Millionaires declare themselves to be middle class; job creation is up and unemployment is down. Here are the top news stories for May 8, 2015
Millionaires Declare We Are Middle Class
According to CNBC’s Millionaire Survey, a majority of Millionaires describe themselves as middle class or upper middle class, even though being a Millionaire places them in the upper 10 percent of Americans. The CNBC survey was conducted by Spectrem Group. According to the survey, 44 percent of millionaires describe themselves as middle class while 40 percent say they are upper middle class. Only 4 percent describe themselves as wealthy, while 5 percent describe themselves as upper class. Even among Americans with a net worth of $5 million or more, 49 percent define themselves as upper middle class and 23 percent say they are middle class.
We've Got Jobs
The Labor Department Friday reported the U.S. economy created 223,000 jobs in April and that the unemployment rate fell to a seven-year low of 5.4 percent. The new numbers are a jumpstart after three months of sluggish job reports. The unemployment rate is the lowest since May of 2008. On Thursday, the weekly jobless claims numbers rose less than expected by Wall Street.
CBS Earnings Rise
CBS announced quarterly earnings and sales rose thanks to increasing affiliate and subscription fees that are offsetting lower returns among licensing and distribution fees. CBS said its first-quarter earnings were 78 cents per share on revenue of $3.5 billion. Analysts had expected earnings of 75 cents a share on $3.45 billion in revenue. The company said its CBS All Access streaming service has provided growth and now reaches 50 percent of the United States households.
Consumer Borrowing Expands to Record $3.36 Trillion
Consumer borrowing expanded by $20.5 billion in March to an unprecedented $3.36 trillion, the largest increase since April 2014, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday. Borrowing in the category that covers credit cards surged $4.4 billion to $889.4 billion in March after having fallen in both January and February. It was the biggest gain for consumer credit since last July. Borrowing in the category that covers auto and student loans rose $16.2 billion to $2.47 trillion. The jump in borrowing on credit cards could be evidence that consumers are beginning to feel more confident about taking on debt to finance retail purchases. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.
Whole Foods to Launch Lower-Priced Stores
In a bid to shake its “Whole Paycheck” rep, Whole Foods will open a separate chain of lower-priced stores aimed at Millennials, USA TODAY reports. As organic and fresh foods have gone more mainstream, Whole Foods has lost some of its cachet, analysts say. Millennials are drawn to the chain’s social and ethical ethos, but they don’t have the disposable income for its high-end merchandise. The new format expands the company's reach and isn't expected to pull sales away from Whole Foods stores, executives said.
Lumber Liquidators Halts Sales of Flooring
Targeted on “60 Minutes” Lumber Liquidators is suspending sales of its laminate flooring that was featured in a devastating “60 Minutes” piece that sent sales and share price tumbling. The report alleged that the China-made product contains toxic levels of formaldehyde, a carcinogen. The company defiantly continued to sell the flooring for two months following the broadcast. March same-store sales fell nearly 18 percent following the “60 Minutes” report, which has prompted more than 100 class-action suits against the company as well a Consumer Product Safety Commission probe. Lumber Liquidators shares have slumped more than 60 percent since late February when it altered investors about the “60 Minutes” report. The company has shipped thousands of air testing kits to customers, and states that formaldehyde air concentrations fall within World Health Organization guidelines.