Business News

AM Business Notebook

>>Job Openings Fall To 2 Year Low In October

(Washington, DC) -- The number of job openings hit a two-year low in October. The Labor Department reported just over eight-point-seven million vacancies for the month. That's a decline of more than 600--thousand openings and a far bigger drop than expected. It's also a sign the tight labor market could be loosening. The total number of people being hired or quitting their jobs in October was little changed.


>>Supreme Court Hears Purdue Pharma Case

(Washington, DC) -- The liability of the OxyContin maker and its role in the U.S. opioid crisis is being scrutinized by the Supreme Court. The High Court heard a challenge today from the Justice Department to last year's six-billion-dollar settlement agreed by Purdue Pharma. The bankruptcy ruling by a New York court shielded the Sackler family, which controlled the company, from future litigation. Families of Oxycontin victims say they deserve to sue the Sacklers. Most of the money from the original deal would go to states, and Native American tribes to help fight the epidemic.


>>President Biden Received Recurring Payment From Son's Firm: House Panel

(Washington, DC) -- Financial records released by House Republicans show President Biden received monthly payments from his son Hunter's business in 2018. Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer said Hunter's firm Owasco PC received payments from Chinese companies and other foreign entities, and claimed the payments of nearly 14-hundred dollars to Biden show the president participated and benefited from an alleged "influence peddling scheme." But leaked emails from Hunter Biden's infamous laptop suggest the payments were for a truck Joe Biden helped his son purchase. Hunter's lawyer in a statement also confirmed this, saying Joe Biden helped his son buy the truck when he was struggling financially due to his addiction. This comes as House Republicans are expected to ramp up their impeachment investigation into the president.


>>SpaceX To Launch Experimental Spacecraft This Weekend

(Cape Canaveral, FL) -- SpaceX is gearing up for an experimental spacecraft in Florida later this week. The company says its Falcon Heavy rocket will send a national security payload for the U.S. Space Force into orbit. The mission is part of the agency's National Security Space Launch program. The goal is to try out technology for an unmanned space platform. Liftoff is scheduled for this Sunday at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. An exact time will come out closer to launch day.


>>Spotify Announces Layoffs

(New York, NY) -- Music streaming giant Spotify is announcing layoffs. CEO Daniel Ek announced Monday the company is letting go 17-percent of its employees. In an email to staff, Ek said Spotify had hired too many employees over 2020 and 2021 and they're taking "substantial action to rightsize" costs. This round of layoffs follows the company cutting six-percent of its workers at the beginning of the year and another two-percent in June. Spotify raised subscription prices earlier this year and reported a third quarter profit of almost 71-million dollars.


>>Striking Nurses, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Reach Deal

(New Brunswick, NJ) -- Union nurses and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital have hammered out a tentative agreement that would end the four-month-old strike. The deal between the 17-hundred nurses and the hospital was reached Friday but no details have been disclosed. Union members are attending informational meetings this week ahead of the ratification vote. No potential date when nurses would return to work has been announced. Nurses have been on the picket line in New Jersey since early August, demanding better staffing ratios, better pay and a cap on health insurance costs.

AM Business Notebook

>>Fed Chair: Too Soon To Say When To Expect Rate Cuts

(Atlanta, GA) -- Investors say the Federal Reserve is done hiking interest rates, but the Fed Chair warns them not to speak so soon. Jerome Powell said in remarks at Spelman College in Atlanta last week that the Fed is "moving forward carefully, as the risks of under- and over-tightening are becoming more balanced." He said it would be "premature to conclude with confidence" that interest rates won't rise. Experts say rate cuts could come mid-2024, but Powell joins other officials saying they're not thinking about that yet. His comments come weeks before the central bank's policy meeting, where the Federal Reserve is general expected to hold rates steady.


>>Alaska Airlines To Acquire Hawaiian Airlines For $1.9 Billion

(SeaTac, WA) -- Alaska Airlines is set to acquire Hawaiian Airlines for one-point-nine-billion dollars. The airline companies announced the deal Sunday, and will take up to 18 months to be completed. Headquarters will be located in Seattle, with Honolulu a key hub. The merger will mean a fleet of 365 planes and 12-hundred destinations now for Alaska Airlines.


>>Median Law Enforcement Salaries: California 1st, Arkansas Last

(Undated) -- When it comes to pay for law enforcement officers, California ranks first and Mississippi is last. The non-profit organization USA Facts used 2022 Bureau of Labor Statistics data to determine the median salary for U.S. states and metro areas. Adjusting for each state's cost of living, the median salary for law enforcement officers in California was 93-thousand-169-dollars. California also had 16 of the 20 top-paying metro areas for police, with San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara leading the way at 132-thousand-930-dollars. The adjusted median salary for law enforcement officers in Mississippi was just over 43-thousand-dollars. Arkansas, Louisiana and South Carolina joined Mississippi as the only four states with an adjusted median salary below 50-thousand-dollars for police, sheriff's department and other agency officers.


>>Four Year College Degree Requirements Are Disappearing For Many Corporations

(New York, NY) -- Nearly half of US companies intend to eliminate Bachelor's degree requirements for some job positions next year. According to a survey by Intelligence-dot-com of 800 US employers, 55-percent said they'd already eliminated degree requirements this year. It comes after Walmart, IBM, Accenture, Bank of America and Google announced similar plans. Walmart eliminated college degrees as a requirement for hundreds of its corporate roles, saying it would get rid of 'unnecessary barriers' that prevent career advancement. The growing trend of cutting degrees requirements has been described as 'an essential step in reducing inequity in the American labor market.'


>>Beyonce Concert Film Tops Box Office

(Hollywood, CA) -- For the second time this year, a concert film debuts on top of the weekend box office. "Renaissance: A Film By Beyonce" took in an estimated 21-million-dollars to join "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" in hitting number one in its opening week. "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" finished second at 14-million-dollars after spending its first two weeks at number one. A classic monster opened in third place as "Godzilla Minus One" took in eleven-million-dollars.

AM Business Notebook

>>Tesla Cybertruck Distribution Begins At Texas Facility

(Austin, TX)  --  Delivery of Tesla's Cybertruck is now officially underway following an invitation-only event at their Austin, Texas manufacturing plant.  The cheapest model available will cost around 61-thousand-dollars and won't be available until 2025.  Meanwhile, the top of the line version called the "Cyberbeast" will cost just under a-hundred-thousand.  Tesla CEO Elon Musk said last month that more than a million people have already pre-ordered the Cybertruck.  


>>More Retailers Switch To "Returnless" Return Policy

(New York, NY)  --  More U.S. retailers are adopting a "returnless" return policy this holiday season.  The returns firm goTRG says U.S. shoppers are expected to return 173-billion dollars worth of holiday purchases this year, and that returns drain profits because they have to be transported, sorted and resold, often at a discount.   The firm says this year, 59-percent of retailers are offering so-called "returnless" policies for unwanted products whose return costs exceed their value.  They're not naming the companies using the new policy, because the firm says that information is "not something that retailers want out there."


>>Liquid Death Changes Name Of "Armless Palmer"

(Los Angeles, CA)  --  Liquid Death is changing the name of its "Armless Palmer" iced tea-lemonade drink after a lawsuit threat.  The drink will now be called "Dead Billionaire."  The company posted on Instagram that a "large enterprise" raised the possibility of a lawsuit.  New York-based AriZona Beverages sells an "Arnold Palmer," named for the golfer who is credited with inventing the beverage.  

AM Business Notebook

>>JPMorgan Chase Warns A Recession Is Still On The Table

(New York, NY) -- JPMorgan Chase is warning inflation could rise more and a recession is still possible. CEO Jamie Dimon said at the New York Times DealBook Summit in New York that interest rates could continue to go up. He noted that governments across the world needing more money for their militaries and to address energy crises would contribute to inflation. Dimon said that while the US labor market has been stable, "inflation is hurting people."


>>Disney CEO Iger Will 'Definitely' Step Down In 2026

(New York, NY) -- Disney's CEO will, in his words, 'definitely' step down when his contract expires in 2026. That's what Bob Iger told CNBC yesterday at the New York Times' DealBook Summit. Iger took over Disney last year for the second time after Bob Chapek [[ CHAY-peck ]] was removed by the board. Iger says he was disappointed in what he saw in the last transition period, and he discovered certain things that could have been done better. He tells CNBC he's involved in the search for a new CEO to ensure a smoother succession this time.


>>Former Google CEO: AI Could Endanger Humanity This Decade

(Mountain View, CA) -- Google's former CEO says artificial intelligence could endanger humanity within the decade. In an interview at Axios's AI+ Summit, Eric Schmidt said AI development is similar to the development of nuclear weapons at the end of World War Two. The dangers of AI begin when "the computer can start to make its own decision to do things," including discovering weapons, Schmidt said. He said humanity would see the effects of AI within five to 10 years, but many experts say it could even be just two to four years away.


>>Detroit's Three Automakers Miss Top Spots In Reliability Survey

(Detroit, MI) -- The latest Auto Reliability study from Consumer Reports finds Detroit's automakers did not perform well. The top five spots were taken by Lexus, Toyota, Mini, Acura and Honda while Buick was the best performing domestic brand coming in at number 12 in the report. General Motors Cadillac division placed 16th with Chevrolet at 20 and GMC in the 24th spot. Ford came in 22nd and Lincoln placed 23rd. The Ram Truck division of Stellantis was 15th with Jeep at number 26 and Chrysler was 30th. The survey from members covers 20 areas of vehicle performance which the publication then uses to predict reliability.

AM Business Notebook

>>Consumer Confidence Rises In November

(New York, NY)  --  Consumer confidence is bouncing back after three straight monthly declines.  The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose three points in November.  The board's chief economist noted improved confidence about future business conditions, job availability and incomes.  Still, fewer consumers planned to buy big ticket items including homes and autos in the next six months as interest rates remain high.     


>>Home Prices Rise For 8th Straight Month

(Washington, DC)  --  Home prices are on the rise for the eighth straight month.  The latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index shows prices were nearly four percent higher in September compared with the same month a year ago.  Prices continued to rise even as 30-year fixed mortgage rates approached eight percent.  Detroit, San Diego and New York led the way among the top metropolitan markets with annual increases of more than six percent.  


>>Judge Recuses From Elon Musk's Media Matters Lawsuit

(Fort Worth, TX)  --  The judge in Elon Musk's lawsuit against Media Matters is recusing himself from the case.  New court documents revealed Judge Mark Pittman was stepping away and asked the case to be assigned to a different judge.  Pittman didn't give a reason for the recusal.  Musk is suing the media watchdog for defamation, alleging they defamed his social media platform X.  


>>Mark Cuban Says He's Ready To Depart "Shark Tank"

(New York, NY)  --  Mark Cuban says he's ready to leave "Shark Tank."  On the Showtime podcast "All The Smoke," Cuban said the next season of the ABC series will be his last.  Cuban first guested on "Shark Tank" in season two, and will leave season 16.  He told hosts Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson that he loves the show because of "the message the American dream is alive and well."  Cuban said he's invested in hundreds of companies over the years, and he's proud the show has inspired "multiple generations of entrepreneurs."


>>Charlie Munger Dead At 99

(Undated)  --  Billionaire Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett's business partner, has died at 99.  A press release from Berkshire Hathaway said Munger died Tuesday at a California hospital, with Buffett saying in a statement that the company would not be what it is today without "Charlie's inspiration, wisdom, and participation.   Munger was also a real estate attorney, chairman and publisher of the Daily Journal Corporation.  His fortune was estimated to be over two-billion dollars.


>>Student Walkouts At CSU Campuses Including SFSU

(San Francisco, CA)  --  Student-organized walkouts took place on all California State University campuses, including San Francisco State Tuesday.  SFSU students say they skipped classes in protest of a six-percent tuition hike over the next five years.  A rep with the Student Union maintains that it's unfair for the CSU administration to call for increased fees when 655 classes will be slashed.  They argue that would mean students would be forced to pay more for less education in the coming years.  Meanwhile, some 15-hundred faculty members at SF State are planning to hold a strike calling for better pay and manageable workloads on December 5th.


>>FedEx And UPS No Longer Biggest Delivery Companies In The US

(New York, NY)  --  Amazon delivers more packages to homes in the U.S. than both UPS and FedEx.  Amazon surpassed UPS in parcel volume in 2022 and FedEx in 2020.  Internal forecasts show Amazon is expecting to make some five-point-nine billion deliveries by the end of 2023.  UPS has said its domestic deliveries are unlikely to exceed last year's five-point-three billion.  FedEx Express and Ground Parcel volume reached roughly three-billion for its fiscal year.  FedEx parted ways with Amazon in 2019, but Amazon still has a delivery partnership with UPS and the e-commerce giant accounts for eleven percent of UPS's revenue.

AM Business Notebook

>>Consumer Confidence Rises In November

(New York, NY) -- Consumer confidence is bouncing back after three straight monthly declines. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose three points in November. The board's chief economist noted improved confidence about future business conditions, job availability and incomes. Still, fewer consumers planned to buy big ticket items including homes and autos in the next six months as interest rates remain high.


>>New Home Sales Dip In October

(Washington, DC) -- Sales of newly built homes slowed in October. According to the Commerce Department, homes under contract totaled 679-thousand for the month, which is down five-point-six percent from September. That's still nearly 18 percent above the sales rate of one year ago. The median price of a new home sold in October was just over 409-thousand dollars.


>>Biden Announces Actions On Supply Chains

(Washington, DC) -- President Biden is rolling out new actions to strengthen U.S. supply chains. While speaking from the White House Monday, Biden announced he launched a new council focused on ensuring supply chains remain secure and diversified. Other actions include the creation of an early warning system to spot supply chain risks and invoking the Defense Production Act to make more essential medicines in America and mitigate drug shortages. Biden said his administration is focused on lowering the price of goods for Americans.


>>Store Branded Credit Card Origination Declining

(New York, NY) -- Holiday spending is up, but with it, consumers have far less interest in signing up for store branded credit cards. Private Label credit cards can carry interest rate of 30-percent and up. They've been very lucrative for retailers; but not great for borrowers. Store cards tend to charge higher interest because they are less selective when it comes to credit quality. However, interest in these credit cards is waning as American's carry fewer credit cards and increasingly finance purchases with 'buy now, pay later' apps, an updated version of layaway. The average interest rate for retail cards is 28.9 percent, compared with 21.1 percent for all credit cards.


>>Google to Delete Inactive Accounts December 1st

(Mountain View, CA) -- Google is days away from deleting inactive accounts. Beginning December 1st, Google will delete unattended accounts of all photos, calendar entries, e-mails, contacts and Drive documents. The company says it's in an effort to protect users from security threats. According to Google's data experts, accounts with old or reused passwords are ten times more likely to be compromised by hackers. To keep an account from being deleted, simply log into any of the following Google tools: Gmail, Google Drive, Google Photos, or Google Play. Changing the account password and enabling two-factor verification is recommended.


>>Intuit Adds AI Features to TurboTax

(Mountain View, CA) -- Intuit is adding generative AI-powered tax prep features to TurboTax. The Mountain View, California-based company will unveil the new AI-enhanced version of its popular tax preparation software on November 30. Human assistance in English and Spanish remains available for TurboTax Live customers.


>>Sunday Breaks TSA Travel Record

(Washington, DC) -- The TSA says Sunday broke the single-day travel record. More than two-point-nine-million people passed through security at U.S. airports as people traveled home from Thanksgiving. Airlines also reported record numbers over the holiday. American Airlines said it saw almost six-point-five million customers over Thanksgiving while United Airlines had three-point-two million passengers between November 17th and November 23rd. The records were shattered despite a storm system that caused hundreds of flights to be delayed.

AM Business Notebook

>>Sunday Breaks TSA Travel Record

(Washington, DC) -- The TSA says Sunday broke the single-day travel record. More than two-point-nine-million people passed through security at U.S. airports as people traveled home from Thanksgiving. Airlines also reported record numbers over the holiday. American Airlines said it saw almost six-point-five million customers over Thanksgiving while United Airlines had three-point-two million passengers between November 17th and November 23rd. The records were shattered despite a storm system that caused hundreds of flights to be delayed.


>>Intuit Adds AI Features to TurboTax

(Mountain View, CA) -- Intuit is adding generative AI-powered tax prep features to TurboTax. The Mountain View, California-based company will unveil the new AI-enhanced version of its popular tax preparation software on November 30. Human assistance in English and Spanish remains available for TurboTax Live customers.


>>Biden Announces Supply Chain Council

(Washington, DC) -- President Biden is rolling out plans to improve America's logistics with a new Supply Chain Council. The White House announced today that he is establishing what will formally be called the White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience. The new group will be co-chaired by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and national economic adviser Lael Brainard with the first-ever meeting today.


>>Cyber Monday Is Here

(San Diego, CA) -- It's Cyber Monday and time to look for those hidden sales. Amazon has some, like a 32-inch high definition TV for 80 bucks. There's also vacuum cleaners, pillows, airpods, mattresses, furniture and plenty of other electronics at huge discounts. Analysts say beware of scams though and do your research. If you want to purchase something and don't know much about the company, Google the name and type scam or research after it or contact your local Better Business Bureau.


>>Black Friday Sales Rise In The U.S.

(New York, NY) -- Sales were up in the U.S. on Black Friday. Mastercard Spendingpulse said on Saturday that retail sales rose two-point-five percent year-over-year, not adjusting for inflation. Mastercard Spendingpulse measures in-store and online sales across all forms of payment, and said it expects retail sales to grow three-point-seven percent during the holiday season.


>>"Hunger Games" Prequel Tops Box Office Second Straight Week

(Hollywood, CA) -- The Hunger Games prequel "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" topped the box office for the second-straight week with 42-million-dollars. The Ridley Scott historical drama "Napoleon" finished second with 32-point-five-million-dollars. The animated film "Wish" settled for third place with an estimated 31-point-seven-million-dollars during the five-day weekend, around 15-to-20-million-dollars below projections.

AM Business Notebook

>>Existing Home Sales Fall Again In October

(Washington, DC) -- Sales of previously owned homes fell to their lowest level in 13 years in October. The National Association of Realtors says existing home sales declined four percent last month to an annual rate of fewer than three-point-eight million units. The group's chief economist said high mortgage rates and the lack of inventory kept many prospective buyers on the sidelines. The median price of a home sold in October was just over 394-thousand dollars. 


>>Poll: More Americans Support Funding For Border Security Than For Foreign Conflicts

(New York, NY) -- More American voters support funding for security along the U.S. southern border than for foreign conflicts. That's according to a NBC News national poll that found 74-percent of voters supported more funding for security at the U.S.-Mexico border. Meanwhile, 58-percent supported more funding for humanitarian aid to Gaza while 55-percent backed more military aid funding for Israel. The poll also found that 55-percent of voters support more funding for Ukraine military aid. This comes as lawmakers debate aid packages for Ukraine and Israel. AM Business Notebook For: November 21, 2023


>>Musk's X Sues Media Matters For America

(Fort Worth, TX) -- Elon Musk's X is suing Media Matters for America for defamation, alleging they defamed the platform following a report that said major brand ads appeared next to posts touting Hitler and the Nazi party. Musk and X have faced backlash since the report was published Thursday, causing several major advertisers to pull ads from the platform in response. Filed in a U.S. District Court in Texas, the lawsuit claims Media Matters manipulated the platform.


>>Tesla Shareholder Calls On Board To Suspend Elon Musk

(Austin, TX) -- A Tesla shareholder is calling on the company's board of directors to suspend Elon Musk for endorsing antisemitic ideas on social media. Jerry Braakman wants the board to make it clear that Musk is in the wrong for agreeing with an antisemitic post on X. The president of First American Trust, Braakman said in a statement that while he believes in free speech, there's "no excuse for spreading hatred by a CEO of a public company."


>>Sam Altman Moves To Microsoft For AI Group

(Redmond, WA) -- Sam Altman is moving to Microsoft to help lead a new artificial intelligence group. He was ousted last week as CEO of OpenAI, ChatGPT's parent. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the company "remains committed" to OpenAI. Microsoft has a 49-percent stake it it. Greg Brockman is joining Altman in the new effort at Microsoft. He was demoted as part of Altman being removed.


>>Strike Likely for SEPTA Police

(Philadelphia, PA) -- Dozens of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Police officers could go on strike later today. The likelihood has increased after very little negotiations between the union, Fraternal Order of Transit Police Lodge 109 and the transit agency. The union has said that SEPTA will have a new offer this morning which could hold off the strike. Both sides have been working on a new deal for quite a while.

AM Business Notebook

>>Elon Musk Threatens "Thermonuclear Lawsuit" As X Ad Boycott Grows

(San Francisco, CA) -- Elon Musk says he's going to file a "thermonuclear lawsuit" against nonprofit watchdog Media Matters and others as more major companies stop advertising on X, formerly known as Twitter. In a post today, Musk wrote he'll file suit "the split second court opens on Monday." He accused Media Matters and unnamed "others" of colluding to attack his company. Apple, Disney, and IBM reportedly have paused advertising on X over an antisemitism storm that's swirling around the social media platform.


>>SpaceX Views Starship Test Flight As A Success

(Boca Chica, TX) -- SpaceX is putting a positive spin on the second test of its Starship rocket even though it ended in an explosion minutes after launch. The Saturday morning liftoff saw the Starship successfully blast off and then separate from its first stage booster. However, ground controllers lost communication with the spacecraft a short time later. A SpaceX broadcast of the launch said it appeared an automated flight termination system "triggered" as the rocket headed downrange over the Gulf of Mexico. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote on X,"Congratulations @SpaceX team."


>>Deflation Might Be On The Horizon At The Grocery Store

(New York, NY) -- Walmart CEO Doug McMillon says the U.S. food industry may be heading into a period of deflation after three years of punishing price hikes. Food prices have increased 25-percent since the pandemic started, but reprieve might be on the horizon. The pace of food inflation has slowed in recent months, but food prices are mostly still going up, they rose three-point-three percent annually in October from a year ago. This is according to the Labor Department but prices on some staples like bacon, seafood and eggs have dropped. The reason for this is a strong US dollar makes imported goods cheaper, and some of those savings get passed on to consumers. Supply chain disruptions are largely in the rearview mirror, and energy costs have declined.


>>UAW Members Approve New Contract

(Detroit, MI) -- It looks like United Auto Workers union members have approved a new contract with the Big Three U.S. automakers. The vote was close among members at General Motors with around 55-percent voting in favor of the deal. Preliminary results show members at Stellantis and Ford are also on track to approve the contract. UAW president Shawn Fain will give an update on the vote totals later today.


>>Latest "Hunger Games" Movie Tops Box Office

(Hollywood, CA) -- The latest in the "Hunger Games" series tops this weekend's box office with an estimated 44-million-dollars. "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" outpaced "Trolls Band Together," which finished second with 30.6-million-dollars. Last week's top film, "The Marvels," is in a virtual tie with the Sony debut "Thanksgiving," as both come in at ten-point-two-million-dollars. "Five Nights at Freddy's rounds out the top five.

AM Business Notebook

>>Walmart: Food Prices To Go Down After High Inflation (Little Rock, AR) - Consumers could see prices go down at the grocery store. After three years of heavy inflation, Walmart's CEO said the US food industry could be heading into a period of deflation. Food prices have reportedly gone up 25 percent since the pandemic began.


>>Toyota Camry Goes Hybrid Only

(Detroit, MI) - The Toyota Camry is going hybrid-only. The redesigned version of the best-selling car in America is currently available both ways, but the 2025 version will only be sold as a hybrid. It'll join other Toyotas currently sold as hybrid only, including the Sienna minivan and Sequoia SUV.


>>Mars Acquires Hotel Chocolat In $661 Million Deal

(McLean, VA) -- U.S. candy giant Mars is buying British luxury chocolate maker Hotel Chocolat. The deal is worth 662-million dollars and sent stocks in Hotel Chocolat soaring after it was announced Thursday. Hotel Chocolat was founded thirty years ago and opened its first store almost 20 years ago. The brand has grown to have over 100 stores in the U.K. along with cafes, restaurants and a luxury hotel with a working cocoa farm in the Caribbean. The company said the deal with Mars will allow it to grow its international market much more quickly.


>>Holiday Window Displays Can Now Be Seen In New York City

(New York, NY) -- A true sign of the holiday season can now be seen in New York City. Holiday window displays have been unveiled at Bloomingdale's, Macy's, and also Bergdorf Goodman. Over the next few weeks, millions of people will be coming to the Big Apple to shop and check out attractions like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. The NYPD is going to have additional officers on duty to help keep everyone safe.

AM Business Notebook

>>Paid Leave Fraud

Some people who haven’t applied for benefits through Paid Leave Oregon are receiving letters saying they did. The agency says fraudsters are attempting to access benefits by stealing the identity of Oregonians. Officials say the Paid Leave Oregon system was not hacked… and contend the identity verification system is working exactly as designed. Without confirmation of a person’s identity, the fraud attempt is halted.


>>Senate Passes Stopgap Funding Bill

(Washington, DC) -- The Senate has passed a stopgap bill to fund the government and avoid a shutdown. The vote was 87-to-11, with just 60 votes needed to pass. It will now head to the desk of President Biden to be signed. Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell say they support the bill that extends government funding through early next year. House Speaker Mike Johnson passed the measure with mostly Democratic votes after dozens of Republicans opposed the plan due to a lack of spending cuts.


>>Suit Accuses UnitedHealth Group Of Using AI To Deny Claims

(Minnetonka, MN) -- UnitedHealth Group is getting sued. The healthcare and insurance company is accused of using a faulty artificial intelligence algorithm to wrongly deny coverage for Medicaid patients who need rehab after being hospitalized. The lead plaintiffs are the families of two patients, who needed long-term care in post-acute facilities. The suit alleges that UnitedHealth's Medicare Advantage health plans denied payments for claims from the patients medical caregivers, forcing up to 70 thousand dollars in out-of -pocket costs for continuing care.


>>Unionized Starbucks Workers On 1-Day Strike

(Seattle, WA) -- Unionized Starbucks baristas are going on strike for one day today. Thousands of employees across the nation will hit the picket lines on the company's Red Cup Day, a popular promotional event when Starbucks gives out holiday-themed reusable cups. Workers are accusing the company of refusing to fairly negotiate at cafes that voted to organize.


>>Target CEO Claims Customers Grateful For Locked Up Merchandise (Minneapolis, MN) -- The CEO of Target claims customers are thankful for stores locking up certain merchandise. While discussing the retailer's third-quarter earnings with reporters, CEO Brian Cornell said shopper response to Target's decision to lock up items like toothpaste and deodorant has been "positive." Cornell said customers have been grateful they are finding items they are looking for in stock since Targets started putting the items in locked cases. He added that Target has invested in making sure team members are available to unlock cases quickly for customers. Target recently closed nine stores in New York City, California's Bay Area, Seattle and Portland citing violence and theft.


>>Retail Experts Predict Fewer Toys Under The Christmas Tree This Year

(New York, NY) -- Retail experts say there may be fewer presents under the Christmas tree this year because consumers are buying fewer toys. They say Barbie dolls, Transformers and Hot Wheels are on the top of children's wish lists this year, but that parents worldwide are struggling with high inflation. Many retailers ordered fewer toys than usual this holiday season, anticipating lower demand. Some experts, however, are expecting a late surge in demand.

AM Business Notebook

>>Federal Reserve Likely To Make Cuts To Interest Rates In Spring

(Washington, DC) -- The Federal Reserve will likely make deep cuts to interest rates this spring. That's according to a new estimate from UBS Investment Bank. The cuts could come as early as March. UBS said easing inflation could pave a way for a two-point-seven-five percent decrease in the interest rate over the year. That would almost halve the current nearly five-and-a-half percent rate. It also predicted the economy would go into a recession by next year's second quarter, which would enable a rate cut.


>>Retail Experts Predict Fewer Toys Under The Christmas Tree This Year

(New York, NY) -- Retail experts say there may be fewer presents under the Christmas tree this year because consumers are buying fewer toys. The experts say Barbie dolls, Transformers and Hot Wheels are on the top of children's wish lists this year, but that parents worldwide are struggling with high inflation. Reuters says many retailers ordered fewer toys than usual this holiday season, anticipating lower demand. Some experts, however, are expecting a late surge in demand. A spokesperson for Mattel says they're expecting a good season, and are already seeing some early Black Friday sales.


>>Starbucks Union Plans Strike For Red Cup Day

(Buffalo, NY) -- Starbucks union workers are planning their largest strike ever for one of the coffee chain's busiest days of the year. Starbucks Workers United said in a news release that it is demanding the company come to an agreement over staffing and scheduling issues on Red Cup Day, along with turning off mobile ordering for big promotion days. The union says the yearly event in which Starbucks gives away free reusable holiday cups is its "biggest sales event of the season" and "one of the most infamously hard, understaffed days for the baristas that work them."


>>NBA, Sotheby's Partner For Game Worn Jersey Auctions

(New York, NY) -- The NBA and auction house Sotheby's are giving basketball fans the chance to own game worn jerseys from their favorite players. The two announced a multi-year partnership that makes Sotheby's the official game-worn source of the NBA. The first auctions kicked off Tuesday with a selection of more than 60 jerseys worn by NBA players in the first games played this season. Among them is the jersey worn by rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama in his debut game with the San Antonio Spurs. The jersey is expected to sell for between 80-and-120-thousand dollars.

AM Business Notebook

>>CPI Report Shows Inflation Cooling

(Washington, DC) -- New consumer price numbers show inflation is cooling. The Labor Department says the consumer price index was flat in October while most economists expected a slight rise. The core CPI, which excludes food and energy rose two-tenths of a percent for the month. It increased three-point-two percent from a year ago which is also less than expected.


>>Classes Canceled Again As PPS Teachers Strike Continues

(Portland, OR) -- Classes are canceled again today in the Portland Public Schools district as the teachers' strike continues into its third week. The district said yesterday its bargaining team is continuing to work to negotiate an agreement with the teachers union for a new contract for the teachers. The district says the teachers union is calling for changes that would cost 220-million dollars more than it currently has in its budget. Teachers say the district has the money to meet their demands. The Portland Association of Teachers is demanding smaller classroom sizes and a pay raise of 21-percent over three years.


>>UAW President To Appear Before Congressional Committee

(Washington, DC)  --  The president of the United Auto Workers union is headlining a Democrat-controlled hearing today to talk about the resurgence of unions.  UAW President Shawn Fain will discuss the role of unions in Senator Bernie Sanders' committee.  Fain's testimony will come about two weeks after the UAW reached a tentative agreement to end a strike against the Big Three automakers.  Fain will be joined by the Teamster's president who is coming off a victory over UPS, and the head of the flight attendants' union.   


>>Amazon Trims Nearly 200 Jobs In Gaming Division

(Seattle, WA)  --  Amazon is trimming nearly 200 jobs in its games division.  According to CNBC, the cuts were announced in an internal memo on Monday.  The vice president of Amazon Games called it "difficult news."  The memo noted Amazon will now focus on upcoming launches such as "Throne and Liberty" and "Blue Protocol" along with future initiatives.  The company plans to close its Game Growth and Crown Channel initiatives as part of restructuring.  


>>Nurses Strike at RWJUH Continues with No End in Sight

(New Brunswick, NJ) -- The strike by nurses at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital is in its third month -- with no end in sight.  The strike passed its 100-day mark this past weekend.  More than 17-hundred nurses have been on the picket line since early August, demanding better staffing ratios, better pay and a cap on health insurance costs.  Nurses contend their demands would ensure better patient care and safety.  The hospital maintains it has given its best offer and would make staffing levels the highest in the state.  Governor Phil Murphy has called on both sides to settle the strike but otherwise he has not intervened.  

AM Business Notebook

>>Moody's Ranks U.S. Credit Outlook Negative

(Undated) -- Moody's Investors Service is cutting its outlook on the country's credit rating to negative, down from stable. The change was made Friday, citing high interest rates and doubts about the government being able to implement effective fiscal policy. Moody's still has the debt rating at triple-A, the only one of the three major credit-rating agencies to do so. Others have cut the rating down to double-A-plus.


>>Details Of SAG-AFTRA Agreement Announced

(Los Angeles, CA) -- Protections against artificial intelligence and increased pay for background actors are among the issues that were addressed in the agreement between the actors union and studios. The two sides agreed to "consent and compensation" related to A-I generated replicas of SAG-AFTRA members. An eleven-percent wage increase for background actors takes effect on Sunday, with additional increases over the next two years. Other issues include additional residuals for streaming and allowances for relocation.


>>Gas Prices Steady (Undated) -- Drivers in Texas are still seeing the nation's lowest gas prices. According to Triple-A, the average price in the Lone Star State is two-dollars and 80 cents per gallon. The national average today is basically unchanged from yesterday at three-36.


>>"The Marvels" Sees Worst MCU Opening

(Hollywood, CA) -- "The Marvels" is off to a rough start at the box office. The Disney movie that brings back Captain Marvel made an estimated 47-million-dollars in its premiere weekend, the worst opening in MCU history. Despite making less than projected, it still beat out "Five Nights at Freddy's" at the box office this weekend. "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" slips to third place, while "Priscilla" holds at fourth. Next weekend could see higher numbers with the actors strike having ended and actors once again able to promote their films.

AM Business Notebook

>>World's Largest Bank Hit By Cyberattack

(New York, NY)  --  The world's largest bank has been hit by a cyberattack, forcing it to trade using a flash drive.  The New York office of the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China was hit with a ransomware attack on Thursday, making it unable to clear U.S. Treasury trades.  The bank had to use messengers carrying USB drives to complete its trades, and other banks and brokerages were also forced to reroute trades.  One cybersecurity expert called it "a true shock to large banks around the world."  


>>IRS Announces New Income Tax Brackets

(Washington, DC)  --  The IRS has released its new income tax brackets for 2024.  Income thresholds have been boosted for each bracket applying to tax year 2024, with the top rate of 37-percent applying to those with taxable income just over 609-thousand dollars, and married couples filing who jointly earn over 731-thousand dollars.  Standard deductions will also rise in 2024, up about two-thousand dollars for married couples who file jointly, and about 800-dollars for single filers.  


>>California Government Scientists Plan Strike

(Sacramento, CA) -- Scientists in California's state government, represented by the California Association of Professional Scientists, plan to strike for three days starting November 15th.  The strike follows three years of unsuccessful wage negotiations, with CAPS seeking significant raises.  After an impasse, mediation talks are ongoing, with the next meeting scheduled for November 28th. Specific strike details are pending, but it will be a rolling three-day action.  The state is engaging in mediation to reach an agreement with CAPS.  The move will mark California's first civil servant strike.


>>Mortgage Rates Fall In Biggest Weekly Drop Since Previous Year

(Washington, DC)  --  Mortgage rates are down in the biggest weekly drop since last year. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage went down to seven-point-five percent this week, down from a quarter of a percentage point from the week before. That's according to data from Freddie Mac. It's the second straight week rates have gone down after rising for seven weeks in a row. 


>>Report: People Of Color Getting Equal Time On TV

(Los Angeles, CA)  --  People of color are starting to get equal time on TV for the first time ever.  UCLA released its 2023 Hollywood TV diversity report this week, and it shows that in the 2021-22 season people of color were getting proportionate representation on broadcast and cable television.  The report found the number of people of color in lead roles grew on broadcast and cable media, but declined slightly on digital media.  Overall, the report found people of color were still largely limited to supporting roles.  


>>Amazon Makes Online Grocery Available For Non-Prime Members 

(Seattle, WA)  --  Amazon is opening up the online grocery experience to more people.  The online retail giant announced today customers will no longer need an Amazon Prime membership to order groceries from Amazon Fresh for delivery or free pickup.  The expansion will be available everywhere Amazon Fresh is offered and will be available to Whole Foods shoppers soon.  The company adds Amazon shoppers will also be able to order from local grocers and specialty shops through the Amazon website, including stores like Bristol Farms, Cardenas Markets, Pet Food Express, Weis Markets and Save Mart.  

AM Business Notebook

>>The Data Says We Have a Solid Economy, But Americans Aren't Feeling It

(New York, NY) -- Despite all kinds of positive news about the economy, Americans can't seem to shake their financial despair. According to the data: inflation is slowing, the job market is the best in a generation, and consumer spending is robust; a CNN poll finds 72-percent of Americans say things today are going badly, and 66-percent said the economy will be "extremely important" when deciding who to vote for next year. Housing is a big part of the equation: a combination of high prices and high mortgage rates are keeping many Americans on the sidelines. And while inflation may be falling, prices are not. Your morning cup of coffee still costs 60 cents more than it did before the pandemic, which greatly effects consumers perception of the economy.


>>Third GOP Presidential Primary: Inflation

(Miami, FL) -- South Carolina Senator Tim Scott says America needs to invest in itself to stave off inflation. During the third GOP presidential debate in Florida, Scott said more oil leases will drive gas prices down and help American families. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he would reverse "Bidenomics" and focus on stable prices. Entrepreneur Vivek [[ vi-vake ]] Ramaswamy [[ Rah-muh-swah-mee ]] said more drilling, and fracking would be a good start to bringing energy prices down. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said energy is the key to bringing down prices in every market, including groceries. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said she would suspend the gas and diesel tax.


>>Biden In Illinois Today

(Belvidere, IL) -- President Joe Biden will be in Illinois today. Biden will stop in Belvidere, about 75 miles northwest of downtown Chicago, to meet with the head of the United Auto Workers union. Both are expected to highlight plans to reopen the iconic Assembly Plant there and showcase tentative contract agreements that ended a union strike that targeted General Motors, Ford and Stellantis. Under the deal, Stellantis agreed to build a new gas-powered midsize pickup truck in Belvidere, plus open a new electric vehicle battery plant in the city. Biden will then head to Chicago for a fundraiser with mega-donors.


>>SAG-AFTRA Approves Deal To End Historic Strike

(Hollywood, CA) -- It appears the longest actors strike against film and television studios in Hollywood history is ending. The SAG-AFTRA union says the strike will officially end at 12:01 a.m. Thursday after a deal was approved via a unanimous vote. An agreement will now go to the SAG-AFTRA national board to be approved Friday. Over the last several days, both sides have been putting the final touches on a deal, which included protection for actors against AI and an almost seven percent pay increase. The strike lasted 118 days, the longest U.S. actors strike in history.


>>GM Cruise Recalls Driverless Cars After Robotaxi Crash

(Washington, DC) -- General Motors' Cruise is recalling nearly a thousand driverless cars from the roads after a crash involving one of its robotaxis. The automaker said there will likely be more recalls. The collision detection subsystem of the automated driving software could respond improperly after a crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Cruise said last month that it would pause operations throughout the country after California regulators halted the robotaxi operators' license.

AM Business Notebook

>> Americans Owe Over A Trillion Dollars On Credit Cards

(New York, NY) -- Americans owe over a trillion dollars on their credit cards. That's according to a new report on household debt from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It found that credit card balances spiked by over 150-billion-dollars year over year. It's the largest increase this century.


>>Employee Attrition Rates Declining Precipitously

(New York, NY) -- More people are deciding to stay at their jobs. White-collar job turnover has declined so steeply at some large employers that companies now find themselves over budget on certain teams and projects. Hiring slowed in October, with U.S. employers adding half as many jobs as they did in September. The unemployment rate rose to three-point-nine-percent, but is still hovering near historic lows, according to the Labor Department. Nationally, the quits rate remained at two-point-three-percent in September for the third month in a row, down from a three-percent peak in April 2022. This year, 73-percent of workers said they planned to stay at their jobs, up from 61-percent last year.


>>SAG-AFTRA Strike Could Soon Be Over

(Los Angeles, CA) -- The actors strike could soon come to a close. According to Deadline, SAG-AFTRA and motion picture and television studios have reportedly reached an agreement on the use of artificial intelligence. The use of AI to recreate actors' likenesses has been a major topic in negotiations, as well as revenue sharing. The union's lead negotiators and studios met on Tuesday in what could be the final phase to sealing a new deal and the end to the more than three-month strike.


>>Americans Owe Over A Trillion Dollars On Credit Cards

(New York, NY) -- Americans owe over a trillion dollars on their credit cards. That's according to a new report on household debt from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It found that credit card balances spiked by over 150-billion-dollars year over year. It's the largest increase this century. Credit card delinquency rates also went up, especially among millennials burdened with high levels of student loan debt.


>>Detroit City Council Weighing Strikers Bill Of Rights

(Detroit, MI) -- Striking Detroit casino workers are asking city council to pass the Detroit Strikers Bill of Rights resolution. Hundreds of people filled the Detroit City Council auditorium on Tuesday to show their support for the package. The resolutions would requires vehicles to stay 50 feet away, keep barriers off of sidewalks, allow drivers to honk in support and would allow strikers to have heat sources without the threat of confiscation or ticket. The council is expected to vote on the measure next week.


>>Sony To Remove Support For X From PlayStation

(San Mateo, CA) -- Sony will soon remove support for the social media platform X from its PlayStation video game consoles. The company said users will no longer be able to view or post content on X from PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 consoles starting November 13th. Sony did not provide a reason for the change, but X announced earlier this year it would start to charge companies as much as 210-thousand dollars a month to access its application programming interface. X owner Elon Musk claimed the previous free access to the API was being abused by bot scammers. Microsoft dropped support for X from its Xbox video game console in April.


>>Mets Owner Unveils Plans For Casino

(Flushing, NY) -- New York Mets owner Steve Cohen is unveiling his plan for a casino in Queens. The proposed entertainment complex, dubbed "Metropolitan Park," would be an eight-billion-dollars gaming center, hotel and music venue near Citi Field. There would also be 20 acres of green space. Cohen is vying for a casino license, which under state law, only three new licenses could be issued in the downstate region.

AM Business Notebook

>>Employee Attrition Rates Declining Precipitously

(New York, NY) -- More people are deciding to stay at their jobs. White-collar job turnover has declined so steeply at some large employers that companies now find themselves over budget on certain teams and projects. Hiring slowed in October, with U.S. employers adding half as many jobs as they did in September. The unemployment rate rose to three-point-nine-percent, but is still hovering near historic lows, according to the Labor Department. Nationally, the quits rate remained at two-point-three-percent in September for the third month in a row, down from a three-percent peak in April 2022. This year, 73-pecent of workers said they planned to stay at their jobs, up from 61-percent last year.


>>Actor's Strike: Still No Deal

(Los Angeles, CA) -- The striking actors' union is rejecting the industry's so-called "last, best and final" offer as the strike rolls over into another day. SAG-AFTRA, the union representing some 160-thousand striking actors, said Monday there are still several items where there is no agreement. The biggest of those is the use of artificial intelligence and the use of people's likenesses without permission. According to The Hollywood Reporter, SAG wants to secure compensation for re-using scans of people's images and for the studios to pay for the scans. As it stands now, studios can also use scans of dead actors without consent.


>>WeWork Files For Bankruptcy

(New York, NY) -- Office-sharing company WeWork is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Once valued at 47-billion dollars just a few years ago, the company reported liabilities ranging from ten-billion to 50-billion dollars. Many companies ended their leases during the pandemic, with millions of square feet leased across almost 800 locations worldwide according to regulatory filings.


>>White House Teaming Up With Chicago To Help Migrants Apply For Work Permits

(Chicago, IL) -- The White House is teaming up with the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois to launch a pilot program to help migrants apply for work permits. The Sun Times reports the Biden administration pilot program kicks off Thursday in Chicago. It is designed to help asylum seekers apply for their work authorizations. Officials hope the granting of work permits will take some of the financial burden off the city and the state and fill a large number of job vacancies.


>>Amount of State Incentives for Boeing Announced

(St. Louis, MO) - The State of Missouri is preparing to support Boeing's potential expansion and creation of 500 more jobs in St. Louis. A news release Monday says the state is offering more than 377-million-dollars to the global airline manufacturing company through the Missouri Development Finance Board and its BUILD program. Boeing is Missouri's largest manufacturer and has had a presence in the state for more than 80 years. The company hasn't yet finalized its decision on where its expansion program will be based.

AM Business Notebook

>>Earnings Results On The Horizon

(Undated) -- Coming up in the business week ahead there are a number of noteworthy earnings reports. Uber's third quarter results are due on Tuesday. Walt Disney reports the following day along with Lyft, MGM Resorts and Virgin Galactic. We'll hear from the likes of AstraZeneca and GoodRx on Thursday.


>>Report: Ford To Pay 53-Million-Dollars In Lost Wages

(Detroit, MI) -- Ford reportedly will pay 53-million-dollars in lost wages to striking workers. The Detroit Free Press says it obtained a copy of the settlement in the strike agreement between Ford and the United Auto Workers union. The newspaper cited a UAW source that the settlement would amount to an estimated 110-dollars-per-day for each employee affected by the strike. Settlement payments would not be dispersed until after the strike agreement is ratified by UAW members.


>>Musk Debuts 'Grok'

(Undated) -- Elon Musk is debuting "Grok," the first technology from his new AI company "xAI." The company says it is modeled on "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," and is supposed to have some wit and a "rebellious streak." The prototype is in its early beta phase, and only a small number of users will have access before a wider release to use the chatbot. It will eventually be a feature of X Premium+, which Musk said would be 16-dollars a month.


>>Atlantic City Electric Workers Strike After Talks Stall

(Mays Landing, NJ) -- Atlantic City Electric's union workers have decided to strike after the two sides failed to agree to a resolution. The utility making the announcement yesterday morning after they and IBEW Local 210 failed to reach an agreement. The work stoppage applies to roughly 400 employees spread over numerous positions. In an email to its customers, Atlantic City Electric says it has been negotiating with the labor union for the last few months, according to The Press of A-C. The contract expired on Thursday.


>>NRF Expects 2023 Holiday Spending To Hit Record Levels

(Washington, DC) -- Holiday spending is expected to hit record levels this year. The National Retail Federation projects holiday sales of about 960-billion dollars or more during November and December. The NRF says a three-to-four percent growth rate over 2022 is not surprising given household finances for most Americans "remain in good shape." The holiday spending forecast is in line with the average annual increase of three-point-six percent before the COVID-19 pandemic.

AM Business Notebook

>>Unemployment Ticks Up In October

(Washington, DC) -- The unemployment rate is ticking up. Numbers out from the Labor Department this morning show the unemployment rate rose a tenth of a percent in October to three-point-nine-percent. Analysts had expected the rate to hold steady at three-point-eight percent. Payroll jobs increased by 150-thousand for the month. It's the highest unemployment rate since January 2022.


>>Jurors Find Sam Bankman-Fried Guilty

(New York, NY) -- Jurors have found FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried guilty on seven federal counts of fraud and conspiracy. Nearly 20 witnesses testified over a month-long period on the cryptocurrency exchange founder's case. Bankman-Fried faces more than 100 years in prison. Once expected to run all the way up to Thanksgiving, the trial moved swiftly, with jurors deliberating for a little over four hours before coming to a verdict. Bankman-Fried will be sentenced in March 2024. Lead counsel Mark Cohen said in a statement that Bankman-Fried maintains his innocence and will "continue to vigorously fight the charges against him."


>>FTC: Amazon Made $1-Billion Through Secret Price-Raising Algorithm

(Seattle, WA) -- Federal regulators are accusing Amazon of using a secret algorithm that raised the prices Americans paid for purchases by more than a billion dollars. The claim made public Thursday is part of the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust suit against the online retail giant. An Amazon spokesperson said the FTC "grossly mischaracterizes" the pricing tool and that the company stopped using it several years ago.


>>Councils Review Contracts For GM, Stellantis

(Detroit, MI) -- United Auto Workers Union National Councils for General Motors and Stellantis are in Detroit reviewing the tentative contract agreements with the automakers. The Stellantis council will be reviewing the deal before deciding if union members can ratify the contract. The national council for General Motors will be meeting today. Voting by Ford employees took place Wednesday with many saying they favored the contract.


>>Uber and Lyft Settle New York Wage Theft Suit, Will Pay $328 Million

(San Francisco, CA) -- Uber and Lyft are agreeing to pay a combined 328-million-dollars to settle allegations that the companies unlawfully withheld wages from drivers. It was also alleged the companies failed to provide mandatory paid sick leave. New York Attorney General Letitia James said it is the largest wage-theft settlement it's won. More than 100-thousand drivers could be eligible to receive the funds and benefits under the agreements.


>>Six Flags And Cedar Fair Merge

(New York, NY) -- Six Flags and Cedar Fair are merging to create a powerhouse theme park company. Together, the companies control 27 amusement parks and 15 water parks in North America. Both operate in different parts of the continent-Cedar Fair owns Knott's Berry Farm in California along with parks in Texas and Ontario and its flagship in Ohio, while Six Flags has about 20 parks in the US, two in Mexico and one in Canada. The new company will keep the name Six Flags but trade under Cedar Fair's stock ticker, FUN.

AM Business Notebook

>>Fed Skips Rate Hike

(Washington, DC) -- The Federal Reserve is leaving interest rates unchanged for now. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters yesterday that the central bank will continue to track inflation and the health of the economy. He added that there's still a long way to go to get inflation down to two-percent. It's the second time in a row the Fed held interest rates steady following eleven rate hikes, including four this year. The move keeps the fed funds' target rate at a range of five-point-two-five to five-point-five percent.


>>Toyota Announcing Raises After UAW, Detroit Three Tentative Agreements

(Detroit, MI) -- Toyota is announcing they will increase wages after the United Auto Workers and the Detroit Three automakers reached tentative agreements. Toyota says they are not releasing the details of the increases publicly. A flyer that was circulating on social media showed the company was introducing a two-percent wage increase for top-paid production workers and a quarter of a percentage increase for top-paid skilled trade workers with wages increasing around nine percent starting in January. Executive vice president of corporate resources Chris Reynolds says the value their employees and want to ensure compensation keeps them competitive in the industry.


>>SAG-AFTRA And Studios Make Progress

(Los Angeles, CA) -- Negotiators will be back at the bargaining table today to try to end the Hollywood actors strike. Talks between the actors union and the major studios continued into Wednesday night, with artificial intelligence being a major sticking point. Sources from both SAG-AFTRA and the producers alliance say talks are heading in the right direction, and that a tentative deal could be reached within a week. Actors have been on strike for over 110 days, demanding better pay, benefits, and protections against artificial intelligence.


>>Report: 6 In 10 Live Paycheck To Paycheck

(Undated) -- More than six out of every 10 Americans live paycheck to paycheck. That's according to a new report from Lending Tree, which found around 63 percent of Americans were dependent on that next check to make ends meet in September, a number pretty much unchanged from a year ago. In households earning less than 50-thousand-dollars a year, nearly 80 percent reported living paycheck to paycheck.


>>More Americans Than Ever Have Side Hustles

(Undated) -- More Americans than ever have a side hustle. According to the latest survey from Pinger, 67 percent of Americans have a small business, do freelance work, or both. And 75 percent of those respondents say they work as an employee for another organization. Pinger also revealed that about 17 percent of people surveyed said they plan to start a business, a side hustle, or take on freelance work soon.


>>Starbucks To Debut Holiday Cups

(Seattle, WA) -- Move over pumpkin spice, Christmas is coming to Starbucks. The Seattle-based coffee giant will be rolling out this year's holiday cup designs today. The cup collection will have a traditional mix of holiday red and green plus magenta and some sparkle accents. This year's cups are designed by Bridget Shilling. Also on Thursday, customers can start ordering Starbucks holiday drinks, which include the Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brulée Latte, Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte and Chestnut Praline Latte. This year's new drinks are the Oleato Gingerbread Oatmilk Latte and Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai.

AM Business Notebook

>>SF Leads AI Jobs

(San Francisco, CA) -- San Francisco is number-one for jobs when it comes to artificial intelligence., which tracks tech job trends and salaries, reports that San Francisco beats out every other city with its share of A.I. by an big margin. Roughly 22-percent of A.I. positions are from companies based in The City By The Bay. That's more than the combined total A.I. job posts from the second- and third-ranked cities of Cupertino and LA. A.I. engineers earn an average of 385-thousand to 450-thousand-dollars a year.


>>Microsoft Is Unveiling Its Artificial Intelligence Feature

(Undated) - Microsoft is rolling out its new artificial intelligence feature. Copilot can create human-like text to answer questions and write emails, similar to Open AI's ChatGTP. It can also do PC-specific features like open apps and turn on Bluetooth. The new feature is part of a major update to Microsoft Windows Eleven. The company is looking to expand Copilot, but it is available in North America.


>>Tesla Wins Autopilot Trial

(Riverside, CA) -- Tesla has won the first U.S. trial over claims that its self-driving car caused a death. A civil lawsuit filed in California claimed the Tesla Autopilot system caused a Model 3 to suddenly drive off a highway east of Los Angeles in 2019 and hit a palm tree at 65 miles per hour, killing the driver and injuring two passengers. The plaintiffs were suing for 400-million dollars plus damages. Tesla denied liability, and the jury said they found the vehicle did not have a manufacturing defect. Tesla is facing several other lawsuits and investigations over fatal crashes while using Autopilot.


>>Two Russians Charged With Hacking JFK Airport Taxi Dispatch System

(New York, NY) -- Two Russian nationals, along with two New Yorkers, are charged with hacking the taxi dispatch system at JFK International Airport. The indictment says the two Russians, Aleksandr Derebenetc and Kirill Shipulin, hacked into the taxi dispatch system between 2019 and 2021, allowing certain cabbies to illegally cut to the front of the line in exchange for kickbacks. Two Queens residents, Daniel Abayev and Peter Leyman allegedly were the frontmen, collecting ten-dollar payoffs each time they advanced a taxi to the front of the line ahead of others. Federal prosecutors say the scheme involved as many as one-thousand cabs a day with at least 100-thousand-dollars transferred to the Russian hackers. The two Americans have pleaded guilty.


>>West Maui Reopens To Tourists

(Honolulu, HI) -- All of West Maui is fully reopening to tourism starting today. That has caused fears about wildfire evacuees being evicted from hotels. But, the American Red Cross says no one staying in hotels through its program will be evicted. People will be allowed to remain at hotels until at least February. Some people may have to switch hotels, but the Red Cross says those who do will be notified in advance.

AM Business Notebook

>>Consumer Confidence Fell Again In October (New York, NY) -- Consumer confidence is down for the third straight month. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index slipped nearly two points in October. The board's chief economist said many Americans are worried about rising prices, particularly for gas and groceries. The survey also noted consumers expressed concerns about the current political situation and the turmoil in the Middle East. More than two-thirds said a recession is somewhat or very likely in October.


>>Biden Signs Executive Order On AI

(Washington, DC) -- President Biden is issuing an executive order on artificial intelligence. While speaking from the White House, the president said the action is aimed at promoting the responsible development of the advancing technology. The order requires companies building the most advanced AI systems to perform safety tests and share results with the federal government before launching their products. Federal agencies will be required to use risk management practices when using AI that has the potential to impact people's rights or safety. The order also includes several actions to boost the development of AI in the U.S.


>>GM Reaches A Deal Tentative Deal With UAW

(Detroit, MI) -- It will be back to work soon for United Auto Workers members. This, after the union reached a tentative deal on Monday with GM that puts an end to the strike began more than six weeks ago. GM is the last of Detroit's big three automakers to reach a deal after the UAW reached an agreement with Stellantis over the weekend and with Ford earlier last week. The new deals include boosts in wages and benefits, reduces an eight year path to top wages to three years and allows the right to strike over any plant closures.


>>Department Of Education Withholds Payments To Student Loan Servicer

(Washington, DC) -- The Department of Education is withholding payments to a student loan servicer over billing statement errors. According to the Education Department, the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority failed to meet its basic obligation of getting out statements in a reasonable timeframe. That ended in two-and-a-half million borrowers receiving late statements, in some cases just days before payment was due. More than 800-thousand were put into delinquency status as a result.


>>Gas Prices Down

(Undated) -- Gas prices nationwide are falling, with experts predicting they'll fall even more in the next couple of weeks. The Energy Department says the average price of gas nationwide was down six cents in the past week, going to three-49 a gallon. The cost of crude oil dropping is being attributed as the main cause.


>>FDA Warns Against Use Of Certain OTC Eye Drops

(Washington, DC) -- The FDA is warning consumers not to use over-the-counter eye drop products from several major brands. The agency said there could be risk of eye infections leading to vision loss or blindness. The brands include CVS Health. Rite Aid, Target Up&Up, Velocity Pharma, Leader and Rugby. The FDA said investigators found unsanitary conditions in the manufacturing facility and positive bacterial test results from environmental sampling for critical drug production areas in the facility.


>>WanaBana Recall Underway

(Atlanta, GA) -- The FDA is urging parents to take their children to the doctor for a blood test if they ate WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches. This warning comes after four kids had elevated levels of lead and found that the children all ate the WanaBana apple cinnamon pouches. The agency tested multiple lots of the pouches and found "extremely high concentrations of lead." As a result of the findings, WanaBana issued a voluntary recall of the popular fruit puree pouches, which were sold across the country at various retailers, including Sam's Club, Amazon, and Dollar Tree.

AM Business Notebook

>>GM Reaches A Deal Tentative Deal With UAW

(Detroit, MI) -- The United Auto Workers strike is over. The union reached a tentative deal with GM that puts an end to negotiations after the strike began more than six weeks ago. GM is the last of Detroit's big three automakers to reach a deal after the UAW reached an agreement with Stellantis over the weekend and with Ford earlier last week. The new deals include boosts in wages and benefits, reduces an eight year path to top wages to three years and allows the right to strike over any plant closures. The new agreements must be ratified by members at each of the three automakers.


>>In The Business Week Ahead

(Undated) -- Coming up in the business week ahead, no major economic reports are on the calendar today. That changes on Tuesday with consumer confidence, the S&P Case-Shiller home price index and the beginning of a two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve. The following day brings the ADP employment report as well as data on job openings. At 2 pm Eastern, all eyes will be on the Fed's decision on interest rates, followed by a press conference from Chairman Jerome Powell. Weekly jobless claims come out Thursday morning, while the week wraps up with the monthly jobs report on Friday.


>>More Earnings Results On The Horizon

(Undated) -- Earnings season rolls on this week. McDonald's will be in the spotlight today with third quarter earnings due ahead of the opening bell on Wall Street. Pfizer reports on Tuesday with most analysts predicting a year-over-year decline. Wednesday brings word from Airbnb and CVS among others. The most noteworthy report on Thursday will be from Apple. Cinemark reports on Friday as the week wraps up, with expectations of higher revenues.


>>X Launches Two Subscription Tiers

(San Francisco, CA) -- Elon Musk's social media platform X has launched two subscription tiers. The Premium-Plus tier costs 16-dollars a month and comes with features like ad free feeds, revenue sharing and what the company calls the "largest reply boost." The other tier called "Basic" will cost three-dollars each month and will feature the ability to edit posts and make longer posts. The launch of the new subscription tiers comes as X tries to make up for lost advertising revenue since Musk took over the company. Reuters previously reported this month that the platform's ad revenue has dropped each month since Musk bought it.


>>Negotiations Continue As Fresno, California Teachers Strike Looms

(Fresno, CA) -- Happening in California: Despite positive talks over the weekend, fears continue to build over a possible strike within the Fresno Unified School District. The Fresno Teachers Association and the district are in prolonged contract negotiations, with concerns about a potential strike. Key issues include higher pay and class sizes. Parents express support for teachers but worry about safety during a strike. Negotiations continue today.


>>Apple Hosting "Scary Fast" Product Event

(Cupertino, CA) -- Apple is hosting another product event today, a month after introducing the iPhone 15. The online-only event, dubbed "scary fast," is expected to show off the company's next-generation silicon M3 chip and the newest iMac computers. The event starts at 8 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. Pacific.

AM Business Notebook

>>Consumer Sentiment Falls In October

(Ann Arbor, MI) -- Consumer sentiment is falling on inflation worries. The University of Michigan's final reading for October fell about six percent after two months of very little change. The survey noted the decline was driven largely by higher income consumers and reflects recent weakness in the stock market. Year-ahead inflation expectations rose one percent to their highest reading since May.


>>27 Customers Claim Salem Jeweler Stole Up To $800K Worth Of Gems, Jewelry

(Portland, OR) -- More victims have come forward in the case of the Salem jeweler arrested for allegedly stealing customers gems. Timeless Jeweler owner Douglas Wayne Gamble was arrested for allegedly stealing customers gems and replacing them with reproductions and other questionable practices. It cost customers between seven and eight hundred thousand dollars. Police say 18 more people have come forward saying Gamble stole from them. Police are asking any other potential victims to call Salem police.


>>GDP Rises Faster Than Expected

(Washington, DC) -- U.S. GDP is rising faster than expected this quarter. The GDP, or gross domestic product, is a measure of all goods and services produced in the economy. According to figures released Thursday, it rose four-point-nine percent from July through September, up from only an unrevised two-point-one percent pace. That's according to the Commerce Department. Economists attribute the sharp uptick to higher consumer spending, higher inventories, exports, residential investment and government spending.


>>Ford Says UAW Strike Cost $1.3-Billion

(Dearborn, MI) -- The United Auto Workers strike cost Ford Motor Company one-point-three-billion-dollars over its 41 days. The automaker it lost 400-million a week since the strike began September 15th and ended with the tentative contract agreement on Wednesday. Ford chief financial officer John Lawler says the company will stay profitable with the deal, but labor costs per vehicle will rise between 850 and 900 dollars. The UAW is still negotiating with General Motors and Stellantis.


>>Some Progress Seen During SAG-AFTRA Talks

(Los Angeles, CA) -- The actors union says they made some progress during Thursday's negotiations with major Hollywood studios. SAG-AFTRA members have reduced their demand for a first-year increase in minimum rates and said their focus is on "negotiating in good faith to secure a fair deal" for actors. The actors union and studio executives are still at odds on other issues, including the use of A-I and digital replicas. Both sides are expected to continue negotiations on Friday. Actors have been on strike since July 14th.


>>23andMe Denies Hack But Disables Feature

(South San Francisco, CA) -- Genetic testing company 23andMe is disabling one of its features after worldwide reports of a data breach. The company says it has temporarily disabled parts of its DNA Relatives feature, which allows users to share ancestry information with users around the world. The move was made after someone stole data that some users shared while using the feature. 23andMe denies there was a data breach, and says the hackers only got into the accounts of users who didn't change their login information after being hacked on other accounts.


>>Domino's Gives Away Free Pizzas For Those Paying Off Student Loans

(St. Louis, MO) -- Domino's is giving away free pizzas to those paying off student loans. The Emergency Pizzas for Student Loans program is an offshoot of the restaurant's existing Emergency Pizzas initiative. The chain is providing a limited number of free pizza codes until one-million-dollars worth of codes have been claimed. Domino's executive Kate Trumbull said that in the wake of student loan payments resuming for millions, the chain wanted to help in its own ways. She said "When life gives you loans, Domino's gives you free pizza."


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