Monthly Archives: March 2018

Jobless claims fall 12,000 to 215,000 and hit lowest level since 1973

Rapid hiring, low unemployment reflect strong labor market

America works: The U.S. unemployment rate is at a 17-year low and layoffs are near the lowest level in 50 years.

By Jeffry Bartash

The numbers: The rate of layoffs in the U.S. fell again in late March and dropped to the lowest level since 1973.

Initial U.S. jobless claims declined by 12,000 to 215,000 in the seven days ended March 24, the government said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast claims to total 230,000.

The more stable monthly average of claims dipped by 500 to 224,500.

The number of people already collecting unemployment benefits, known as continuing claims, rose by 35,000 to 1.87 million.

Read the full article here.

 

You Can Be Banned From Making Returns at Sephora

The beauty brand is using a service to track customer returns and behavior.

Photo: Jeff Greenberg / Getty Images

By Chavie Lieber

Do you love shopping at Sephora because of the company’s generous and convenient return policy? Well, those returns might not have been as carefree as you thought.

Today, The Wall Street Journal wrote about a service called The Retail Equation, or TRE, which tracks customer returns and gives stores the ability to ban shoppers from returning future items if their return patterns are deemed problematic. According to TRE’s website, over 34,000 stores, including department stores and footwear, jewelry, and fashion brands, use the service. And while it doesn’t list the full roster of clients, the Journal confirmed some of the stores that use the service include Best Buy, the Home Depot, Victoria’s Secret, J.C. Penney… and Sephora.

For years, there have been suspicions and rumors on beauty message boards that Sephora bans shoppers who return things too frequently. Officially, Sephora allows returns, both opened and unopened, within 60 days of purchase, and items without a receipt are accepted in exchange for store credit. But shoppers have recently been sharing on Reddit that they were banned from returning products at Sephora, with or without receipts, and the Journal’s report about Sephora’s official partnership with TRE confirms every shoppers’ worst fears. Sephora confirmed shoppers with egregious return habits could see consequences, issuing the following statement to Racked:

Sephora is dedicated to providing all of our customers with an excellent shopping experience. We make every effort to accommodate returns, but a small fraction of customers take advantage of our policy, in many cases returning more than twice as much merchandise as they purchase. This limits product selection and unfairly impacts other clients. When we identify excessive return patterns, we notify those customers that we may limit future returns or exchanges if no proof of purchase is provided.

Read the full article here

Keith Speers of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service tracked down a scammer who employed 300 phantom accomplices. RYAN GIBSON FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Source: Thinkstock

By Peter Rudegeair and AnnaMaria Andriotis

From a townhouse near a megachurch in Atlanta, Kelvin Lyles recruited about 300 accomplices to embark on a crime spree. His group scammed ATMs, internet retailers and credit-card companies, grabbing around $350,000, until late 2015, when federal agents closed in.

Mr. Lyles was the only one convicted. None of his accomplices existed.

In a twist on ID theft, criminals are deploying figments of their imaginations, in what is often called synthetic-identity fraud. It’s one of the fastest growing forms of identity crimes, the Justice Department says, and among the hardest to combat.

Because the person taking out cards or loans isn’t real, there are no consumer victims to alert lenders. When companies and law enforcement discover something amiss, they often wind up chasing ghosts. Mr. Lyles secured credit cards often using fictional names and numbers the Social Security Administration hadn’t yet assigned.

Read the full article here.

 

U.S. Jobless Claims Hit Lowest Level Since 1969

Initial claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., fell to 210,000 in the week ended Feb. 24

Job seekers filling out applications at a job fair in Meridian, Miss., on Feb. 8. PHOTO: PAULA MERRITT/ASSOCIATED PRESS

By Ben Leubsdorf

WASHINGTON—The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since December 1969, offering fresh evidence of health in the labor market.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., declined by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 210,000 in the week ended Feb. 24, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was the lowest reading for initial claims since the week ended Dec. 6, 1969. “Claims remain historically low—indeed, they are still falling—consistent with the trend in employment growth remaining more than strong enough to keep the unemployment rate trending down,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, in a note to clients.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 225,000 new claims last week.

Read the full article here.