Is tipping getting out of control? Many consumers say yes
NEW YORK — Across the country, there’s a silent frustration brewing over the ever-presence of tipping. Some fed-up consumers are posting rants on social media complaining about tip requests at drive-thrus, while others say they’re tired of being asked to leave a gratuity for a muffin or a simple cup of coffee at their neighborhood bakery. As more businesses adopt digital payment methods, customers are automatically being prompted to leave a gratuity at places they normally wouldn’t. And some say it has become more frustrating as the price of items has skyrocketed due to inflation, which eased to 6.5% in December but still remains painfully high. For workers, though, the surge in tip requests is a welcome development.
Spotify’s latest tech name to cut jobs, axes 6% of the workforce
LONDON — Music streaming service Spotify said Monday it’s cutting 6% of its global workforce or about 600 jobs. It’s yet another tech company forced to rethink its pandemic-era expansion as the economic outlook weakens. CEO Daniel Ek announced the restructuring in a message to employees that was also posted online Monday. He said the company’s operating costs last year grew at double its revenue growth and that it has tried hard to rein in costs but “it simply hasn’t been enough.” Ek said he took “full accountability for the moves that got us here today.”
US ends probe into Ford SUV exhaust issues without a recall
DETROIT — The U.S. government has closed a yearslong investigation into exhaust odors in Ford Explorer passenger cabins, determining that the SUVs don’t have high levels of carbon monoxide and don’t need to be recalled. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it reviewed more than 6,500 consumer complaints and tested SUVs in the field. The probe covered nearly 1.5 million Explorers from the 2011 to 2017 model years and involved complaints of sickness and crashes that involved three deaths and 657 injuries. Many complaints came from police departments. But the agency said Monday that testing showed no Explorers that were sealed under a 2017 Ford service campaign had carbon monoxide levels higher than Environmental Protection Agency limits. ___
Microsoft invests billions in ChatGPT-maker OpenAI
REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft says it is making a “multiyear, multibillion-dollar investment” in the artificial intelligence startup OpenAI, maker of ChatGPT and other tools that can generate readable text, images, and computer code. The tech giant on Monday described its new agreement as the third stage of a growing partnership with San Francisco-based OpenAI that began with a $1 billion investment in 2019. It didn’t disclose the dollar amount of its latest investment. OpenAI started out as a nonprofit artificial intelligence research company when it launched in December 2015.
Wall Street rises as Fed rate move nears, earnings ramp up
NEW YORK — Stocks closed higher on Wall Street as investors grow more convinced the Federal Reserve will keep downshifting the size of its rate hikes and as several major companies prepare to report their latest results. The S&P 500 rose 1.2% Monday. Tech companies led the way in a broad rally, pushing the Nasdaq composite up 2%. The Dow added 0.8%. This week Microsoft, Tesla, and Boeing are among the companies that will deliver their results for the last three months of 2022. Investors are anticipating the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next week by half the size of its prior hike.
Yellen pushes for China to address Zambia’s big debt burden
LUSAKA, Zambia — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says on the second leg of her African tour it’s “critically important” to address Zambia’s debt crisis. Experts say a prolonged debt crisis could lead Zambia deeper into poverty and joblessness and exclude it from credit to rebuild in the future. Yellen’s Monday visit to Zambia is aimed at promoting American investment. Yellen is in a capital city visibly dominated by Chinese financing. How Zambia’s debt is renegotiated with the Chinese will provide a test case for how lenient China will be with other overextended nations facing debt distress. Yellen met with Zambia’s president and finance minister. Yellen also has visited Senegal and will visit South Africa.
Biden’s next climate hurdle: Enticing Americans to buy green
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden persuaded Democrats in Congress to provide hundreds of billions of dollars to fight climate change. Now comes another formidable task: enticing Americans to buy millions of electric cars, heat pumps, solar panels, and more efficient appliances. Biden faces a public relations challenge that could determine whether the country achieves his ambitious goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. One analyst says the battle will be waged “one household at a time.” Officials hope consumers will respond to tax credits and rebates when they make purchasing decisions — if they are aware of them.
The S&P 500 rose 47.20 points, or 1.2%, to 4,019.81. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 254.07 points, or 0.8%, to 33,629.56. The Nasdaq composite rose 223.98 points, or 2%, to 11,364.41. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 23.43 points, or 1.3%, to 1,890.77.