Jobless numbers: Somewhat tame employment report for January, with 111,000 jobs added to payrolls for the month (analysts had expected 150,000) and unemployment climbing to a still-reasonable 4.6 percent, a four-month high. The report also showed that workers saw slower wage growth in January. The stock market was up modestly in early trading. State and county numbers come out in a couple of weeks. AP
Billboard settlement: Get ready for the upgrade. More than 800 L.A. billboards will be eligible for second faces, digital fronts and movable slats under an agreement that's expected to be approved by a judge as early as today. In exchange for being allowed to modernize the signs, billboards companies will pay an annual inspection fee and take down 3 percent of their billboards. As you can imagine, not everybody is happy. "It's an aesthetic and environmental disaster," said Gerald Silver, co-founder of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight. "The city is going to look like Las Vegas at its worst." (Is there such a thing as Vegas at its best?) LAT
Settling emissions suit?: It's the litigation that former Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed against the nation's Big Six automakers that seeks billion of dollars in damages. The new attorney general, Jerry Brown, is making noises about a compromise, noting that Congressional action is a better way of getting the car companies to produce less-polluting vehicles (a notion that's likely to gain more traction in light of today's global warming report out of Paris). The automakers say that the suit lacks merit. LAT
Speaking of emissions: The Auto Club's weekly gas survey has pump prices bouncing back up in the past couple of days, indicating that the five-week downturn may be over. The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $2.488, which is 3.6 cents lower than last week, 14 cents lower than last month, and 10 cents lower than last year. Apparently, refiners are switching from the winter blend of gasoline to the summer blend, which is more expensive to make.
Malibu action: Courteney Cox and her husband, actor David Arquette, have put their beachfront Malibu home up for sale. Asking price: $33.5 million, more than three times what they paid for it in 2001. In case you're interested, it's four bedrooms, roughly 5,500 square feet and sitting on a half-acre lot that has 80 feet of beach frontage. Cox has bought and refurbished homes in Brentwood and Hollywood Hills. Also, Bev Hills plastic surgeon Frank Ryan has shelled out $1.5 million for an incomplete home next to his 17-acre Bony Pony Ranch, which brings in former gang members and inner-city children. The new home will be about 5,000 square feet and have five bedrooms. WSJ
Grand Avenue clears hurdle: As expected, the Community Redevelopment Agency has approved the $2.05 billion Grand Avenue makeover. Despite some concern that the project could require public subsidies of up to $210 million, proponents say it will bring in $31 million to the city, county and state. The project still needs to get past the Council and the County supes. Construction of the first phase is expected to start this year. Daily News
Satellite damage surveyed: An explosion about 1,400 miles south of Hawaii destroyed both the rocket and satellite of a Sea Launch Co. launch. Sea Launch is an international partnership based in Long Beach that's composed of Boeing Co., a Russian company, a Norwegian company and two Ukrainian sister companies. It sends up satellites from ocean platforms in the middle of nowhere. There's only been one other launch failure. Press-Telegram
The non-stop commercial: Try Spanish TV, where commercial breaks can last 15 minutes and contain 15 ads in a row. But where Spain truly reigns is product placement. Actually the European Union has a ban on product placement and a limit on commercials, but EU can't directly enforce policy, so it's pretty useless. From the WSJ:
Home-improvement show "Decogarden" had the most product placements in a Spanish show: 105 in the four, 45-minute episodes aired in just one month. The show's creator, celebrity chef Karlos Arguiņano, produces two other shows, packed with brand-name kitchen appliances and power tools. The sitcom "Los Serrano" ("The Serrano Family") once took a scene directly from a Coke ad, featuring a daughter telling her mother she's going to the library. Instead, she actually sneaks off to see her boyfriend, carrying a Coke. A few weeks after the ad ran, the sitcom featured the same scene, only this time with the show's characters, in return for a payment by Coke.