business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From the Associated Press:

"US applications for jobless benefits rose to their highest level in more than a year, but remain at relatively low levels despite efforts by the Federal Reserve to cool the economy and job market in its battle against inflation.


"US jobless claims for the week ending April 8 rose by 11,000 to 239,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s the most since January 2022 when 251,000 people filed for unemployment benefits.

"The four-week moving average of claims, which evens out some of the week-to-week fluctuations, rose by 2,250 to 240,000. That’s the most since November 2021."


•  From the Associated Press:

"US wholesale prices fell in March, a sign that inflationary pressures in the economy are easing more than a year after the Federal Reserve began aggressively raising interest rates.

"Plunging energy prices pulled the government’s producer price index down 0.5 percent from February to March; it had been unchanged from January to February. Compared with a year ago, wholesale prices were up 2.7 percent in March — the mildest 12-month increase since January 2021 and down significantly from a 4.7 percent annual rise in February."


•  New Jersey apparently wants to spend $240 million to attract food retailers to its food deserts.

Here's the gist:

" The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board … approved proposed rules for the $240 million Food Desert Relief Tax Credit Program, which will help address food access challenges by attracting and retaining new supermarkets in the 50 Food Desert Communities (FDCs) designated by the NJEDA last year. Additionally, the Board approved the sale of up to $50 million of the $240 million in tax credits in 2023, the proceeds of which will fund future grant, loan, and technical assistance programs under the Food Desert Relief Act (FDRA). These programs will help increase availability of nutritious foods and develop new approaches to alleviate food insecurity."

The announcement says that "the Food Desert Relief Tax Credit program establishes two types of tax credits that encourage resiliency of supermarkets for a lasting impact on communities. Both are available to new and rehabilitated supermarkets within the areas designated as FDCs, which span all 21 New Jersey counties and are home to over 1.5 million residents. The Financing Gap Tax Credit will provide up to 40 percent of project’s costs for development of the first new supermarket located in any one FDC, and up to 20 percent for the second new supermarket. The Initial Operating Cost Tax Credit will be available to supermarket operators to help fill a shortfall in initial operating income."