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Mortgage rates dip slightly

Average long-term US mortgage rates ticked down modestly this week after six straight weeks of gains pushed rates to heights not seen in more than a decade, before a crash in the housing market triggered the Great Recession in 2008.Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press


Rates dip slightly

Average long-term US mortgage rates ticked down modestly this week after six straight weeks of gains pushed rates to heights not seen in more than a decade, before a crash in the housing market triggered the Great Recession in 2008. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average on the key 30-year rate dipped to 6.66 percent from 6.70 percent last week. One year ago, the rate stood at 2.99 percent. The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, popular among those looking to refinance their homes, came down to 5.9 percent from 5.96 percent last week. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Another round of layoffs at Peloton

Peloton is laying off a significant amount of employees for the fourth time this year as part of an effort to save the struggling business, chief executive Barry McCarthy told staff on Thursday. The fitness technology company is cutting its workforce by roughly 500 globally, or 12 percent, leaving it with about 3,825 employees. McCarthy said the company is making the move, along with other reductions in operating expenses, in order to reach the break-even point on cash flow by the end of fiscal 2023. Peloton told staff that the latest round of layoffs marks the “bulk of our restructuring work” being complete. The company laid off about 2,800 employees in February, part of a shakeup that included McCarthy coming aboard as CEO. Peloton eliminated roughly 570 jobs in July as part of a move to outsource hardware manufacturing, and then an additional 800 people in August to further lower expenses. And the cuts aren’t entirely over. The company plans to begin closing the majority of its retail stores in North America next year. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Amazon to hire 150,000 workers for the holidays

Amazon plans to hire 150,000 seasonal workers, about the same as last year despite slowing sales growth and predictions of a lackluster holiday shopping season. The world’s largest online retailer typically hires legions of temporary workers this time of year to help store, pack, and ship items from its warehouses. Employees can earn more than $19 an hour, on average, based on their position and location in the United States, Amazon said in a statement. The announcement suggests that Amazon expects steady demand for its logistics services even with shoppers back in stores and trimming their budgets amid the highest inflation in decades. In an effort to jumpstart sales going into the holiday season, the company will hold a two-day Prime Day sale next week, the first time Amazon has hosted such an event twice in the same year. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Politics creeps into the office

Politically biased treatment at work has doubled since before the pandemic, according to new research by the Society for HumanResource Management. About a quarter of US employees say they’ve experienced biased treatment because of their political affiliations — either preferential dealings or undue negative actions on the basis of their political opinions — compared to just 12 percent of workers in 2019, according to a survey of over 500 Americans conducted by SHRM in late August. Companies have been forced to contend with politically fraught issues in recent years, from the 2020 presidential election to COVID-19 pandemic workplace safety measures and vaccine mandates, climate change, nationwide protests against racial injustice, and the overturning of Roe v. Wade. As the United States heads into the contentious midterm elections, only 8 percent of organizations have communicated guidelines to employees around political discussions at work, according to a SHRM poll of over 1,500 human resource professionals. The study found that about 30 percent of supervisors would be hesitant to hire someone who disclosed extremely conservative beliefs, while 20 percent said the same for a candidate who expressed extremely liberal beliefs. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


The Google Pixel 7 phone is displayed at its launch in New York on October 6, 2022. THOMAS URBAIN/AFP via Getty Images


Google unveils new phones

Google on Thursday said its new Pixel phones will deliver improved voice and camera features while bringing back facial recognition for unlocking the device as it seeks to better compete with Apple and Samsung. The company’s Pixel 7 and 7 Pro devices offer more affordable prices than the dominant duo of the mobile market, coming in at $599 and $899, respectively, and introduce the second generation of Google’s in-house Tensor chip. The 6.7-inch Pro version has an additional zoom camera, better display, and more memory than the 6.3-inch Pixel 7. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Teen arrested in Australian cyberattack

A police investigation of a cyberattack on an Australian telecommunications company in which the personal data of more than one third of Australia’s population was stolen has resulted in its first arrest, investigators said Thursday. Police launched Operation Hurricane in cooperation with the US Federal Bureau Investigation after Optus, Australia’s second-largest wireless carrier, lost the personal records of 9.8 million current and former customers on Sept. 21. The hacker dumped the records of 10,000 of those customers on the dark web last week as part of an attempt to extort $1 million from Optus, a subsidiary of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., also known as Singtel. A 19-year-old Sydney man was arrested on Thursday and charged with using the dumped data in a text message blackmail scam, police said in a statement. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Lighter electric SUVs and trucks may be coming

Do the electric trucks and SUVs of the future really need to be as big and bulletproof as they’ve been in the combustion era? Citroën says no — there’s another way. Last week, the Stellantis-owned French brand unveiled its Oli concept, a more efficient, affordable, and sustainable battery-powered sport utility vehicle than some of the bulky beasts others have unveiled or already put on the road. The Oli features recyclable parts that could be replaced or upgraded. A driver’s smartphone functions as the source of in-car entertainment. The partially 3-D-printed seats use fewer components. The roof, engine cover, and rear panels are made from fiberglass-reinforced cardboard, shedding about 50 percent of the weight of a steel construction. The SUV tips the scale at around 1 ton, roughly half what Tesla’s slightly longer Model Y weighs. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Toyota figures out flaw in crossover EVs

Japan’s top automaker Toyota said Thursday that it has identified how to fix its 2023 model year bZ4X crossover electric vehicles after recalling 2,700 of them in June out of concern wheel bolts might become loose, risking a crash. The fix will enable Toyota to resume making and selling the EVs, a key model in the company’s effort to strengthen its electric lineup. Toyota officials said they hoped the fix would help restore the company’s reputation for quality. — ASSOCIATED PRESS