business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From the Associated Press:

"America’s employers posted 8.8 million job openings in November, down slightly from October and the fewest since March 2021. But demand for workers remains strong by historical standards despite higher interest rates.

"Wednesday’s report from the Labor Department showed that the number of job vacancies dipped from 8.9 million in October. It also showed that the number of people quitting their jobs — a sign of confidence in the labor market — fell to its lowest level since February 2021. The number of quits is now roughly where it stood before the pandemic erupted nearly four years ago.

"In November, job openings dropped by 128,000 in transportation, warehousing, and utilities and by 78,000 at hotels and restaurants. The federal government reduced job openings by 58,000. By contrast, openings in construction rose by 43,000 and in retail by 42,000."

•  From CNN:

"Major retailers in California are now required to have gender-neutral toy aisles under a new state law.

"The law, which went into effect Monday, stems from a 2021 bill in the California legislature requiring toy retailers with a physical location in the state and at least 500 employees 'to maintain a gender-neutral section or area to be labeled at the discretion of the retailer' … Stores failing to comply with the new law could be subjected to a $250 penalty for the first violation, and up to $500 for subsequent infractions."

According to the story, "California Assembly member Evan Low said he was inspired to introduce this bill by an 8-year-old girl who asked, 'Why should a store tell me what a girl’s shirt or toy is?'

"Her bill 'will help children express themselves freely and without bias. We need to let kids be kids,' Low said.

To be honest, when I first saw this story I thought that this was a bridge too far - that while having a gender-free toy aisle may make sense, it really ought to be up to stores to make those decisions, not government.  And I still feel that way - a store conceivably could use such an aisle as a differential advantage in attracting customers.

My only caveat is this:  Politicians don't just represent adults.  They also should represent kids.  in fact, I'd argue that a politician's most important role is to represent the interests of people who don't have lobbyists, whose interests don't get the attention they merit.  So I'm less inclined than at first to label this as woke-gone-wild.