business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From the Associated Press:

"The US labor market continues to flex its muscle as applications for jobless claims fell again last week and remain at healthy levels in the face of high interest rates and inflation.

"Applications for unemployment benefits dropped by 11,000 to 239,000 for the week ending August 12, down from 250,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

"The four-week moving average of claims, which softens some of the week-to-week volatility, rose by 2,750 to 234,250.  Jobless claim applications are seen as a proxy for the number of layoffs in a given week."

•  From Marketing Daily:

"Love avocados? Love Shake Shack? Your time has arrived - the chain is hiring its first CAO.  No, not chief administrative officer. Sub out the word 'avocado' in the middle!

"The consumer contest – not a real hiring decision -- is part of marketing for the chain’s recent introduction of more menu items containing avocado, such as the Avocado Bacon Burger and Avocado Bacon Chicken Sandwich, which are both referred to as an 'ode to avocado' … The 'hiring' requirements include: 'spend(ing) more time than you’d care to admit searching for the perfect avocado.'  Entrants are also asked to submit a love letter to the avocado, in whatever format they choose (videos, photos, poems, songs, etc.).

"And of course there are benefits, which include: a Chief Avocado Officer 'uniform,' free Shake Shack items for a year, a $3,000 “avocado stipend,” bragging rights,  a meeting with a Shake Shack leader to learn about the chain’s avocado suppliers and selection process, as well as a private Avocado Bacon Menu tasting at a local Shack, including a roundtrip Uber ride share credit of up to $50."

Well, thank goodness that Shake Shack isn't asking people to change their given names to "avocado" or "guacamole" as a condition of winning the contest.  This is clever and engaging without appealing to people's lowest common denominator behavior.  Good for Shake Shack, which looks even better because this contest is so much smarter than Subway's recently announced contest.