Friday morning headlines

U.S. employment: Just 51,000 jobs were added in September, the fewest in almost a year, while the national unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent - offering a mixed picture of the nation's jobs climate. The market is down on the news.

Times news: I've seen wars get less coverage. Everyone has gotten into the act (see LAO for a roundup) and have said more or less the same thing. One nugget noted in the LAT profile was new publisher David Hiller's meeting with community leaders at an L.A. County Economic Development Corp. meeting in Century City. It's a good bet that several members of the Gang of 20 - those folks who urged Tribune to add resources at the paper - were in attendance. Most important quote is from Tribune Publishing President Scott Smith. He tells the LAT that "there is both strategic value and a financial value in the Times being part of Tribune." That would seem to signal what many of us have been saying for a while - that Tribune has no intention of jettisoning its most important resource, not to Geffen or Broad or to anyone.

Greenspan ink: Considerable attention being given to claims by MySpace founder Brad Greenspan that News Corp. didn't pay nearly enough for the social network site. He's making all kinds of charges about "one of the largest merger and acquisition scandals in U.S. history." Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. bought Intermix (the company that had MySpace) for $580 million, which is $80 million more than what Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone said it had been going for when his guys were sniffing around. These days, the value of MySpace is being pegged at $1 billion and up. News Corp says Greenspan's rants are sour grapes. Already, there have been a bunch of shareholder lawsuits, but suing a company after it's been acquired is often a losing proposition. BW has a story, as does LAT.

Speaking of MySpace: Never mind the Greenspan stuff. The really interesting news is that half of MySpace users are 35 and older, according to comScore Media Metrix's analysis of its U.S. Internet traffic measurements. Only 30 percent are younger than 25, despite a common belief that the site is mostly populated with children and young adults. Teens younger than 18 made up just 12 percent of users.

Tower update: No word yet on the winning bidder, though the Sacramento Bee reports that only two of the remaining bidders want to keep the retail chain a going concern. Those are Orchard Capital Corp., an L.A. investment firm, and Trans World Entertainment Corp., an East Coast music store chain.

Coliseum dilemma: LAT NFL writer Sam Farmer suggests that the Coliseum Commission's implied threat to seek other alternatives for the venue besides housing an NFL franchise could provide an opportunity for Dodgers owner Frank McCourt at Chavez Ravine. I'm sure that one will go over well.

Stop! Breaking News!: Just kidding - it's just the Auto Club's weekly gasoline survey - and yes, pump prices are down yet again (though not by as much as past weeks). The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $2.679, which is 2.5 cents lower than last week, 40 cents lower than last month and 29 cents lower than last year. Meanwhile, OPEC's president is trying to broker a deal that would cut production and probably jack up prices, so enjoy this while you can.

Mall opens: The Daily News has been offering a LOT of news space to the renovated Westfield Topanga mall, which formally opens today. Westfield's PR department couldn't have done better than today's headline: "Renovated center has store for every budget." Actually, there was a thread of an interesting story there - the mix of retailers that include the low-end (Target and Sears) and high-end (Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus).

TV on DVD: Sales of television shows on DVD, including current hits like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Lost," are up by a lot this year. That's right, people are willing to spend good money on programs that they could tape or TiVo. Whatever. It could help revive what's been a mostly flat to down DVD sector.

El $egundo: It's named L.A. County's most business friendly city by the Economic Development Corp. The home of Mattel and several Boeing divisions beat out Burbank, Lancaster, Long Beach and Santa Clarita with its highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the county, low tax rates, quick business license processing time, and proximity to LAX and freeways. The award was given out at the event the new LAT publisher attended.

More by Mark Lacter:
American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
Socal housing market going nowhere fast
Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
How does Stanford compete with the big boys?
Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
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Siri versus Hawaiian pidgin (video)
Letter from Down Under: Welcome to the Homogenocene
One last Florida photo
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'I Am Woman,' hear them roar

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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