business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From CNBC:

"First-time jobless claims rose sharply last week in a potential sign that the labor market is softening up after more than a year of interest rate hikes.

Initial filings for unemployment benefits totaled a seasonally adjusted 261,000 for the week ended June 3, an increase of 28,000 from the upwardly revised level of the previous period, the Labor Department reported Thursday."

According to the story, "That weekly jump pushed up the four-week moving average of claims by 7,500 to 237,250, the highest since April 29. Continuing claims, which run a week behind the headline number as they measure those who have filed for multiple weeks, fell by 37,000 to 1.757 million.

"The Labor Department did not cite any specific factor for the increase. The unadjusted total was 219,391, which was an increase of 10,535, or 5%, from the previous week. Seasonal factors would have indicated a 6% decrease, the department noted.

"A total of 1.635 million people were receiving jobless benefits through May 20, up from 1.283 million from a year ago, an increase of 27.4%."

•  The National Grocers Association (NGA) yesterday "voiced its support … for the Credit Card Competition Act introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS), Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX-05), and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-18) that would bring much needed competition to the credit card marketplace after years of excessive swipe fees that harm small businesses like independent grocers.

“'This critical legislation would bring much needed reforms to a broken credit card marketplace that unfairly impacts small businesses like independent community grocers,' said Christopher Jones, NGA SVP of government relations & counsel. 'Visa and Mastercard control 80 percent of the credit card marketplace and will not negotiate fees with independent grocers. In a razor-thin margin industry like grocery, we have no choice but to pass those fees on to consumers in the form of higher grocery prices at a time when consumers are reeling from high food price inflation. The Credit Card Competition Act would provide much needed relief to independent grocers and their customers who benefit the most from competitive markets'."