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Significant Digits for Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. Today’s number is 1, the spot on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart that Mariah Carey’s classic holiday tune, “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” reached on Monday — 25 years after the song first debuted in 1994.

$2.77 an hour

Fashion Nova is an incredibly popular fast-fashion brand — producing inexpensive clothes, very quickly, that are promoted mostly on social media by influencers and celebrities (there’s a collection designed by Cardi B). But a multi-year investigation by the federal Labor Department found Fashion Nova clothing being made in factories in Los Angeles that paid illegally low wages. Sewers were reportedly paid as little as $2.77 per hour. And internal federal documents showed those factories owed workers $3.8 million in back wages. [New York Times]

$369 billion in returns

If you’re tempted to buy several items online with the intention of returning many of them, retailers have caught on, and they’re moving quickly to dissuade shoppers from the practice. Consumer returns in the United States ballooned to $369 billion in merchandise last year. That’s 10 percent of total retail sales. And many returned-but-then-unsold items go straight to landfills. Some companies are starting to charge fees for returns, only offering store credit and/or even blacklisting “repeat offenders.” [Bloomberg News]

18.16 percent over inflation

Thousands of high school students have just received college acceptance notices, but the cost of that education can vary wildly from one state to another. An analysis of private and public tuition data from a financial technology company found several years of reduced state funding in Montana resulted in tuition going up by 8.6 percent for the same five-year period. On-campus room and board also skyrocketed by 18.16 percent more than inflation, the highest increase in the country. [Yahoo Money]

25 percent of grievances

The Jacksonville Jaguars are in the news. (It may be the team’s most culturally relevant moment not having to do with “The Good Place.”) According to ESPN, an NFL arbiter has ruled that the team’s practice of fining players for missing medical and training sessions violated the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Those things are not allowed to be mandatory. The NFL players union (NFLPA) filed a grievance against the Jaguars, who docked one player — eventually revealed to be Dante Fowler Jr. — more than $700,000 in aggregate. The NFLPA letter also mentioned that more than 25 percent of the total grievances filed by NFL players have concerned Jacksonville, warning its members, “you as players may want to consider this when you have a chance to select your next club.” [ESPN]

86 assists

LeBron James and fellow Los Angeles Laker Anthony Davis are currently on track to be one the most prolific and successful player pairs in NBA history. According to my colleague Neil Paine, James has already dropped 86 assists to Davis this season, “the most by any player to a teammate in the NBA so far, according to data from Second Spectrum.” [FiveThirtyEight]

62 cars hit by projectiles

Driving on two stretches of highway in Monterey County, California, requires extra caution: 62 vehicles have been struck by projectiles this year so far, prompting the launch of a task force and investigation. Capt. Kyle Foster of the California Highway Patrol told the Los Angeles Times that the incidents “began to pick up in frequency in early October, and investigators think they are linked.” [Los Angeles Times]

SigDigs: Dec. 17, 2019