Business

U.S. Added 216,000 Jobs in December, Outpacing Forecasts
Business

U.S. Added 216,000 Jobs in December, Outpacing Forecasts

The labor market ended the year with a bang.Employers added 216,000 jobs in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department reported on Friday, surpassing economists’ forecasts. It was the 36th consecutive month of gains.Altogether, the U.S. economy added roughly 2.7 million jobs over the past year. That’s a smaller gain than in 2021 or 2022, during the economy’s initial resurgence from pandemic lockdowns. Yet the gains of 2023 are still stronger than those in the late 2010s.The numbers are buoying expectations of what has been called a soft landing — in which the economy is able to avoid significant job loss while shifting into a calmer, more sustainable gear, after the disorienting volatility that began with the arrival of Covid-19 roughly four years ago.Many experts cautio...
Xerox to Cut 15% of Its Work Force in the First Quarter of 2024
Business

Xerox to Cut 15% of Its Work Force in the First Quarter of 2024

Xerox said on Wednesday that it was cutting 15 percent of its work force as part of a restructuring, the company’s latest effort to shift focus to its business-services offerings and away from its iconic photocopiers.In a news release, the company said it would reduce its global staff, which included roughly 23,000 employees in 2022, and name a new leadership team. The layoffs are expected to take place in the first quarter of 2024.The company’s shares fell more than 12 percent after the layoff news was announced. Its share price had been steadily rising over the past year, in part because Xerox had saved billions of dollars after starting a cost-cutting program in 2018. It reported a roughly 6 percent drop in revenue in the third quarter of 2023 compared with the previous year.Xerox was f...
Choice Hotel Franchise Owners Push Back on Merger With Wyndham
Business

Choice Hotel Franchise Owners Push Back on Merger With Wyndham

When Patrick Pacious, the chief executive of a large portfolio of hotel brands, promoted a blockbuster attempt to acquire a competitor in October, he said the proposed merger would lower costs and attract more customers for the families and small businesses that own most of the company’s locations.“Our franchisees instantly grasped the strategic benefit this would bring to their hotels,” Mr. Pacious, who leads Choice Hotels, said on CNBC.As the weeks have passed, however, the reaction has not been positive. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, the target of the proposed deal, rejected the offer from Choice, which is now pursuing a hostile takeover. And in early December, an association representing the majority of hoteliers who own Choice and Wyndham-branded properties came out strongly against it....
How Tracking and Technology in Cars Is Being Weaponized by Abusive Partners
Business

How Tracking and Technology in Cars Is Being Weaponized by Abusive Partners

After almost 10 years of marriage, Christine Dowdall wanted out. Her husband was no longer the charming man she had fallen in love with. He had become narcissistic, abusive and unfaithful, she said. After one of their fights turned violent in September 2022, Ms. Dowdall, a real estate agent, fled their home in Covington, La., driving her Mercedes-Benz C300 sedan to her daughter’s house near Shreveport, five hours away. She filed a domestic abuse report with the police two days later.Her husband, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, didn’t want to let her go. He called her repeatedly, she said, first pleading with her to return, and then threatening her. She stopped responding to him, she said, even though he texted and called her hundreds of times.Ms. Dowdall, 59, started occasionally ...
U.S. and Europe Eye Russian Assets to Aid Ukraine as Funding Dries Up
Business

U.S. and Europe Eye Russian Assets to Aid Ukraine as Funding Dries Up

The Biden administration is quietly signaling new support for seizing more than $300 billion in Russian central bank assets stashed in Western nations, and has begun urgent discussions with allies about using the funds to aid Ukraine’s war effort at a moment when financial support is waning, according to senior American and European officials.Until recently, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen had argued that without action by Congress, seizing the funds was “not something that is legally permissible in the United States.” There has also been concern among some top American officials that nations around the world would hesitate to keep their funds at the New York Federal Reserve, or in dollars, if the United States established a precedent for seizing the money.But the administration, in coo...
ChatGPT Helps, and Worries, Business Consultants, Study Finds
Business

ChatGPT Helps, and Worries, Business Consultants, Study Finds

Last spring, when Karim Lakhani began testing how ChatGPT affected the work of elite business consultants, he thought they’d be delighted by the tool. In a preliminary study of two dozen workers, the language bot had helped them finish two hours’ worth of tasks in 20 minutes.“I assumed they, like me, would think, ‘Great! I can do so much more!” said Dr. Lakhani, a professor at the Harvard Business School.Instead, the consultants had feelings of unease. They appreciated that they had done better work in less time. But ChatGPT’s quick work threatened their sense of themselves as high-skilled workers, and some feared relying on it too much. “They were really worried and felt like this was going to denigrate them and be sort of empty calories for their brain,” Dr. Lakhani said.After these prel...
Holiday Spending Increased, Defying Fears of a Decline
Business

Holiday Spending Increased, Defying Fears of a Decline

Despite lingering inflation, Americans increased their spending this holiday season, early data shows. That comes as a big relief for retailers that had spent much of the year fearing the economy would soon weaken and consumer spending would fall.Retail sales increased 3.1 percent from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 compared with the same period a year earlier, according to data from Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment. The numbers, released Tuesday, are not adjusted for inflation.Spending increased across many categories, with restaurants experiencing one of the largest jumps, 7.8 percent. Apparel increased 2.4 percent, and groceries also had gains.The holiday sales figures, driven by a healthy labor market and wage gains, suggest that ...
Red Sea Shipping Halt Is Latest Risk to Global Economy
Business

Red Sea Shipping Halt Is Latest Risk to Global Economy

The attacks on crucial shipping traffic in the Red Sea straits by a determined band of militants in Yemen — a spillover from the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza — are injecting a new dose of instability into a world economy already struggling with mounting geopolitical tensions.The risk of escalating conflict in the Middle East is the latest in a string of unpredictable crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, that have landed like swipes of a bear claw on the global economy, smacking it off course and leaving scars.As if that weren’t enough, more volatility lies ahead in the form of a wave of national elections whose repercussions could be deep and long. More than two billion people in roughly 50 countries, including India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, the United Stat...
Price Increases Cooled in November as Inflation Falls Toward Fed Target
Business

Price Increases Cooled in November as Inflation Falls Toward Fed Target

A closely watched measure of inflation cooled notably in November, good news for the Federal Reserve as officials move toward the next phase in their fight against rapid price increases and a positive for the White House as voters see relief from rising costs.The Personal Consumption Expenditures inflation measure, which the Fed cites when it says it aims for 2 percent inflation on average over time, climbed 2.6 percent in the year through November. That was down from 2.9 percent the previous month, and was less than what economists had forecast. Compared with the previous month, prices overall even fell slightly for the first time in years.That decline — a 0.1 percent drop, and the first negative reading since April 2020 — came as gas prices dropped. After volatile food and fuel prices we...
Just How Rich Were the McCallisters in ‘Home Alone’?
Business

Just How Rich Were the McCallisters in ‘Home Alone’?

The battle in “Home Alone” between 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) and two burglars known as the Wet Bandits has unfolded on screens around the world every Christmas since the film premiered in 1990.And each year, for some viewers, the McCallisters’ grand home and lifestyle inspires its own tradition: wondering just how rich this family was.The New York Times turned to economists and people involved with the film to find the answer.The McCallisters are the 1 Percent.Early in the film, one of the burglars, Harry (Joe Pesci), tells his fellow Wet Bandit, Marv (Daniel Stern), that the McCallister home is their top target in a wealthy neighborhood.“That’s the one, Marv, that’s the silver tuna,” Harry says, before speculating that the house contains a lot of “top-flight goods,” i...