• From the New York Times:
"The nation’s demand for labor only got stronger in December, the US Labor Department reported Wednesday, as job openings rose to 11 million.
"That brings the number of posted jobs per available unemployed worker, which had been easing in recent months, back up to 1.9 — not what the Federal Reserve has been hoping for as it seeks to quell inflation … The 5.5 percent increase in job openings was largely driven by hotels and restaurants, which have been steadily recovering from the pandemic, and jumped sharply to 1.74 million positions posted. Jerome Powell, the Fed chair, has been particularly focused on wage inflation in the services sector, but like wages more broadly, increases in hourly earnings in private services have been decelerating.
"In another sign of confidence among workers, people voluntarily left their jobs at about the same rate as they did in November. Quits as a share of the overall employment base have fallen slightly from 3 percent at the end of 2021 but plateaued over the past few months. Overall, in 2022, about 50 million Americans quit their jobs.
• The Los Angeles Times reports that Costco is considering the building of a new store in the Baldwin Hills neighborhood of South Los Angeles that would be a little different - it would serve as the foundation for an 800-unit apartment house that would include 184 units for low-income tenants.
"There have been no applications filed with the city of Los Angeles for the project," the Times writes, "but it was officially announced earlier this year and renderings for the development were released Tuesday. A spokesperson for Costco could not be immediately reached for comment."
The Times also points out that the project would be "eligible for incentives through the city’s Transit Oriented Communities program, which allows greater density and floor area than is normally allowed under current zoning rules, according to the Los Angeles Planning Department’s guidelines.
"The project is meant to support families, seniors and other residents from the community, according to Thrive Living, a privately-owned national real estate firm. Apartments would be marketed for affordable housing for both seniors and low-income households, the developer said."
• Yahoo Finance reports that "McDonald's plans to open 1,900 new locations in 2023. More than 400 of the new Golden Arches will be in the U.S. or in its internationally operated markets, including Germany, Canada, France, Australia, Canada, and the U.K. The remaining 1,500 will be in developmental licensee and affiliate markets, including 900 in China … The growth strategy marks the first time since 2014 that McDonald's has made a big push into growing its U.S. locations."
• The Wall Street Journal reports that FedEx "is laying off more than 10% of its global management staffers as the delivery company faces a shipping slowdown.
"In an email to staff Wednesday, Chief Executive Raj Subramaniam said the company is reducing the size of its officer and director ranks and consolidating some teams and functions. The company declined to say how many jobs were being eliminated.
"The Memphis-based company has already trimmed its U.S. workforce by 12,000 since the start of the current fiscal year in June 2022, through regular attrition, a hiring freeze and other head-count initiatives. It had more than 550,000 employees globally, according to its most recent financial statement in December."
• The Seattle Times reports that REI has laid off 167 people from its headquarters, citing 'increasing uncertainty' and a need to get back to profitability … REI is making 'organizational changes' at its headquarters, including reducing headcount and reorganizing and combining several divisions. In the year ahead, Artz said, REI will 'align' around a few strategic priorities to ensure the co-op is making the best use of its resources and centering its work around the customer and member experience."
According to the story, "The layoffs affected 8% of the co-op’s headquarters workforce and less than 1% of its total headcount, president and CEO Eric Artz said in a letter to employees on Tuesday.
"REI shifted to remote work in 2020, meaning there is no single headquarters location. The co-op has offices in Issaquah, Seattle and Sumner."
• The Wall Street Journal reports that "Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. missed interest payments on its bonds, a week after its bank lenders sent the company a default notice because it was overdrawn on its credit lines.
"The home-goods retailer failed to pay more than $28 million on three tranches of notes totaling roughly $1.2 billion due on Feb. 1, a spokeswoman for the company confirmed Wednesday … The coupon miss comes nearly a month after the company raised the possibility of filing for bankruptcy and said it was running low on funds."