– The Wall Street Journal
The falling unemployment rate suggests wage pressures could start to build as businesses compete for scarcer workers, though so far wage increases have been modest. It also means the Federal Reserve is likely to raise short-term interest rates for the second time this year at its next policy meeting in June, and then likely again in September, before beginning to wind down a $4.5 trillion securities portfolio late in the year.
– The New York Times
Department stores and big name retailers are increasingly making the hard sell to sign up customers for credit cards at the register. The store cards promise deep discounts on clothing, furniture and electronics, and are tough for shoppers to resist. The store cards, with steep interest rates that are often twice that of the average credit card, generate a rich profit stream for retailers at a time when many of America’s traditional retailers are losing the battle for sales against Amazon and other e-commerce rivals. Those profits on plastic are helping obscure the true extent of the industry’s pain.
NPR discusses how public restrooms have become the go-to site for heroin doses. Some establishments have tried codes on doors and low lighting, while others have closed their restrooms to the public entirely, but the problem remains. The article concludes that “having dedicated facilities like safer drug consumption spaces is the best bet for a long-term structural solution that a lot of business owners could buy into.”
– Bloomberg Technology
Bloomberg looks at a company called Flexe that finds spare warehouse space for e-commerce merchants – the Airbnb of warehousing. Flexe appeals to startups, brick-and-mortar retailers, and brands hesitant to work with a fearsome retail competitor, who are each struggling to compete with Amazon. Most notably, Flexe has launched an overnight delivery service to reach customers with Amazon’s speed.