Business News Archives for 2023-10

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."

AM Business Notebook

>>US GDP Rises Faster Than Expected

(Washington, DC) -- US GDP is rising faster than expected this quarter. 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.

 

>>Jobless Claims Rise

(Washington, DC) -- Jobless claims are up this week. The Labor Department says unemployment insurance claims for the week ending October 21st are up to 210-thousand. That's slightly higher than expected, but still low. Some experts believe the uptick is a sign that the U.S. labor market is showing signs of cooling.

 

>>UAW Reaches Tentative Agreement With Ford

(Detroit, MI) -- The United Auto Workers union is celebrating a tentative agreement with Ford. The agreement could signal the beginning of the end of the strike against Detroit's Big Three automakers that's been ongoing since September. The tentative deal with Ford will have to be ratified by UAW members before it becomes official. Over 40-thousand workers have walked off the job since the UAW went on strike demanding higher wages and better benefits.

 

>>Sam Bankman-Fried Set To Testify

(New York, NY) -- Failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried [[ freed ]] is set to testify at his criminal fraud trial today. He is charged with planning a scheme that stole as much as ten-billion dollars in deposits from customers of FTX. Prosecutors say he then funneled the money through things like political contributions and heavy spending. Bankman-Fried is likely to testify after the final witness is called in the morning. He already pleaded not guilty to seven charges of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.

 

>>Report: American Cardholders Paid 130 Billion Dollars In Fees And Interest

(Washington, DC) -- A new report shows Americans paid 130-billion dollars in interest and fees in 2022. That's from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which said it's the highest the agency has ever seen. Late fees continue to be the biggest penalty facing cardholders. LendingTree's chief credit analyst estimated that 2023 numbers would be even bigger.

 

>>Airbnb Using AI Technology To Get A Handle On Halloween Parties

(Nashville, TN) -- Short-term rental platform Airbnb is using artificial intelligence technology to help put a stop to Halloween parties. Company officials say bookings that are made for this weekend are being analyzed to check for risk factors such as the length of the stay and the distance of the rental from the user's address. If the AI system finds that a booking might be problematic, it will not allow the reservation to go through. Airbnb banned parties on its platform in 2020. Some users have still managed to book short-term rentals for parties, though, like the one in East Nashville last Halloween where a 14-year-old was injured by gunfire.

 

>>Taco Bell Wins "Taco Tuesday" War

(Irvine, CA) -- Taco Bell wins its fight to end the "Taco Tuesday" trademark after a little-known Jersey Shore restaurant caves in. Gregory's Restaurant and Bar in Somers Point, New Jersey owned the "Taco Tuesday" trademark in the Garden State for 40 years and was refusing to give it up. It was the only holdout in the U.S. and facing mounting legal bills brought on by California-based Taco Bell, it's forfeited the catchy slogan. So, any restaurant anywhere can now use the term "Taco Tuesday" without fear of getting a cease and desist letter. Taco Bell is thrilled, saying "Taco Tuesday" should belong to all who make, sell, eat and celebrate tacos.

 

>>Box Office Previews

(Los Angeles, CA) -- "Five Nights at Freddy's" is looking to scare up 50-million-dollars in it's first few days of release. The video game adaptation will open in theaters this Friday and will also debut on Peacock the same day. The PG-13 horror will likely take the top spot at the box office this weekend, battling Taylor Swift's "The Eras Tour" and Martin Scorsese's "Killers of the Flower Moon."

AM Business Notebook

>>Airbnb Using AI Technology To Get A Handle On Halloween Parties

(Nashville, TN) -- Short-term rental platform Airbnb is using artificial intelligence technology to help put a stop to Halloween parties. Company officials say bookings that are made for this weekend are being analyzed to check for risk factors such as the length of the stay and the distance of the rental from the user's address. If the AI system finds that a booking might be problematic, it will not allow the reservation to go through. Airbnb banned parties on its platform in 2020. Some users have still managed to book short-term rentals for parties, though, like the one in East Nashville last Halloween where a 14-year-old was injured by gunfire.

 

>>Actors Strike Talks Resume Today

(Los Angeles, CA) -- Negotiations between striking Hollywood actors and the big studios will resume later today. SAG-AFTRA told its union members in an email Tuesday that the studio CEOs came back to the table after more than 100 days of the actors strike, and that talks are scheduled to continue. The heads of Disney, NBCUniversal, Warner Brothers Discovery and Netflix were at Tuesday's talks, along with SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher and her top negotiators. The union is seeking additional pay for actors based on a show's streaming success, which has been a sticking point in the negotiations.

 

>>UAW Strike Growing Larger

(Arlington, TX) -- Workers at a General Motors plant in Texas have joined a nationwide strike, shutting down production. The factory in Arlington, near Dallas, pumps out some of the brand's most popular vehicles. They include the Chevy Tahoe, Chevy Suburban, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade. In a statement, the head of the United Auto Workers pointed to record profits, saying "It's time GM workers, and the whole working class, get their fair share."

 

>>Dozens Of States Sue Instagram Parent Company Meta

(Menlo Park, CA) -- Many states are teaming up to sue Instagram and Facebook parent company Meta. They claim the tech giant is harming youth mental health with "addictive" features like feeds that scroll endlessly and too many notifications. The federal lawsuit filed in California was signed by more than 30 attorneys general. The states say Meta is contributing to a national mental health crisis.

 

>>IEA Says Global Demand For Oil, Coal And Gas To Peak By 2030

(Paris) -- The International Energy Agency says global demand for oil, coal and natural gas will peak before the end of this decade. A new report from the Paris-based organization predicts the use of fossil fuels will drop to 73 percent of the world's energy supply by the year 2030. The IEA credits the "phenomenal rise" of clean energy technologies like wind, solar and electric cars playing a key role. It also expects to see almost ten times the electric cars on the road by 2030.

 

>>DMV Suspends Cruise Permit For Driverless SF Taxis

(San Francisco, CA) -- The California DMV is suspending a driverless taxi service in San Francisco. In a statement released yesterday morning, state officials said "When there is an unreasonable risk to public safety, the DMV can immediately suspend or revoke permits." However, the company Cruise can still test autonomous vehicles on SF streets as long as there is a human behind the wheel. The announcement comes after a Cruise driverless car recently ran over a pedestrian who fell into its path, after being struck in a human-involved hit-and-run crash.

AM Business Notebook

>> Intel Expansion

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek visited Intel's D1X factory in Hillsboro as the company released more details about expansion plans. Intel says it’s adding new technology and tools to put the campus at the forefront of innovation. New ultraviolet lithography equipment will allow smaller and faster chips to be built. And the application process for permits to expand the manufacturing facilities has started. The expansion will happen if funds from the U.S. Chips and Science Act are approved.

 

>>TechHubs

(Corvallis, OR) - The Biden Administration announced 31 Tech Hubs across the country, and Oregon State University is leading two of the efforts. The Corvallis Microfluidics Tech Hub will design cooling systems for computers … and the Pacific Northwest Mass Timber Tech Hub works to lower the construction industry's carbon footprint. Money for the programs will come from the CHIPS and Science Act.

 

>>Biden Administration Announces Grants For Tech Hubs

(Washington, DC) - The Biden administration is designating more than two dozen U.S. cities as "tech hubs" to ramp up American competitiveness in the tech sector. President Biden made the announcement from the White House yesterday. The initiative makes the communities eligible for tens of millions of dollars in grants to help boost innovation across a variety of sectors, including quantum computing, artificial intelligence and clean energy. The move was authorized under the CHIPS and Science Act.

 

>>SAG-AFTRA Negotiations Expected To Resume

(Los Angeles, CA) -- Negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood's studios are slated to resume today. Management had halted discussions earlier this month. Union members are asking studios for better pay, protections against A.I., residuals from streaming, and more.

 

>>UAW Members Ask Fain To Take Pay Cut

(Detroit, MI) -- Some United Auto Workers union members want leader Shawn Fain to show solidarity and accept the same 500-dollar-pay they are receiving during the walkout. The union says Fain will continue to be paid his salary, estimated to be above 200-thousand, that is outlined in the union's constitution. Meanwhile, the UAW is expanding its strike once again against the "Big Three" automakers. Workers at a Stellantis plant in Detroit are hitting the picket line, bringing the total number of workers off the job to over 40-thousand.

 

>>UCLA: Cost Of Candy Is Up 13%

(Undated) -- The cost of Halloween candy is up 13 percent this year. That's according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and a UCLA supply-chain expert. Candy is more expensive due to the rising costs of ingredients and labor. The average U.S. household is expected to spend about 35 dollars on candy this year -- up from 30 dollars in years' past.

AM Business Notebook

>>Coming Up In The Business Week Ahead 

(Undated)  --  A slew of economic reports are on the horizon this week.  Nothing notable today, but that changes on Tuesday with the S&P Case-Shiller home price index.  New homes sales are due the following day.  GDP data, weekly jobless claims and pending home sales come out Thursday, with the week wrapping up on Friday with word on personal income and spending along with consumer sentiment.

 

>>SAG-AFTRA Negotiations To Resume Tuesday

(Los Angeles, CA)  --  Negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood's studios will resume on Tuesday.  Nearly two weeks after management halted discussions, on Saturday a joint statement from the actors union and the studios said they're willing to return to the bargaining table.  The news came a day after SAG-AFTRA thanked union members for their unwavering solidarity over the last hundred days.  Union members are asking studios for better pay, protections against A.I., residuals from streaming, and more. 

 

>>UAW President Says Progress Made With GM, Stellantis

(Detroit, MI)  --  United Auto Workers president Shawn Fain says progress is being made in contract talks with General Motors and Stellantis, but says Ford "continues to stew" about their demands and pretend they can't afford what's being asked for.  The wages at all three automakers would rise 23-percent in the current contract offer.  Fain is asking for a 40-percent raise al all three. He adds GM and Stellantis received their message after the UAW announced a strike at Ford's Kentucky plant. 

 

>>FTX Fraud Trial To Resume This Week

(New York, NY)  --  The criminal fraud trial against former crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried [[ freed ]] continues later this week in a Manhattan courtroom.  The founder of crypto exchange FTX faces seven criminal charges related to the collapse of the company late last year.  Bankman-Fried could face life in prison if fully convicted.  

 

>>Aldi Promises Major Discounts For Holidays

(Batavia, IL)  --  Aldi supermarkets are promising customers some big savings this holiday season.  The grocery store chain announced "customers will see price reductions of up to 50-percent on items across the store" beginning November first.  Aldi's has over two-thousand locations across the U.S. and says the sales will last throughout the holidays.  It will be a welcome relief for many; the USDA reports grocery costs are up three-percent compared to last year.
 

AM Business Notebook

>>Federal Reserve Chairman: Inflation Still Too High

(New York, NY) -- The head of the Federal Reserve says inflation is still too high and lower economic growth is probably needed to bring it down. Speaking at the Economic Club of New York, Jerome Powell said the slowing of prices was not enough to determine a trend. Powell said it's unclear how long these lower readings will persist or where inflation will settle in the coming months. He hinted at a need for the labor market and economic growth to slow to achieve the Fed's goal of reaching two-percent inflation.

 

>>UAW Strike Rolls On

(Sterling Heights, MI) -- The well-over-month-long United Auto Workers strike rolls on as Ford Motor Company announces more layoffs. The automaker says an additional 150 workers have been temporarily laid off. There has been little reported progress in negotiations with the Big Three automakers. Supplies of some of the most popular vehicle models are starting to shrink as the strike rolls on. >>Job Cuts Hit Google News (Mountain View, CA) -- Google is cutting dozens of jobs in its News division. At least 40 employees are receiving pink slips this week. Google has been downsizing across all divisions in recent months in a company-wide adjustment to slowing growth and global economic uncertainty.

 

>>Fortress Safe Recalls 60-Thousand Gun Safes After Teen Shooting Death

(Washington, DC) -- Fortress Safe is recalling over 60-thousand gun safes after the shooting death of a 12-year-old boy. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a statement that the biometric lock on the safes "can be opened by unauthorized users, posing a serious injury hazard and risk of death." It said users may think they set the lock function, but instead it defaults to open mode. The agency cites a lawsuit that says the boy died from a firearm that was retrieved from one of the safes. It also pointed to 39 incidents of users saying their safes were accessed by fingerprints not paired with it.

 

>>Pfizer Ups Cost Of Paxlovid As US Ends Pandemic Emergency Phase

(New York, NY) -- Pfizer is upping the cost of its COVID-19 medication Paxlovid by more than double what it was. As the U.S. transitions out of the pandemic's emergency phase, the drugmaker is changing the list price of the drug before insurance to nearly 14-hundred dollars for a five-day course, according to the Wall Street Journal. That's up from 530-dollars-per-course, which was paid by the US government to provide Paxlovid free to patients. Pfizer said it would offer assistance for copays for those who qualify.

 

>>In-N-Out Burger Celebrating 75 Years This Weekend

(San Diego, CA) -- In-N-Out Burger is celebrating 75 years this weekend. The Southern California based chain was founded in 1948 and is still family owned with more than 300 locations. The company announced plans to expand eastward, to Tennessee in 2026.

AM Business Notebook

>>Existing Home Sales Fall In September

(Washington, DC) -- Sales of previously owned homes fell to their lowest level since 2010 in September. The National Association of Realtors says existing home sales dropped another two-percent last month to an annual rate of fewer than four-million units. The group's chief economist blamed the lack of inventory and high mortgage rates for hampering sales. Overall, exisiting home sales are down more than 15 percent from one year ago.

 

>>Jobless Claims Down

(Washington, DC) -- First-time jobless claims are down. The Department of Labor says it received 198-thousand initial unemployment insurance requests for the week ending October 14th. That's down from the previous week's 209-thousand and below estimates of 210-thousand. It's also the first time since January that jobless claims in the U.S. have dropped below 200-thousand. The drop in claims is an indicator that the U.S. labor market remains tight.

 

>>Netflix Raising Prices

(Los Gatos, CA) -- Netflix is raising prices. The company announced that its premium ad-free plan will jump by three-dollars a month to 22-99, starting this week. The basic plan will increase to 11-99 in the U.S., while other plans will stay at the same price. The company also reported Wednesday third-quarter subscription numbers, showing a nine-percent increase in paid accounts year-over-year. Some of that growth is thanks to the company's crackdown on password sharing.

 

>>SpaceX Says U.S. Could Lose Space Dominance Because Of Regulations

(Washington, DC) -- A top executive with SpaceX says government regulations could be risking U.S. dominance in space. SpaceX vice president William Gerstenmaier made that comment Wednesday during a Senate hearing on commercial space regulations. The private space company is facing a safety review of its plans to launch a giant moon rocket from its facility in South Texas. Gerstenmaier told the subcommittee, "It's a shame when our hardware is ready to fly and we're not able" because of regulations. He then warned, "eventually we will lose our lead and we will see China land on the moon before we do."

 

>>Tesla Sees 3Q Earnings Drop

(Austin, TX) -- Tesla saw a drop in third quarter earnings that fell below Wall Street expectations. The electric car maker yesterday reported earnings of two-point-three billion dollars, down 37 percent from a year earlier. It's the smallest profit the company has seen in two years. The company in part points to shutdowns on several production lines for upgrades.

 

>>Report: Cost Of Health Insurance Plans Is Going Up

(San Francisco, CA) -- The cost of health insurance is going up. The Kaiser Family Foundation released its annual employer health benefits survey earlier today and the average cost for a family health insurance plan offered through an employer rose seven-percent this year. The report says it's the highest rate increase in a decade, and that higher prices are likely in the coming weeks when employers start enrollment for 2024 insurance plans. Over 150-million Americans get health insurance through their jobs.

AM Business Notebook

>>Chick-Fil-A Agreeing To Settlement In Class Action Lawsuit

(Undated) -- Fast food chain Chick-Fil-A is agreeing to a settlement in a class action lawsuit. The litigation claimed the company took advantage of some customers by offering free, or low-cost, delivery fees but then increased the prices of the food items for those orders. The company is making nearly one-and-a-half-million dollars in cash and close to three-million in gift cards available as compensation for impacted customers. A settlement administrator will eventually send emails to customers who are eligible for compensation. Those individuals will be able to get refunds or gift cards worth up to roughly 30 dollars each. That number could be lower depending on the number of people who register, according to the settlement administrator.

 

>>Report: Cost Of Health Insurance Plans Is Going Up

(San Francisco, CA) -- The cost of health insurance is going up. The Kaiser Family Foundation released its annual employer health benefits survey earlier today and the average cost for a family health insurance plan offered through an employer rose seven-percent this year. The report says it's the highest rate increase in a decade, and that higher prices are likely in the coming weeks when employers start enrollment for 2024 insurance plans. Over 150-million Americans get health insurance through their jobs.

 

>>Detroit Casino Workers Walk Off The Job (Detroit, MI) -- The first ever strike at Detroit casinos is underway. Casino workers walked off the job yesterday after failing to come to terms on a new contract. Every day of the strike, casinos are estimated to lose a combined three-and-a-half million dollars in revenue. That said, casinos are open, operating with the remaining staff that are not part of the union.

 

>>GM Delaying EV Truck Production By One Year

(Detroit, MI) -- General Motors is delaying electric pickup truck production due to a slow demand for EVs. The company says a Detroit factory was scheduled to begin production next year but will instead wait until late 2025. A spokesperson for the company says the decision was not impacted by the United Auto Workers Union strike. Workers at the plant will be offered positions at other factories in the state until production begins.

 

>>X Charging New Accounts In New Zealand And The Philippines

(San Francisco, CA) -- X users who open new accounts in the Philippines and New Zealand are now being charged to use the site. The social media platform formerly known as Twitter says the one-dollar annual charge is aimed at combating bots. A post in the X Help Center says they started testing a new program on Tuesday called "Not a Bot," which is designed to reduce spam and bot activity. The new program will not affect existing users in those two countries.

 

>>Best Buy Reveals Its 2023 Black Friday Deals Will Start October 30

(Richfield, MN) -- Best Buy will begin Black Friday sales late this month. Their full holiday calender of deals features early access Black Friday Deals starting for everyone on October 30. Earlier access is available for My Best Buy Plus and My Best Buy Total members from October 27 through the 29. The official Black Friday sale kicks off on November 17.

AM Business Notebook

>>Retail Sales Jump In September

(Washington, DC) -- Retail sales jumped seventh-tenths of a percent in September. Figures released by the Commerce Department today show sales, excluding autos, were up six-tenths of a percent for the month. That's more than double the increase economists had expected. Analysts say the surprisingly strong data gives the Federal Reserve no reason to loosen monetary policy.

 

>>Homebuilder Sentiment Falls To 10-Month Low

(Washington, DC) -- Homebuilder confidence dropped to its lowest level since January due to high mortgage rates. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index fell four points in October as rates remain above seven percent. The group's chief economist called it a "housing affordability crisis." The survey noted more builders having to use sales incentives with many would-be buyers simply being priced out of the market.

 

>>SEC Chief Warns About Unregulated A.I. (Washington, DC) -- The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission says artificial intelligence will almost certainly cause a financial crisis without regulation. Gary Gensler told the Financial TImes that the challenge is difficult because most regulation targets individuals and institutions, not something broad like the use of artificial intelligence. He pointed to a scenario in which multiple institutions make decisions based on the same A.I. models which could lead to trouble.

 

>>Ford To UAW: Make A Deal

(Dearborn, MI) -- Ford's chairman is calling on the United Auto Workers to make a deal and end "acrimonious" talks. Bill Ford warned on Monday that the ongoing strike by the UAW threatens the future of his company and the American automotive industry. Last week, more than eight-thousand workers walked off the job at the Ford plant in Louisville, Kentucky. The nationwide UAW strike against the Big Three automakers started on September 15th.

 

>>Ford Motor Fourth-Quarter Dividend Announced

(Detroit, MI) -- Ford Motor Company announced its board declared a fourth-quarter dividend this year. Fifteen cents per share will be paid on Ford's outstanding common and Class B stock. The dividend will be payable December 1st to shareholders on record by the end of business on November 1st. The announcement came the same day Ford Chair Bill Ford addressed the UAW strike.

 

>>LinkedIn Lays Off About 700 Employees

(Sunnyvale, CA) -- LinkedIn is laying off nearly 700 employees. Most of the job cuts involve the engineering staff, along with reductions in the company's finance and human resource groups. LinkedIn announced the cuts in a memo citing challenging times. The layoffs come as the business-oriented social network's revenue growth has slowed over the past two years.

 

>>Sam Bankman-Fried's Fraud Trial Enters Third Week

(New York, NY) -- The fraud trial of FTX co-founder and former crypto king Sam Bankman-Fried is now in its third week. In a court filing Sunday, Bankman-Fried's lawyers argued he isn't getting enough Adderall to be able to concentrate during the trial. In the filing they told the judge that Bankman-Fried receives his Adderall at 6 a.m. Eastern and it wears off by the time trial begins at 9:30 a.m. Eastern. They said the Adderall issue is a concern as they make a decision about whether or not Bankman-Fried will testify in the trial. Bankman-Fried faces multiple charges of money laundering and fraud.

 

>>"Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" Breaks Box Office Concert Film Records

(Hollywood, CA) -- Taylor Swift is laying claim to the highest grossing domestic concert film ever . "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" set an opening week record with over 92-million-dollars domestically. Distributor AMC entertainment says about four-point-eight-million moviegoers caught the film this weekend, where they shelled out an average of just under 22-dollars a seat. Meantime, the film's international haul was another 32-million, which brings her global numbers to 123-million, shattering the record for a concert movie. The mega-blockbuster was also shown at more than 38-hundred venues domestically.

AM Business Notebook

>>Discounts For Cash Payments Are Becoming More Prevalent

(New York, NY) -- The share of all cash purchases that came with a discount climbed 66-percent between 2015 and 2022. Many businesses offer customers cash discounts to lower payment-processing fees, which cost owners roughly one-and-a-half to three-and-a-half percent of each card transaction. More than 80-percent of all purchases were made by card or apps in 2022, according to the San Francisco Fed. Raising all of the prices before implementing discounts circumvents restrictions set by state laws and card networks on fees merchants can charge customers for card payments. But you do have rights as a consumer. Federal law prohibits businesses from charging consumers additional fees to pay with a debit card. For credit cards, if it costs more than the listed price to pay with a card, that is a fee.

 

>>Coming Up In The Business Week Ahead

(Undated) -- Coming up in the business week ahead, third-quarter earnings seasons ramps up. No major economic reports are due for release on Monday, but that changes Tuesday with retail sales data and the home builder confidence index. The Fed Beige book comes out the following day along with housing starts and building permits. Weekly jobless claims will be reported on Thursday morning, followed by remarks from Fed Chair Jerome Powell at noon, Eastern. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester speaks on Friday as the week wraps up.

 

>>Rite Aid Files For Bankruptcy

(Philadelphia, PA) -- Rite Aid is filing for bankruptcy. The pharmacy chain filed for Chapter 11 protection Sunday, facing declining sales, billions of dollars in debt and more than a thousand lawsuits linked to the opioid crisis. The company has hired a new CEO to navigate its restructuring and expects stores to stay open for the time being.

 

>>Canadian Strikes End, U.S. Strikes Continue

(Detroit, MI) -- Canadian auto workers are back on the job after a new contract with General Motors was ratified this weekend. The union representing about 43-hundred Canadian workers OK'd the new terms with a more-than 80-percent vote on Sunday. Workers at three Ontario GM facilities were represented. Meanwhile, U.S. strikes are now a month in, affecting roughly 34-thousand workers at Detroit's Big Three facilities.

AM Business Notebook

>>Consumer Sentiment Drops In October

(Ann Arbor, MI) -- Consumer sentiment is down sharply on inflation worries. The University of Michigan's early reading for October fell about seven percent after two months of little change. The survey noted a 15 percent drop in assessments of personal finances and a 19 percent plunge in the outlook for business conditions in the year ahead. Nearly all income groups posted a decline in sentiment due to high prices.

 

>>JPMorgan Chase Profits Surge

(New York, NY) -- JPMorgan Chase is maintaining its dominance in the banking industry. In its third quarter earnings report today, the nation's biggest bank says profits were up 35-percent from the year before. CEO Jamie Dimon said in a news release that U.S. businesses and consumers "remain healthy" but noted there were economic risks, like the possibility of continued inflation and rising interest rates.

 

>>Citigroup Reports Steady Third Quarter

(New York, NY) -- Shares in Citigroup are up after a steady third quarter. The bank said today that its net income rose two-percent from a year ago as it benefited from rising interest payments and surging investment banking fees. Citigroup is the third largest lender in the U.S.

 

>>Wells Fargo Profits From Higher Interest Rates

(San Francisco, CA) -- Wells Fargo is posting better than predicted third-quarter profits thanks to customers paying higher interest rates. The bank now expects to see income from interest payments to be around 16 percent higher this year compared with last. It's all thanks to the feds increasing rates in an effort to stem the highest inflation in 40 years.

 

>>Donating To Victims In Israel Gaza War Crisis

(Undated) -- You may be wondering how you can donate to victims of the Israel Gaza war crisis. You'll want to avoid scams so experts say look for charities that are working on the ground and already making a difference. CharityWatch recommendations include Magen David Adom, Israel's version of the American Red Cross. Charity Navigator's list of highly-rated groups includes Doctors Without Borders which has been active in Gaza for years. The Federal Trade Commission says look for reviews and choose charities with clear objectives. That could include hospitals, like Saroka Medical Center in southern Israel, which is treating hundreds of wounded patients.

 

>>SAG-AFTRA Picketing Canceled Over Safety Concerns

(Los Angeles, CA) -- The striking actors union is canceling pickets today as Islamic leaders call for a day of protest. SAG-AFTRA said on Thursday there will be no picketing in Los Angeles or New York. The announcement came after federal and local law enforcement agencies warned the public to be on guard after the Palestinian militant group Hamas urged its followers to create a day of action in the streets. Police in Los Angeles and New York have been increasing patrols in Jewish and Muslim communities since Hamas fighters invaded Israel last Saturday, prompting the Jewish State to declare war and launch airstrikes on the Palestinian enclave Gaza.

 

>>Ford Tells UAW 23% Pay Raise Is Their Maximum

(Dearborn, MI) -- Ford Motor Company is telling the United Auto Workers that its 23-percent pay raise offer is the most they can afford to do. The UAW is striking all three Detroit automakers as they seek a 40-percent raise. Ford Blue president Kumar Galhotra says the offer made to the union puts employees in the top 25-percent of all hourly and salaried jobs in the U.S. and calls it "an incredibly positive offer." He adds any further wage hikes would risk their ability to invest in the business and grow profits.

>>IRS: Americans Failed To Pay Record $688-Billion In Taxes

(Washington, DC) -- The IRS says Americans did not pay some 688-billion dollars in taxes due on their 2021 tax returns. That's a record for unpaid taxes and the IRS says it won't happen again. The tax agency said in a report Thursday it's going to step up audits and other enforcement, particularly of high-income taxpayers. The IRS said that two-thirds of a trillion dollars in unpaid taxes includes more than 540-billion due to underreported income. The rest is because of people who didn't file returns when they should have or never paid their bills.

 

>>Sam Bankman-Fried Lawyers Wrap Up Questioning Of Star Witness

(New York, NY) -- Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried's lawyers have wrapped up their questioning of a star witness in his fraud trial. Caroline Ellison testified for three days, and her remarks were emotional at times. The 28-year-old told jurors she dated the FTX founder on and off. Ellison said he was committing financial crimes for years.

AM Business Notebook

>>Wholesale Prices Jumped In September

(Undated) -- Wholesale prices rose more than expected in September, according to numbers out from the Labor Department this morning. The Producer Price Index, which measures the costs producers pay, jumped half a percent, against analysts' predictions of point-three-percent. It's the smallest increase in three months but a sign that inflation continues to be a persistent problem. Gasoline costs led the increase, up more than five percent. Prices for vegetables, however, saw a nearly-14-percent drop.

 

>>Investors React To War In Israel By Piling Into Safe Haven Assets

(New York, NY) -- Oil prices surged and the Israeli currency fell at the start of the week as investors reacted to the conflict between Hamas and Israel. Oil rose Monday with U.S. benchmark WTI crude jumping more than four-percent. Chevron's gain of nearly three-percent, which helped lead the Dow Jones up for the day. Halliburton and Marathon Oil were among the top gainers on the S&P 500. Defense stocks did very well to start the week, with Northrop Grumman surging eleven-percent, with Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics rounding out the top five gainers on the S&P 500. War tends to see investors move to 'safe haven' asset as gold rose one-point-one-percent while the safest European bonds rallied. The yields on the benchmark ten-year German and U.K. bonds slid. At home, investors poured into US government bonds, which are traditionally seen as safer investments, driving Treasury yields lower.

 

>>Walgreens Names Veteran Healthcare Executive Tim Wentworth New CEO

(Deerfield, IL) -- Walgreens has named veteran healthcare executive Tim Wentworth as the pharmacy chain's new CEO. Wentworth is coming out of retirement to lead Walgreens as it's facing challenges transitioning from being a healthcare retailer to a health services provider. Wentworth was the CEO of Express Scripts, the nation's biggest pharmacy benefits company, before he retired in 2021. He'll take over as Walgreens CEO on October 23.

 

>>Utah Sues TikTok Over Alleged Misleading About Safety, China Connection

(Salt Lake City, UT) -- Utah is suing TikTok, arguing that the social media app misled people about connections to its Chinese parent company and deceptively claimed the platform is safe. Utah Governor Spencer Cox announced the suit on Tuesday and cited research on social media's affect on adolescents, including a recent U.S. Surgeon General report. Among other complaints, Utah's lawsuit accuses TikTok of deploying and marketing what it calls an addictive product with design features intended to manipulate children. Utah follows Arkansas and Indiana in suing TikTok while Montana has banned the app.

 

>>General Motors Canada Strike Ends Hours After It Started

(Canada) -- A strike at General Motors' Canadian plants is now over, just less than a day after it started. That's according to Unifor, a union that represents more than four-thousand workers at the company. Auto workers began striking on Monday when GM refused to settle on a deal similar to the one the union reached with Ford. According to Unifor, the company gave in after the strike began.

 

>>A Million Coal Jobs May Be Lost By 2050

(Washington, DC) -- Nearly a million coal jobs could be lost by 2050 after the coal industry's expected closures. Close to half a million of those will be gone by 2035, according to a report from the Global Energy Monitor. That's about an average of 100 layoffs per day. The report analyzed 4,300 coal mines across the job. It shows that China and India are expected to have the biggest job cuts. China employs more than one-and-a-half-million coal miners and is expected to lose close to a quarter of a million.

 

>>Survey: Americans Less In Favor Of Corporations Involving Themselves In Social Issues

(Washington, DC) -- Americans are less enthused now about corporations involving themselves in advocacy for social issues than last year. A new report from the Public Affairs Council shows 57-percent surveyed said they support companies trying to engage politically, down from 66-percent in 2022. There's a line drawn between politically parties, with Democrats more likely than Republicans to say corporations should be involved in issues involving discrimination on the basis of race or gender.

AM Business Notebook

>>American Business Leaders Rally In Support Of Israel

(Washington, DC) -- American business leaders are expressing support for Israel after it declared war on Hamas. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said the bank stands with Israel and called the bloodshed a terrible tragedy. The Partnership for New York City, which represents more than 300 of the city's business leaders, said they're reacting with the same anger towards the violence in Israel that they felt during the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said on Sunday it "strongly condemns the heinous" attacks.

 

>>WGA Ratifies Three-Year Deal With Studios

(Los Angeles, CA) -- Hollywood writers have ratified a new three-year deal with studios. On Monday, the Writers Guild of America announced that 99-percent of its members had voted to ratify the deal. The vote officially brings to an end the writers strike that lasted almost five months. The new deal runs until May 31st, 2026. Meanwhile, renewed talks between SAG-AFTRA and the studios are in their second week as the Hollywood actors strike nears the three-month mark.

 

>>Fraud Trial Of Former FTX Boss Bankman-Fried Resumes Today

(New York, NY) -- The fraud trial of a former crypto-king picks back up today in a Manhattan federal court. FTX co-founder and one-time crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried faces multiple charges of money laundering and fraud. Prosecutors say Bankman-Fried defrauded customers of his digital currency exchange, FTX, and his cryptocurrency hedge fund. If found guilty, the 31-year-old faces over 100 years in federal prison.

 

>>Amazon's Second Prime Day Arrives

(Seattle, WA) -- Amazon's second Prime Day sale is here. Prime Big Deal Days will take place today and tomorrow. The event will feature deals on tech, home goods, fashion and entertainment. Customers need to be an Amazon Prime member to get access to the offers.

AM Business Notebook

>>U.S. Airlines Cancel Flights To Israel Due To Conflict

(Undated) -- Several major U.S. airlines have cancelled flights to Israel because of the ongoing conflict. American, United and Delta Airlines all cancelled weekend flights to Tel Aviv from major U.S. cities including Chicago, New York, Newark and San Francisco. A spokesperson for Delta said the airline will work with the U.S. government to assist with the safe return of any Americans who want to come home.

 

>>UAW Workers Reject Mack Trucks Offer, Will Strike

(Detroit, MI) -- United Auto Workers union members at the Volvo Group-owned Mack Trucks are set to go on strike today after rejecting a tentative contract agreement. In a letter Sunday, UAW President Shawn Fain said a majority of workers voted against the deal, which included a 19-percent pay raise. The union represents roughly four-thousand workers in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida. This comes as thousands of UAW members across at least 20 states remain on strike against the Big Three U.S automakers.

 

>>California Governor Newsom Signs Corporate Climate Disclosure Bills

(Sacramento, CA) -- California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed the nation's first corporate climate disclosure bills. The two bills that Newsom signed into law on Saturday will require large publicly traded and privately held corporations operating in the state to disclose both their carbon footprints how climate affects their bottom line. The laws go beyond proposed federal climate disclosure rules, which would apply only to publicly traded companies.

 

>>Fraud Trial Of Former FTX Boss Bankman-Fried Resumes Tuesday

(New York, NY) -- The fraud trial of a former crypto-king picks back up Tuesday in a Manhattan federal court. FTX co-founder and one-time crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried faces multiple charges of money laundering and fraud. Prosecutors say Bankman-Fried defrauded customers of his digital currency exchange, FTX, and his cryptocurrency hedge fund. If found guilty, the 31-year-old faces over 100 years in federal prison.

 

>>Latest Exorcist Movie Tops Box Office

(Hollywood, CA) -- Ticket sales for the latest movie in the "Exorcist" franchise aren't exactly turning heads, but the film is in possession of the top spot in this weekend's box office. "The Exorcist: Believer" fell slightly below expectations by taking in an estimated 27-million-dollars. Ellen Burstyn, who played the possessed girl's mother in the original Exorcist film 50 years ago, reprises her role in the sequel. "PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie" fell to second place, while "Saw Ten" finished third.

AM Business Notebook

>>Jobs Jump 336K In September

(Washington, DC) -- Employment is way up in the U.S. The Department of Labor says total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 336-thousand in September. The unemployment rate was unchanged at three-point-eight percent. Most analysts were expecting to see today's numbers come in at around 170-thousand. However, some speculated it could be as high as 240-thousand - far more than August's 187-thousand new jobs. One thing almost all market watchers agree on is that the better the job growth is, the more likely it is that Federal Reserve will consider hiking interest rates come November.

 

>>UAW President To Update Talks

(Detroit, MI) -- UAW President Shawn Fain is expected to address union members again today on the status of contract negotiations with Detroit's big three automakers. He has announced walkouts over the past couple of weeks and may now include more locations. There has reportedly been progress made in talks with Stellantis and Ford Motor Company with Ford reportedly making a significant offer. It includes a large pay raise and the end of "tiers" for employees. General Motors secured a six-billion dollar credit line as talks continue.

 

>>SEC Sues Elon Musk Over Failure To Testify In Probe

(San Francisco, CA) -- The SEC is suing Elon Musk. The agency's attorneys claim Musk failed to comply with a subpoena and didn't testify over his purchase of Twitter. The Commission said its investigation of the social media platform now known as X is related to whether anyone committed securities fraud in purchasing shares last year as Musk was buying stock in the company. The attorneys write in the complaint that "Musk's ongoing refusal to comply with the SEC's administrative subpoena is hindering and delaying the SEC staff's investigation to determine whether violations of the federal securities laws have occurred." The SEC is asking the court to compel Musk to testify for the investigation.

 

>>MGM Cyberattack Costs Company Roughly $100 Million

(Las Vegas, NV) -- The cyberattack on MGM Resorts in Las Vegas last month lost the company roughly 100-million dollars, it said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday. MGM Resorts had to shut down on purpose a number of services to limit customer risk in September, as it impacted keycards for rooms and corporate emails. MGM owns the Bellagio and Mandalay Bay along the Las Vegas Strip, with rival Caesars Entertainment hinting in its SEC filing that it may have paid hackers to go away.

 

>>X Removes Headlines And Text From Linked Articles

(San Francisco, CA) - X is taking out headlines and text from links. Before, a thumbnail would accompany links along with the article's title and a line or two of text. Now only the article's lead image is the only thing shown. The social media platform's owner Elon Musk said in August he would be making the change for a sleeker look. But the move officially happened a day after Musk said publishers should try posting their content directly on X in long form. He wrote in a post that X doesn't prioritize links to discourage users from clicking away. The billionaire also recently said that he personally doesn't read "legacy news" and prefers "citizen journalism."

 

>>Girl Scout Cookie Price Increase

(Undated) -- Inflation is impacting gas and groceries -- and now Girl Scout cookies. This week, the organization announced a box of cookies will range from five to seven dollars when cookie season begins in April. The Girl Scouts of Northern California contingent said the price increases are necessary due to higher costs and a decline in participation in the program. The Girl Scouts also announced they'll be discontinuing the Raspberry Rally cookie just one year after its debut.

AM Business Notebook

>>Strikes Continue In U.S.

(Undated)  --  Seventy-five thousand Kaiser Permanente workers walked off the job Wednesday in multiple states in what is gearing up to be the largest health-care strike in U.S. history.  Meanwhile, the United Auto Workers strike is now in its 21st day. The union is demanding higher wages and a shorter work week.  And although the Hollywood writers strike is over, the actors strike is dragging on.  

 

>>First Witness Speaks In Sam Bankman-Fried Trial

(New York, NY)  --  The fraud and money laundering trial of FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried [[ freed ]] has heard from its first witness.  On Wednesday, Marc-Antoine Julliard took the stand and explained how he lost roughly a-hundred-thousand-dollars in cryptocurrency that he thought was safe with FTX.  Julliard said he was drawn into FTX by their savvy marketing, which included ads featuring super models and Formula One racers.  Bankman-Fried, who was once a crypto-billionaire, has pled not guilty  to federal charges of wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering.  If convicted, several of the counts come with sentences of 20-years in prison.  The trial is expected to last about six weeks. 

 

>>Ford Announces Third Quarter Sales 

(Dearborn, MI)  -- Increased sales of hybrid vehicles and trucks help Ford Motor Company see a third quarter sales increase of seven-point seven percent.  The  automaker says they sold over 500-thousand vehicles in the quarter which included nearly 21-thousand electric vehicles. F-150 hybrid truck sales jumped by nearly 47-percent while Maverick hybrid sales were over 56-percent higher. Officials say overall sales for the first nine months of the year are over nine-percent higher compared to 2022.

 

>>Pope Calls Out Big Oil For Slow Action On Climate Change

(Vatican City)  --  Pope Francis says fossil fuel companies are not doing enough to fight climate change.  The Pope released a new document yesterday that calls for greater efforts to attack the climate crisis.  The landmark document criticizes oil and gas companies, and says, "the necessary transition towards clean energy sources such as wind and solar energy, and the abandonment of fossil fuels, is not progressing at the necessary speed."  Francis also criticizes Western nations, and calls for "a broad change" in their "irresponsible lifestyle."

 

>>Clorox Says Q3 Sales, Profits Took Big Hit From Cyberattack

(Oakland, CA)  --  Clorox is warning that its third-quarter sales and profits took a big hit because of a cyberattack that significantly cut into its operations.  The bleach and cleaning products company said on Wednesday it expects a 23 to 28-percent decline in net sales.  It also expects to post a loss per share of 35 to 75 cents.  Clorox said the cyberattack that was discovered in August is still hurting production, although the effect is lessening.

 

>>Google Launches New Pixel 8 Smartphone 

(Menlo Park, CA)  --  Google is launching a new smartphone that makes greater use of its artificial intelligence technology.  The Pixel 8 phone introduced Wednesday uses a new custom chip with more A.I. and machine learning capabilities.  Google executives said the A.I. features can help with photography, summarizing web pages, and blocking spam calls.  Prices for the Pixel 8 will start at 699 dollars and the Pixel Pro 8 will start at 999 dollars.  The phones will be available on October 12th.
 

AM Business Notebook

>>Kaiser Permanente Healthcare Workers Go On Strike

(Los Angeles, CA) -- Thousands of healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente hospitals are now on strike. Picketing began this morning at hospitals in California, Colorado, Oregon, Virginia and Washington, where about 75-thousand healthcare workers are demanding better wages and more staffing. The unions representing the workers say understaffing at the hospitals is boosting their profits but hurting patients, and causing employee burnout. The workers are also calling for a 25-dollar-an-hour minimum wage. The strike has been approved for three days.

 

>>General Motors Confirms Counteroffer From UAW Received

(Detroit, MI) -- General Motors says it has received a counteroffer from the United Auto Workers. GM met with the UAW Monday for more contract discussions. A spokesman for GM says they are reviewing the union's counteroffer but adds they remain significantly far apart.

 

>>Pope Calls Out Big Oil For Slow Action On Climate Change

(Vatican City) -- Pope Francis says fossil fuel companies are not doing enough to fight climate change. The Pope released a new document today that calls for greater efforts to attack the climate crisis. The landmark document criticizes oil and gas companies, and says, "the necessary transition towards clean energy sources such as wind and solar energy, and the abandonment of fossil fuels, is not progressing at the necessary speed." Francis also criticizes Western nations, and calls for "a broad change" in their "irresponsible lifestyle."

 

>>Software Issue Leads To Recall For Ram Trucks

(Detroit, MI) -- A software issue impacting 273-thousand Ram pickup trucks has prompted a recall from the automaker. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the rear camera image is not being displayed in the truck. The issue was reported on certain Ram 1500 pickups and Ram 3500 Chassis Cabs from the 2022 and 2023 models. Also affected are 2022 to 2024 Ram 2500 pickups. Dealers will be upgrading the software at no cost to the owners. Recall notices will be sent out beginning November 17th.

 

>>Elon Musk Tops Forbes 400 List

(New York, NY) -- A new list from Forbes ranks Elon Musk as the richest person in America. The 42nd annual Forbes 400 list was released this morning, and Musk is number one for second year in a row with an estimated 251 billion dollars, thanks to a higher valuation for SpaceX shares and a rebound in Tesla shares. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is number two for a second year in a row, with an estimated worth of 161 billion dollars. Software giant Larry Ellison ranks third this year with 158 billion dollars. Rounding out the top five are investor Warren Buffett and Google co-founder Larry Page.

AM Business Notebook

>>Fraud Trial Of Former FTX Boss Bankman-Fried Begins Today

(New York, NY) -- Jury selection in the fraud trial of the former crypto-king is set to start today in a Manhattan federal court. FTX co-founder and one-time crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried faces multiple charges of money laundering and fraud. Prosecutors say Bankman-Fried defrauded customers of his digital currency exchange, FTX, and his cryptocurrency hedge fund. If found guilty, the 31-year-old faces over 100 years in federal prison.

 

>>Report: UAW Strike Has Cost U.S Economy Nearly $4B

(East Lansing, MI) -- The ongoing United Auto Workers strike has cost the U.S economy nearly four-billion dollars. That's according to a study from the Anderson Economic Group, a Michigan-based research firm. It cites lost wages for workers and more than a billion dollars in manufacturing declines at GM, Ford and Stellantis. The report also accounts for additional costs to suppliers, dealers and consumers. Thousands of workers are striking against the Big Three U.S automakers, demanding better pay and added benefits. Last week, UAW President Shawn Fain announced an expansion of the union's strike.

 

>>Tens Of Thousands Of Healthcare Workers Poised To Strike

(San Diego, CA) -- Thousands of healthcare workers are poised to strike on Wednesday if negotiations don't improve with Kaiser Permanente. The workers say they're protesting unfair labor practices and unsafe staffing levels. This could be the largest healthcare worker strike in U.S. history. It will span hundreds of hospitals and facilities across the nation, and affect 75-thousand healthcare workers across the county.

 

>>TikTok Testing Ad-Free Version

(Los Angeles, CA) -- TikTok could soon release an ad-free version of the app, but it'll cost you. Android Authority reports the platform is currently testing it out. If all goes well users would pay four-99 a month for the version, although that's subject to change. At the moment, no official announcement has been made by TikTok.

 

>>Judge Rules In Favor Of McDonald's, Wendy's In Burger Size Lawsuit

(New York, NY) -- A U.S. District judge has ruled in McDonald's and Wendy's favor in a lawsuit over burger size. A New York man had sued the two fast food chains, saying ads showed undercooked beef patties that made the burgers look bigger than what's sold in their restaurants. He also claimed the ads showed more toppings than what Wendy's and McDonald's actually used on the burgers they sold. The judge found no proof the burgers were smaller than advertised and also said no proof was found the man had seen ads for the Wendy's Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger or McDonald's Big Mac that he bought. Burger King and Taco Bell are currently facing similar lawsuits.

AM Business Notebook

>>Stopgap Funding Bill Keeps Gov't Workers On The Job

(Washington, DC)  --  Millions of federal workers are breathing a sigh of relief after an eleventh hour deal to avoid a government shutdown.  President Biden signed a temporary funding bill over the weekend that will fund the government for 45 days.  Without it, military members, air traffic controllers and others would have been required to work without a paycheck.  Non-essential workers would have been furloughed.  The bill keeps the government funded until November 17th, but does not provide additional funds for Ukraine or border security.  

 

>>Student Loan Payments Back

(Undated)  --  Student loan payments are back.  Payments officially went back into effect Sunday after an over three-year pause brought on by the COVID pandemic.  As many as 40-million Americans now are stuck paying back loans, despite constant pushback from the Biden administration.  The Supreme Court blocked a policy in June that would have forgiven 20-thousand dollars in student debt for many borrowers, with Biden looking into other ways to cancel debt.

 

>>UAW Adds Two More Plants To Strike

(Detroit, MI)  --  Two more auto facilities are now on strike as the United Auto Workers expanded its work stoppage to seven-thousand more workers Friday.  Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant and General Motors' Lansing Delta Township plant were added to bring around 25-thousand workers, about 17-percent of their members, to the strike.  UAW president Shawn Fain said Friday contract talks are ongoing and have not broken down.  He says meaningful progress, however, has not been made in the talks with Ford and GM. 

 

>>75,000 Workers Prep For Biggest Healthcare Strike In U.S. History

(Undated)  --  More than 75-thousand Kaiser-Permanente [[ KYE-zer per-ma-NEN-tee ]] workers are getting ready to go on what would be the biggest healthcare strike in U.S. history.  Unions representing the workers notified the company more than a week ago that they could launch a three-day strike this coming Wednesday, October 4th.  The strike would affect Kaiser hospitals and clinics in California, Oregon, Washington state, Colorado, Virginia, and Washington DC.   

 

>>Redfin Survey Finds Significant Discrimination Against People Of Color 

(Seattle, WA)  --  Minority home buyers say they have experienced significant discrimination in their search for a house.  A new survey from Redfin asked Black, Hispanic and Asian buyers if they had ever felt that either sellers, their agents or landlords were less eager to work with them because of their ethnicity or race.  Thirty-two-percent of Black buyers answered "yes," as well as 36-percent of Hispanics and 20-percent of Asian buyers.  Redfin says discrimination isn't uncommon in the housing and rental market.

 

>>"Paw Patrol" Claws Its Way To Top Of Box Office

(Hollywood, CA)  --  "PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie" is helping to get the film industry out of the dog house as the animated sequel tops this weekend's box office.  The movie earned 23-million-dollars in its debut, which is more than the combined amount of last weekend's top two movies.  Another sequel, the horror flick "Saw Ten," finished second with 18-million-dollars which is also more than last weekend's top two.  "The Creator" was third with a disappointing 14-million-dollars, considering the film had an 80-million-dollar budget.  "The Nun Two" finished fourth after topping the box office the previous two weeks.
 

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