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Fed Speaks, Markets react again: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell clearly indicated that the central bank is on course to raise interest by just 50 basis points at its next meeting, stepping down from what could have been FOUR 75 basis point rate raises. Powell mentioned Wednesday that the overheated labor market needed to cool more for the Fed to be confident that inflation was really moving in the right direction. Markets rallied following the Feds announcement.

Unretiring: A combination of high inflation and plentiful job openings is tempting some retirees to rejoin the workforce. If you’re in this boat and already collecting social security, there are a few things you may want to be aware of first. You might earn more cash in the short term and also eventually increase your monthly benefit checks. However, your benefits may be temporarily reduced as an earnings penalty. If you are subject to the penalty, your benefit will be recalculated later. If you choose to return to work, inform the Social Security Administration (SSA) quickly so they can adjust your benefit checks. If you don’t, you will have an unwelcome surprise when the IRS reports your earnings to the SSA. The SSA will stop benefit payments until any earnings penalty is satisfied.

Layoffs by Sector: When evaluating the health of the economy, a major contributing factor is the labor market and unemployment rates. The U.S. added 263,000 jobs last month, defying expectations. We came across this chart this week, which puts some color to the curiosity of where the jobs are and where layoffs seem to happen most regularly:

While the results are not too surprising, it’s always good to keep an eye on how things look. And fascinating to compare the difference in years.

Business Briefing

  • Averting a Holiday Strike: On Thursday, the Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation to impose a contract on freight railroads and rail worker unions to prevent a potential strike. The 80-15 vote sends the bill to President Biden for his signature. The strike would have disrupted food, water, and fuel distribution. (The Washington Post, The Guardian)
  • Cutting Bonuses: Goldman Sachs expects to post its best revenue in a decade, but it is warning its traders that they will be cutting their year-end bonuses due to cost concerns. The investment bank this week warned executives in the firm’s global markets division that the company would trim their compensation pool by a low double-digit percentage, according to Bloomberg. Goldman declined to comment. (Bloomberg)
  • Amazon Success: On Wednesday, Amazon said that this year’s Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend was its biggest ever. The online retail giant’s independent sellers brought in more than $1 billion in sales. Adobe Analytics, which tracks transactions at leading online stores, said total holiday-weekend sales reached $35.27 billion. That’s 4 percent more than last year. (The Associated Press, The Washington Post)

For Those Who Are Hard to Buy For: If you’re looking for the right gift for that one person who is impossible to buy for, this might be an option. An option if you have an extra $10 million to spend, that is. For years, people have visited a museum built in the house where the famous American holiday classic A Christmas Story was filmed in Cleveland, Ohio. That house, where Ralphie Parker nearly shot his eye out with his Red Ryder BB gun, is now up for sale to anyone who loves the film enough to keep the museum running. It’s a shame mortgage rates are what they are; this may be a tough sale to make.