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The News You May Have Missed: November 2023

Poor Rich Folk

Americans who earn at least $125,000 a year are being laid off at three times the rate of those with low or moderate incomes (New York Post, Aug. 16). The tech and finance sectors, which offer high-paying jobs, have been beset by layoffs. Silicon Valley companies such as Meta, Amazon, and Alphabet have released more than 227,000 people since the start of the year. Meanwhile, Wall Street giants such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Citigroup have let go thousands of employees. Amid the squeeze, the number of American millionaires fell by 1.8 million to 22.7 million at the end of last year. Supply-chain snarls, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, soaring levels of inflation, and tanking stock markets have conspired to reduce the net worth of the nation’s wealthiest denizens. The U.S., which has the world’s highest concentration of millionaires (38% of the total), suffered the steepest decline in the number of those worth at least seven figures. Globally, the richest 500 people lost a collective $1.4 trillion in 2022.

 

Off Target

Thefts at Target stores have become increasingly violent and dangerous, according to the retail giant’s CEO (New York Post, Aug. 16). Shoplifting that included “violence or threats of violence” surged 120% during the first five months of the year, said Brian Cornell, chief executive of the Minneapolis-based big-box chain. Target’s inventory shrink — which accounts for retail theft and other losses — is “well-above the sustainable level where we expect to operate over time.” Target reported its first quarterly sales drop in six years, attributable in part to the boycott over its placement of LGBTQ merchandise in the children’s section. The backlash prompted Target to relocate the merchandise to the rear of stores and even remove some items entirely. Despite the losses, Target will be celebrating Pride Month in 2024, Cornell said, but it will also be “mindful of timing, placement and presentation” of its Pride collections. “Pride is one of many heritage moments that are important to our guests and our team, and we’ll continue to support these moments in the future,” he said.

 

Only in a Town Like This

A television news crew reporting on a string of robberies in a Chicago neighborhood ended up getting robbed at gunpoint themselves (Associated Press, Aug. 29). A reporter and a photographer for the Spanish-language station Univision Chicago were filming just before 5 AM in West Town when three men brandishing firearms and wearing ski masks accosted them and took their television camera and other items. The crew was filming a story about robberies that was slated to run on the morning news. The footage they shot was in the stolen camera, and the story never made it on the air. Three weeks earlier, a photographer with Chicago’s WLS-TV was assaulted and robbed while preparing to cover a news conference on the West Side. In response, some news stations plan to assign security to news crews.

 

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