Business Headlines


(SEATTLE) -- Amazon said Tuesday that independent sellers brought in more than $4.8 billion in worldwide sales from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, an increase of more than 60% from 2019.

With sales from the past weekend, the e-commerce giant also said that 2020 already has become its largest holiday shopping season ever.

The new data reflects a high demand for e-commerce and delivery options for consumers this year as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.

Moreover, Amazon said nearly all of its independent businesses, which racked in the record $4.8 billion over the weekend, are small and medium sized.

The company added that more than 71,000 small- and medium-sized businesses worldwide already have surpassed $100,000 in sales. In addition, American small- and medium-sized businesses have sold an average of 9,500 products per minute this holiday season to date.

Some of the best sellers on the site over the weekend include Amazon's Echo Dot device, Barack Obama's memoir, A Promised Land, and the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer Hot Air Brush, the company said.

Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon's worldwide consumer business, thanked customers, employees and selling partners "for making this our biggest holiday season to date, and for everything you’re doing to support our communities and each other now and throughout the year."

Despite a pandemic and looming economic downturn, Cyber Monday this year became the largest online spending day in history at $10.8 billion, according to data from Adobe Analytics.

This is an increase of more than 15% compared with last year. Cyber Monday pushed the total holiday season spending to date to $106 billion, Adobe analysts said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Nasdaq is proposing new rules that would mandate diversity in the boardroom for companies listed on its stock exchange.

Nasdaq filed a proposal with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday that would require all companies listed on its U.S. stock exchange to publicly disclose the diversity statistics of its board of directors. Moreover, the new rules would require companies on the stock exchange to have at least one woman director and one who self-identifies as an "underrepresented minority" or member of the LGBTQ community -- or face possible delisting.

Foreign and smaller companies would be able to satisfy this requirement with two women directors on their boards. Nasdaq defines "underrepresented minority" as an individual who self-identifies as Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian, Native American (including Native Alaskan or Hawaiian), Pacific Islander or someone who is two or more races.

The new rules still need to be green lit by the SEC.

Under the proposal, however, Nasdaq-listed companies will be required to publicly disclose its board diversity statistics within one year of the SEC's approval of the new rules. From then, all companies will be expected to have one diverse director within two years of the SEC's approval of the rule. Companies listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and Nasdaq Global Market will be expected to have two diverse directors within four years and companies listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market will be expected to have two diverse directors within five years.

If companies do not meet the diverse board requirements within the timeframes, they will have to provide a public explanation for why or face possible delisting from the exchange.

"Our goal with this proposal is to provide a transparent framework for Nasdaq-listed companies to present their board composition and diversity philosophy effectively to all stakeholders," Adena Friedman, Nasdaq's president and CEO, said in a statement. "We believe this listing rule is one step in a broader journey to achieve inclusive representation across corporate America."

Nelson Griggs, the president of Nasdaq Stock Exchange, added that the proposal "gives companies an opportunity to make progress toward increasing representation of women, underrepresented minorities and the LGBTQ community on their boards."

"Corporate diversity, at all levels, opens up a clear path to innovation and growth," Griggs said. "We are inspired by the support from our issuers and the financial community with this effort and look forward to working together with companies of all sizes to create stronger and more inclusive boards."

The proposal has garnered support from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Anthony Romero, the ACLU's executive director, lauded Nasdaq for "heeding the call of the moment."

"Incremental change and window-dressing isn’t going to cut it anymore as consumers, stakeholders and the government increasingly hold corporate America’s feet to the fire," Romero said in a statement. "Nasdaq’s efforts to prod and push its listed companies is a welcomed and necessary first step. With increased representation of people of color, women and LGBTQ people on corporate boards, corporations will have to take actionable steps to ensure underrepresented communities have a seat at the table."

The move comes amid a growing push for diversity in corporate boardrooms that was propelled in part by protests over police brutality that roiled the nation over the summer.

In June, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian made headlines when he announced he resigned from his company's board to make room for a Black business leader to take his place.

More recently, in October, California passed a bill into law that requires publicly-traded companies headquartered in the state to have at least one board member from an "underrepresented community" by the end of 2021.

Nasdaq's proposal, the first of its kind, also comes as minority groups remain vastly underrepresented in corporate boardrooms.

White board members made up 83.9% of total board seats on Fortune 500 companies in 2018, according to a report from Deloitte and the Alliance for Board Diversity. Black board members accounted for just 8.6% of those seats, Hispanic/Latino members just 3.8% and Asian/Pacific Islanders just 3.7%.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Sephora has plans to open hundreds of locations in Kohl's stores later next year.

Both retailers are partnering to present "Sephora at Kohl's" which will be a premium beauty destination located at the front of Kohl's stores and online in fall 2021.

There are plans to initially open 200 stores and at least 850 locations by 2023 with each physical shop being designed within a 2,500-square-foot space.

This new partnership will bring more exposure to new customers and more accessibility to existing Sephora fans.

"The Kohl's and Sephora partnership will bring a transformational, elevated beauty experience to Kohl's from the top global name in beauty," said Michelle Gass, Kohl's chief executive officer in a statement. "This new collaboration is an excellent example of two customer-centric, purpose-driven companies leveraging each other's strengths to make aspirational beauty far more accessible to millions of customers all across the country."

Sephora's assortment of products will replace Kohl's current in-store offerings and will be positioned at the front of Kohl's stores.

Each shop will also feature Sephora-trained beauty advisers, eligibility for Beauty Insider rewards benefits as well as in-store returns, store pick-up and curbside pick-up.

"Great brands are always looking for new ways to serve their customers and innovate, even in dynamic times," said Martin Brok, global president and CEO of Sephora in a statement.

"With Kohl’s we will be able to bring Sephora closer to where our customers want us to be, offering them one transformative beauty experience that integrates our prestige product offering, our values and our communities, in a place where they come to get inspired and fulfill their lifestyle needs. This partnership also shows our confidence in the future of omnichannel retail and ideally positions both Kohl’s and Sephora to seize tomorrow’s opportunities, today," Brok said.

This news comes a few weeks after beauty haven Ulta Beauty announced its future presence in Target stores.

This shop-in-a-shop format will begin rolling out in 100 Target stores nationwide in 2021.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Shake Shack is adding an upscale special ingredient to its beloved fast food menu: black truffle.

The burger chain has tapped into its fine dining roots in partnership with rare and specialty importer Regalis Foods to create three elevated new menu items topped with a one-of-a-kind organic black truffle sauce.

 "What we wanted to do is really harness those fall, wintery flavors and also bring more ingredients to the table that really pair with black truffle," Shake Shack culinary director Mark Rosati told ABC News of their long-anticipated collaboration with Ian Purkayastha, the Regalis' founder who works directly with chefs in 90% of the Michelin-starred U.S. restaurants.

"Through COVID, as a brand we're constantly trying to pivot with everyone in the industry -- so we think this is an awesome opportunity for us," Purkayastha said of the ability to collaborate on a high-end experience at Shake Shack.

First up, Rosati concocted a new cheeseburger made with Gruyère cheese, which he explained has "a lot of harmony with the earthiness of the black truffle."

"For the sauce, we wanted to do something that had a little more complexity" to make the truffle flavor even more pronounced.

"We caramelized mushrooms, chopped them up finely with a little bit of garlic and shallot" and that mixture cooks down with sherry vinegar, madeira and port wine to create a reduction. "Then it gets folded into a mayonaisse and added the black truffle oil from Ian [Purkayastha]," Rosati said of the spread made with the top of the line foraged truffle-infused oil.

Rosati said "it needed a textural component" so he topped it with crispy shallots to lend a crunch and "garlicky punch -- that goes well with the truffles."

The second new product that will feature the specialty, seasonal sauce is a cheese-filled, crispy 'shroom burger -- which in Rosati's professional opinion is "the sleeper" of the menu.

"We're putting the truffle sauce on the top and bottom bun, usually we just do it on one side -- and a little bit of shredded lettuce -- when you bite into it with the cheese oozing out and it mixes with the truffle sauce, it's next level," Rosati said.

Third, is a stripped down version of the Shack Stack, a combination of their burger patty and crispy mushroom.

Rosati said it has "a double spread of the black truffle sauce, a Gruyère cheeseburger and a 'shroom on top -- We're trying to really do right by the truffle flavors and make the whole thing a cohesive delicious experience. One of my favorite things is also putting the sauce on the fries."

Purkayastha told ABC News "it's been very exciting to watch" Rosati develop a menu featuring his USDA Organic Black Truffle Arbequina Oil "at an approachable price point."

Pricing for the Black Truffle Burger is $8.89, a Black Truffle ‘Shroom Burger will cost $8.89, the Black Truffle Shack Stack is $11.89 and a side of the Black Truffle Sauce is just $1.50.

"Truffles are kind of the last entirely natural and wild food left in existence that's never been successfully cultivated on a commercial scale," he explained. "Coupled with their extreme perishability" and the fact that it takes a trained dog to sniff out the crop "makes them expensive."

Nearly 98% of truffle products sold globally are artificially flavored with synthetic lab-created essences and aromas, which can be cloying and off-putting to some people's palates; Regalis’ oil is flavored organically with real truffles and is the only truly natural truffle product on the market.

"We've always wanted to find ways to make truffles a little bit more mainstream and at the same time preserving the quality that we've worked hard to establish," Purkayastha said. "We're the only company that's been able to craft a product made with real truffles at a price point that's now available for the masses. Working with Shake Shack we've been able to crack the code and make it happen."

"Ian has this amazing product -- and we're all about the best ingredients we can possibly work with and this raises the bar to a whole other level," Rosati said.

The menu is available from Dec. 1 through Dec. 31 while supplies last in New York at the Madison Square Park and Upper West Side Shake Shack and Los Angeles locations in Pasadena and El Segundo.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- After a virus that has separated so many, early Christmas tree shoppers are looking to get back to their roots and focus on what’s important: family.

Across the country, Americans are picking up their Christmas trees earlier this year and many are turning back to real trees, grown by local farmers, in record numbers, according to the farms that spoke with ABC News.

At the Mistletoe Christmas Tree Farm in Stow, Massachusetts, one family said that they’re grateful for the new memory together.

“It’s been a tough year and I think just to celebrate it earlier and try to get out here and do something with the family and enjoy it has been fun,” said father Tom McNamara.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, local tree farmer Brad Barick at Back Acres Christmas Tree Farm said that his job is rooted in the community.

Dale Barker, a third generation farmer at the Barkers Christmas Tree Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, said his family has been growing Christmas trees for nearly 80 years, and although planted in tradition, Barker said that 2020 was the year of change.

“COVID has made 2020 the year of change for all us, but we’ve made many changes around here,” said Barker, who urged Americans to shop local. “Made in America is very important during this year of the pandemic.”n'

In Galien, Michigan, Kris Goodenough at Pinecrest Christmas Tree Farm echoed a similar sentiment: support local business.

“Purchase that Made in America… the real Christmas tree this year. By doing so, you are helping, maybe put someone to work helping at those Christmas tree farms,” said Goodenough.

While many shop local this year, some are turning toward a more hands-on tradition. The Jonsteen Tree Company in McKinleyville, California, sends customers a kit to grow their own Christmas tree and farmer Jonathan Claasen said there’s been an uptick in sales.

“Amidst this pandemic, Stern and I feel really privileged to have a company that’s being supported by Americans and that we’re able to employ our people and keep working,” said Claasen.

From coast to coast, farmer Jeff Larcom of Corvallis, Oregon, said that his farm, Holiday Tree Farms, is happily working hard to ship trees across the U.S.

“We’re seeing customers that are really focused on the family tradition,” he told ABC News' World News Tonight. “Going out and buying a real tree this year.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Cyber Monday is expected to become the largest online shopping day in history, according to preliminary data from industry analysts.

Analysts predict consumers will spend anywhere from $10.8 billion to $12.7 billion on Monday, a 15% to 35% increase compared to last Cyber Monday, according to Adobe Analytics.

"Cyber Monday is on track to break all previous records for online sales," Taylor Schreiner, the director at Adobe Digital Insights, said in a statement.

"Consumers will likely take advantage of the best discounted items today like TVs, toys and computers before price levels start creeping back up throughout the rest of the season," Schreiner added. "Shoppers are encouraged to do their gift buying soon as shipping in time for Christmas will get more expensive in the coming weeks."

As the coronavirus pandemic looms large over this year's holiday shopping season -- leading to high demand for online, delivery and curbside pickup options this year -- Adobe found that Black Friday 2020 hit a new online sales record with consumers spending $9 billion. This is an increase of 21.6% in online sales compared to Black Friday last year, making it the second-largest online spending day in U.S. history after Cyber Monday 2019.

In addition, curbside pickup over Black Friday weekend was up 67% compared to last year, according to Adobe.

Still, analysts say they expect this year's Cyber Monday to be the "king of online shopping days and become the largest online sales day in history," according to Adobe's analysts.

Their research found that 56% of consumers believe that retailers are saving the best discounts for Cyber Monday, and that shoppers are likely to see the biggest discounts on computers. Deep discounts on toys, appliances and electronics are also expected.

The analysts also highlighted other trends expected Monday, noting that between 7 p.m. PT to 11 p.m. PT will be the "golden hours of retail," when customers rush for last-minute buys before the deals expire. That four-hour window is expected to bring in a massive 29% of the day's revenue, or at least $3.1 billion. The analysts forecast $13 million will be spent per minute during the peak hour of 8 p.m. PT to 9 p.m. PT Monday.

Finally, the analysts found that mobile shopping has been dominating this holiday shopping season, accounting for 40% of online sales so far.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Francesco Cantone / EyeEm/Getty ImagesBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Sony’s PS5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X are some of the most sought after gifts this holiday season. But both video game consoles are nearly impossible to get and sell out within seconds when they become available online.

As ABC News’ Becky Worley explains in the video below, it appears “Grinch bots” are to blame:

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Courtesy Sankofa FarmsBY: MARIYA MOSELEY, ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) — There was a time when Black-owned farms were booming -- before those farmers were stripped of tens of thousands of acres because of racist policies.

Now, most rural land in the U.S. owned by white people. But now, finally, a new piece of legislation could help African Americans reclaim some of that acreage.

The Justice for Black Farmers Act, introduced earlier this month by Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., would allow Black farmers to reclaim up to 160 acres each, at no charge, through a Department of Agriculture system of land grants.

Kamal Bell, a 29-year-old farmer in Durham, North Carolina, said that such legislation is just the beginning of efforts necessary for certain farms to become sustainable and generate revenue.

"I think it's definitely a step in the right direction ... but we need to create pipelines for African Americans to be educated on a 21st-century farm," Bell told ABC News. "The production aspect of how to stay in business isn't taught to you. ... We learned this on our own and from other Black farmers we ended up meeting."

Bell is CEO of Sankofa Farms, a family farm that he purchased while saving up money in college. It aims to serve as a sustainable food source in urban communities, particularly so-called food deserts with few available options for fresh produce.

The group uses agriculture as a platform to teach youth key life lessons and embrace a visual, interactive experience, which includes training students how to operate drones in the fields. Additionally, the group shows students of color about the connection between STEM concepts and agriculture through the Agricultural Academy Sankofa Farms Agricultural Academy.

"If the students aren't educated to go into the field, we're just going to end up with the same system," Bell said.

Sankofa Farms is working with six students -- aged 11 to 18 -- some of whom say they've never seen a farmer that looks like them.

The group, which is grooming the students as managers and compensating them for their labor, goes far beyond teaching them how to grow food. The program also educates students on how to dress in a professional setting, speak in public and build transferable skills to use in their communities.

Bell, a father of two boys aged 4 and 6, said the business has blossomed into a "family affair." Not only does his son aspire to become a farmer one day, but his wife, Amber, also serves as community engagement director for the group and is among several of the group's certified beekeepers.

Bell, a doctoral student, obtained a bachelor's degree in animal sciences and a master's in agricultural teacher education from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University -- the nation's largest historically Black college or university.

He said that he's witnessed barriers entering the industry firsthand and is living his purpose by striving to "break generational curses."

The story of how nearly 1 million Black families were stripped of their farms, and therefore robbed of their hard-earned generational wealth, isn't a story often told when discussing U.S. history.

From the 1860s to the 1920s, dozens of towns violently expelled entire Black communities and forced them to flee their homes using tactics that included racist mobs. Many stories of Black residents, particularly those living in the South, were detailed in the 2007 award-winning documentary "BANISHED."

At their peak in 1920, there were over 949,000 Black farmers in America, according to a 2017 report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That number has now plummeted to roughly 45,000 Black-owned farms.

Now, Black farm owners makeup a mere 1.3% of the country’s 3.4 million total farmers. In comparison, approximately 95% of rural land across the country is currently owned by white farmers.

Booker told Mother Jones that the bill is an effort to help mount a long-overdue federal effort to reverse the "destructive forces that were unleashed upon Black farmers over the past century.”

The bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., would become a sevenfold expansion for African American farmers, transferring to them up to 32 million acres.

Kenrett Jefferson-Moore, chairperson of the Committee on the Opportunities and Status of Blacks in Agricultural Economics at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, said that this bill is a great step toward justice for Black farmers.

"African American farmers have had to fight for so much over the years -- information, rights, land access, capital access and so on," Jefferson-Moore told ABC News.

The 46-year-old mom and wife also echoes the fact that knowledge is among the key ways to open the door for those interested in the field.

"Education is key for farmers," Jefferson-Moore added. "If we can ensure that African American farmers are gaining access to information to preserve their hard work and effort, it could change the trajectory of their farming legacies."

Jefferson-Moore, who grew up in Doyline, Louisiana, was exposed to the world of agriculture as a 5-year-old by her father, who was a school teacher, tax assessor and part-time farmer.

"It brings tears to my eyes to think of how this would change opportunities for African American farmers," Jefferson-Moore said, "especially my father."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) — Black Friday hit a new record with consumers spending $9.0 billion, an increase of 21.6% year over year (online sales hit $7.4 billion on Black Friday in 2019), according to Adobe Analytics data.

It was the second-largest online spending day in U.S. history, coming in behind Cyber Monday 2019. Adobe expects Cyber Monday 2020 to become the largest online sales day in history, with spending between $10.8 billion (15% year-over-year growth) and $12.7 billion (35% year over year growth).

U.S. consumers spent $6.3 million per minute shopping online on Black Friday, or $27.50 on average per person. $3.6 billion was spent via smartphones, a 25.3% increase year over year, reaching 40% of the total online spend.

In-store and curbside pickup increased 52% on Black Friday year over year, as many consumers looked to avoid in-store shopping.

Leading into Small Business Saturday, smaller retailers saw early success with sales 545% higher on Black Friday, compared to an average day last month, and a 211% boost in sales this past week compared to October.

Additional report insights

-Discounts continue: Discounts are expected to stay strong over the weekend, with the deepest cuts for toys (20%), computers (27%), electronics (25%), appliances (18%), and televisions (19%).

-Ecommerce giants vs. smaller retailers: Ecommerce giants (over $1B in yearly revenue) and smaller retailers both saw gains on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday: Large retailers saw a 403% increase in sales the past two days over the October daily average, compared to 349% for smaller retailers. While larger retailers have always performed better during Cyber week than smaller brands, consumers seem motivated to spend more with small retailers in 2020 as the gap shrunk by over 200%. Last year, large retailers saw a 380% increase in sales on Black Friday, and smaller retailers benefited from a 173% increase.

-Products in high demand: Toys: Hot Wheels, Hoverboards, and Lego Sets; Top-selling video games: NBA 2K21, Animal Crossing, Super Mario 3D All-Stars. Top-selling electronics: Apple AirPods, Apple Watches, Amazon Echo and Samsung TVs.

-Surges outside traditional holiday shopping: Electronics continue to be a hot-ticket holiday item, specifically smartwatches ( 606% over October daily levels) and smart home items ( 592%). Online grocery shopping remains popular, as Black Friday saw a 397% boost compared to last month. Personal care products surged yesterday, up 556%, while pet products and auto parts also saw increases at 254% and 269% from last month.

-COVID-19 restrictions on family gathering drive sales: In states that put COVID-19 restrictions around family gatherings, there was 265% higher year-over-year growth in online shopping over the last two days compared to states with less restrictions.

"We are seeing strong growth as consumers continue to move shopping from offline to online this year. New consoles, phones, smart devices and TVs that are traditional Black Friday purchases are sharing online shopping cart space this year with unorthodox Black Friday purchases such as groceries, clothes and alcohol, that would previously have been purchased in-store," said Taylor Schreiner, director, Adobe Digital Insights, in a statement.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ArtistGNDphotography/iStockBy JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Black Friday 2020 is upon us, and several retailers have already started rolling out huge deals and steals.

Big box retailers such as Walmart and Target started releasing deep discounts on products earlier this month, and many other stores are planning to extend sales past Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Like everything else this year, Black Friday will look different, and mad rush doorbusters will most likely become a thing of the past. Alternatively, more people are expected to shop online and ditch traditional in-store frenzy.

Online sales are expected to jump by 49.5%, while in-store shopping is expected to fall 4.7%, according to eMarketer.

If you are ready to get a jump start on holiday shopping for you or your loved ones, there are lots of promotions from Wayfair, Lululemon and more mass retailers that you can shop now.

ABC News’ Becky Worley appeared on Good Morning America Friday to break down some of the best deals that have gone live online:

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Halfpoint/iStockBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- During the holiday season, people typically look to schools, churches, grocery stores and other community events to donate food to those in need.

But ahead of Thanksgiving, food banks are swamped with increased demand due to the continued fallout from the pandemic with millions unemployed and a greater amount of food-insecure individuals and families in need.

The nationwide hunger relief charity Feeding America predicted that one in six Americans -- around 54 million people -- will experience food insecurity amid the ongoing public health crisis. The organization reported that 80% of food banks are serving more people than they were the same time last year.

For people looking to help with the nonprofit's network of 200 food banks, there are new alternatives to lend a hand for food drives this holiday season.

Host a virtual food drive

Don't worry about leaving the house to lug canned and boxed goods to a collection box. This option is perfect for anyone hosting a holiday gathering online this year.

Feeding America has the option to set up an online fundraising page with a local food bank, and the creator can simply ask friends and family to contribute.

Once donations are completed, every donor receives a receipt, and funds go directly toward food banks.

The virtual option helps alleviate what traditional food drives would cost. Plus, with COVID-19 restrictions, some food banks may not accept food donations from the community due to safety concerns.

The organization suggests including the fundraiser link and information in the invitation of your virtual gathering.

"This is a simple way to let everyone know that you're doing something really special this year. Even if your guests can’t join, it allows them to give back," Feeding America wrote in a blog post.

Check out the online toolkit that shares advice and social posts for setting up fundraisers with Feeding America.

Donate Thanksgiving food to a local food bank

Locate a local food bank, and check their drop-off information, operation hours and busiest hours.

Some areas may not accept food donations or may have specific requests, so follow local food bank guidance on what is needed most this holiday.

With higher demand around the holidays, food banks will look for the following healthy, non-perishable foods:

  • Boxed stuffing
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Canned vegetables
  • Dry macaroni
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Canned pumpkin

For more information or to locate your local food bank, click here.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Some 778,000 workers lost their jobs and filed for unemployment insurance last week, the Department of Labor said Wednesday.

This is an uptick of 30,000 compared to the previous week, and the second consecutive week that the weekly tally has risen after it was on the decline for months.

The DOL also said Wednesday that more than 20 million people were still receiving some form of unemployment benefits through all programs as of the week ending Nov. 7. For the comparable week in 2019, that figure was 1.5 million.

The latest economic data from the DOL comes as new virus cases surge across the country, and highlight a slow economic recovery. It also comes, however, as Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a new milestone of trading above 30,000 on Tuesday -- a further indication that the stock market remains divorced from the economic pain millions of Americans still face as the coronavirus crisis rages on.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


robynmac/iStockBy THE GMA TEAM, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Nearly one million Crock-Pot Multi-Cookers are being recalled due to a potential burn hazard, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The voluntary recall of Sunbeam Products' Crock-Pot 6-Quart Express Crock Multi-Cookers comes as millions of Americans are preparing for holiday cooking, starting Thursday with Thanksgiving.

The recall is due to reports of a malfunction causing the multi-cooker to be able to pressurize when the lid is not fully locked, resulting in a potential burn hazard.

Sunbeam, a Florida-based company, has received 119 reports of lid detachment, resulting in 99 burn injuries ranging in severity from first-degree to third-degree burns, according to the CPSC.

Consumers with Sunbeam Crock-Pot 6-Quart Express Crock Multi-Cookers are urged to contact the company immediately to obtain a free replacement lid. In the meantime, the product can still be used for slow cooking and sautéing but should not be used in pressure cooker mode.

The multi-cookers under the recall were sold at retail stores including Walmart and Target and online at Amazon and other online retailers from July 2017 through November 2020, according to the CPSC.

About 914,430 of the devices are being recalled in the U.S.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Courtesy Kazi MannanBy DEVIN DWYER and SARAH HERNDON, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- In the heart of Washington's big-money lobbying and law firm district, restaurateur Kazi Mannan has been serving up kebabs and curries to the rich and the poor for nearly a decade.

"These are my mom's recipes that we use because we named it after her and we want to honor her with her recipes, the way she used to cook," said Mannan, a first-generation Pakistani immigrant who owns Sakina Halal Grill, just a few blocks from the White House.

Since he opened his restaurant in 2013, Mannan has been quietly seating and feeding thousands of homeless and hungry just like paying customers, inviting them in for a meal without fanfare or attention, no questions asked.

"Don't worry about it. Just have a seat. Enjoy longer," he said of his message. "The idea to feed from a restaurant doesn't exist because people are scared. Letting poor people come in -- (some say), 'it will ruin your business.' But it's the opposite for me."

In over seven years of serving the community, Mannan says he never had to call the police for help.

"Those people who always have trouble outside, but coming here ... they see the love and kindness we share," he said.

There's a strict, no-judgement policy is in full force, he tells his staff.

When COVID-19 hit the restaurant industry hard this spring, the steep decline in business nearly made Kazi go hungry too. As profits evaporated, he laid off a dozen from his staff, cut the free meals and contemplated having to close for good.

Then, a global community rallied to the rescue, inspired by his story, which was first shared widely by ABC affiliate WJLA-TV.

More than 6,500 donors -- many not known personally to Mannan -- have chipped in a quarter million dollars to a GoFundMe campaign he started this month to try to stay afloat. The unexpected outpouring has humbled and empowered him to give even more.

"This is a symbol of love and people didn't want this symbol to go away in ashes because (if) the restaurant is gone, my story ends," he said.

His story as a small business owner in America began with a simple lesson from his late mother, Sakina, the restaurant namesake, who modeled hospitality during his childhood in a rural Pakistani village.

"She will always prepare some meals and she will always prepare extra to give it to the neighbor, go give it to this person or give to that person," Mannan said.

Her outreach to complete strangers helped open his eyes to the homeless Americans he says many pass blindly on the streets of D.C. -- more than 6,300 now homeless in the nation's capitol this year, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

They are among the more than half a million now homeless nationwide, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, a number that has spiked during the pandemic and added to the ranks of the hungry.

"Some people have mental issues, health issues. We were patient with them and they were patient with us. So it was a relationship," Mannan said. "As a child, you don't understand giving. But (Sakina) knew that giving brings joy to her. And that's what I feel every single day."

As business starts to slowly bounce back, Mannan is celebrating the return of more customers, especially the ones who need help the most.

"Pure hearts doing kind things will always touch other people's hearts," Mannan says of his mantra.

It's a circle of generosity, propelled by faith in kindness, as Mannan hopes others this Thanksgiving season choose to show gratitude -- by giving.

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(NEW YORK) -- You can have the sweet smell of doughnuts and freshly brewed coffee fill your home without any cooking required.

Dunkin' teamed up with home fragrance and lifestyle brand Homesick to bring back its limited-edition candles inspired by two of the coffee chain's popular menu items.

The Original Blend candle combines the scent of Dunkin's original blend coffee and cream, while the Old Fashioned candle offers a sweet but subtle scent of traditional warm spices from an old-fashioned doughnut.

The limited-edition candle collaboration, which is available online for $34, was designed to tap into the power of scent to bring moments of nostalgia for coffee and doughnut lovers, especially during a time when catching up over a cup of coffee has largely gone virtual.

To make the jar candles extra special, customers can add a personalized message, such as their name, a holiday message or even a favorite Dunkin’ order, for an additional $15.

Each hand-poured candle comes in packaging with bold, vibrant prints and the iconic Dunkin' pink and orange colors. The soy wax blend offers a 60- to 80-hour burn time.

Lauren Lamagna, the director of product development and merchandising at Homesick, said the company is "excited to team up with Dunkin’ again to offer this meaningful gift for the holiday season."

“In a year when everyone could use a little more cheer, Dunkin’ coffee and donuts and Homesick candles have both played a role in bringing people moments of comfort and joy. Our fans are as unique as their coffee orders, and we wanted to bring back our collaboration with the fun new twist of personalization,” Justin Unger, the director of strategic partnerships at Dunkin’ Brands, said in a statement. "After last year’s response, it was an easy decision to team up with Homesick again to bring back those fan-favorite fragrances and allow people nationwide to experience Dunkin’ at home."

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