• The Associated Press reports that "the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell significantly last week, a sign that the labor market remains strong even as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates in an effort to cool the economy and slow inflation.
"Applications for jobless claims fell to 211,000 for the week ending Dec. 10, down by 20,000 from the previous week’s 231,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Jobless claims are seen as a proxy for layoffs, and last week's level was the lowest in more than two months."
• The Wall Street Journal reports that "November retail sales fell 0.6% from the prior month for the biggest decline this year, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Budget-conscious shoppers pulled back sharply on holiday-related purchases, home projects and autos. Manufacturing output declined 0.6%, the first drop since June, the Fed said in a separate report."
• From the Associated Press:
"Starbucks workers around the US are planning a three-day strike starting Friday as part of their effort to unionize the coffee chain’s stores.
"More than 1,000 baristas at 100 stores are planning to walk out, according to Starbucks Workers United, the labor group organizing the effort. The strike will be the longest in the year-old unionization campaign.
"This is the second major strike in a month by Starbucks’ US workers. On Nov. 17, workers at 110 Starbucks stores held a one-day walkout. That effort coincided with Starbucks’ annual Red Cup Day, when the company gives reusable cups to customers who order a holiday drink.
"More than 264 of Starbucks’ 9,000 company-run US stores have voted to unionize since late last year. Starbucks opposes the unionization effort, saying the company functions better when it works directly with employees. But the company said last month that it respects employees’ lawful right to protest."