Business, Economics and Jobs

Macro chatter: Target vs. Amazon, from frenemies to enemies


Joanely Carrero restocks shelves at a Target store in Miami, Florida. Target just said it would stop selling Amazon's kindle. Target has become an Amazon showroom and that's made Amazon more of a foe than friend for Target.


Joe Raedle

Need to know:
The private sector in the US in April added the fewest jobs in seven months, according to the closely watched ADP report.  

That's particularly disappointing news after March's less-than-stellar jobs report and because the number of people filing for unemployment is still way too high for it to feel like a recovery. 

The ADP report occasionally does a good job previewing the government’s official tally of overall job growth, which comes out Friday.

Want to know:
South Africa is one of the worst places in the world for a young person to get a job.

More than half of all young South Africans are unemployed, and the help President Jacob Zuma has promised has failed to materialize. That’s forcing young South Africans like Xolisile Dolo to try and eek out whatever meager existence they can in the informal economy, GlobalPost’s Alex Duval Smith writes.

Zuma wants to subsidize the hiring of young South Africans, but older workers worry that could cost them their jobs. The situation is a “social time bomb” in a country as prone to violence as South Africa.

Dull but important:
The European Central Bank will keep a key interest rate at a record low, it announced today.

ECB President Mario Draghi also said the bank would keep a bond buying program aimed at helping euro area countries control financing costs in place but warned it won't last forever. 

Some people had been speculating that the bank could discuss a potential rate cut aimed at spurring growth in struggling Europe, but Draghi said that didn't happen. 

A key interest rate in Europe has been at a record-low 1 percent for five months. 

Just because:
There’s a war brewing between Target and Amazon. Target is pulling Amazon’s Kindle e-readers from store shelves but will keep selling rival tablets and add a few mini Apple stores to display iPads. 

Target is snubbing Amazon because the online retailer poses tough competition in key categories and has been siphoning off too much customer traffic.

Customers in many states have discovered browsing at Target and buying from Amazon is a good way to avoid paying sales taxes, and that’s upsetting the big-box discounter. Target’s become a showroom for Amazon, and that’s made Amazon an “enemy rather than a partner,” one analyst told Reuters

Strange but true:
People really like their flavored vodka. 

Whipped cream, peanut butter and jelly, cake and cookie dough are among the vodka flavors skyrocketing in popularity, according to the Globe and Mail. The paper said flavored vodka sales shot up 400 percent last year, with Pinnacle’s Whipped leading the way.

Not all flavors are doing so well. Ohio announced it would cut prices on bacon-flavored vodka to make room for other flavors.

Lots of luck to Ohio because a BLTtini just doesn’t sound as appetizing as a Cake and coke or a shot of Fruit Loop-flavored vodka.