business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the Associated Press:

"US applications for jobless aid fell again last week to their lowest level since April, further evidence that the job market has withstood aggressive rate hikes by the Federal Reserve as it attempts to cool the economy and bring down inflation.

"Applications for jobless aid in the United States for the week ending Jan. 28 fell by 3,000 last week to 183,000, from 186,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. It was the third straight week claims were under 200,000 and the third straight weekly decline.

"Jobless claims generally serve as a proxy for layoffs, which have been relatively low since the pandemic wiped out millions of jobs in the spring of 2020."

•  From the Washington Post this morning:

"The labor market shattered expectations in January, as the economy added 517,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.4 percent, a low not seen since May 1969, according to data released Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Job gains had been steadily dropping for months, but January’s stunning job growth reflects unexpected tightness in the labor market , even amid fears of a looming recession as high profile layoffs spread across the tech industry.

"The Federal Reserve has been in an all-out effort to lower inflation, hoping it can manage to hoist interest rates without slowing the economy so much that it undercuts strength in the labor market. But that task appears much more difficult to pull off, with scant signs of a cool down in a labor market that created more than a half million jobs in January."

•  From WDRB-TV News:

"Trader Joe’s is challenging last month’s vote by workers at its Louisville store to form a union, alleging that pro-union workers 'created an atmosphere of fear and coercion and interfered with the laboratory conditions necessary to conduct a free and fair election.'"

Trader Joe's reportedly "filed its objections Wednesday with the National Labor Relations Board, according to a copy of the filing shared by the Trader Joe’s United, the union seeking to organize the Louisville store.

"Trader Joe’s’ Louisville workers voted 48-36 in favor of the union during the Jan. 26 election, according to Trader Joe’s United. If the tally holds up, it will become the third Trader Joe’s in the nation to unionize."

•  The Wall Street Journal writes that Starbucks reported Q1 "net income of $855 million, about 5% higher than the $816 million generated in the same quarter a year earlier," and "sales of $8.71 billion, up 8% from the prior year period and slightly below analysts’ expectations of $8.79 billion."

Global same store sales were up five percent, US same-store sales were up 10 percent, but China same-store sales, hard-hit by that country's Covid-related restrictions, were down 29 percent.

•  Urban Milwaukee reports that Go Grocer, a Chicago-based small format store that features 4,000 SKUs, focusing on fresh food, prepared meals and fast delivery, has added to its 14-store fleet with a 15th unit opened in Milwaukee's Third Ward neighborhood.  

It is the first Wisconsin store for Go Grocer.  Another unit is slated to open in Milwaukee's Brewery District later this year, the story says.