The Transom, Ben Domenech, January 12, 2018

Number of workers receiving unemployment benefits falls to lowest level in 44 years. http://vlt.tc/34sd   “The total number of workers receiving unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in 44 years to end 2017, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. Altogether, 1.87 million people received unemployment insurance benefits in the last week of the year, the lowest such seasonally-adjusted mark since December of 1973. Benefits are available for up to 26 weeks in most states. The low number of people utilizing unemployment insurance is a good sign for the economy. Fewer people seeking unemployment benefits suggests that fewer people are getting laid off. Total claims have scraped the lowest levels in decades several times in recent months.”

Lower taxes and tight labor market prompt Walmart to hike U.S. wages, shutter Sam’s Club. http://vlt.tc/34sa  “The world’s largest retailer and private employer, officially called Wal-Mart Stores Inc, will shutter 63 of its Sam’s Club discount warehouses, or about one tenth of the chain overall, according to a senior company official who declined to be named. Around 50 of those stores will be shut permanently after a review of profitability and up to 12 more will be shut and reopened as e-commerce warehouses, the person said. Every Sam’s Club store employs about 150 workers, bringing the total number of affected jobs to about 7,500, the person said. Many of them will be accommodated in new jobs at the newly opened warehouses and other stores, the official said.”