week to their lowest level since the coronavirus pandemic began, as employers competed for employees in a tightening labor market.

"Initial unemployment benefits, a proxy for layoffs, decreased to 281,000 last week from a revised 291,000 a week earlier, the Labor Department said Thursday."

•  Yahoo Finance reports that Target CEO Brian Cornell says that the retailer "is well-prepared in the lead-up to the holiday shopping season to navigate the supply-chain challenges weighing on retailers and manufacturers of all kinds.  All it took was very, very careful forward planning."

According to the story "Cornell concedes that supply-chain challenges will be around for some time. 'I think we have been seeing supply-chain challenges throughout the pandemic. Whether that is closures in Asia or the slowdown of ports, the challenges with driver shortages in the United States. I don't think these issues are resolved overnight. Obviously we are very focused on making sure we play our role and move through the system. We are currently hiring 30,000 additional team members in our supply-chain system. I think this is going to take quite a bit of time to sort out'."

•  The New York Times reports that "Starbucks employees in upstate New York seeking to unionize notched a victory in their effort on Thursday, a day after the company, which is facing a staffing shortage, said that it would raise wages for U.S. employees.

"Workers at three Buffalo-area stores will vote on whether to form a union in a mail-in election ending Dec. 8, an official with the National Labor Relations Board ruled Thursday.

"In a win for the union seeking to represent the employees, the three stores will vote in separate elections, meaning that workers need only a majority of votes cast at a single location to form a union. The company had argued that employees at all 20 Buffalo-area stores should vote in a single election."

Meanwhile, as the Associated Press reports, "Starbucks on Thursday reported record quarterly sales thanks to its robust U.S. business that helped make up for weakness in China and other markets.

"The Seattle coffee giant said its U.S. same-store sales — or sales at locations open at least a year — jumped 22% in the July-September period. Stores saw higher traffic and customers spent more on pricier cold drinks, which made up 75% of U.S. sales, and food, which saw sales climb 35% in the fiscal fourth quarter."