Stocks slowing down: Big jump this morning after jobs report, but the Dow is falling back. Index is up about 60 points at last check.
Parsing employment report: The economy lost 54,000 jobs in August, but mostly because census workers continued to be phased out. The private sector added 67,000 jobs, and June and July numbers were revised up (see previous post).
Obama considers payroll holiday: Desperate for answers just a couple of months before the mid-terms, the White House is considering a package of business tax breaks to spur hiring. From the Washington Post:
If administration officials can agree on a policy path, it is not clear that it would be approved in the current environment on Capitol Hill. And even if Congress did approve new measures to bolster the economy, they would probably come too late to make a difference in the lives of recession-weary voters before the midterms. "Substantively, there is nothing they could do between now and Election Day that would have any measurable effect on the economy. Nothing," said the Brookings Institution's William Galston, who was a domestic-policy adviser to President Bill Clinton.
Employees face higher health care costs: More companies are passing along premium increases to their workers, according to a new report. From the NYT:
Workers' share of the cost of a family policy jumped an average of 14 percent, an increase of about $500 a year. The cost of a policy rose just 3 percent, to an average of $13,770. Workers are now paying nearly $4,000 for family coverage, according to the survey, and their costs have increased much faster than those of employers. Since 2005, while wages have increased just 18 percent, workers' contributions to premiums have jumped 47 percent, almost twice as fast as the rise in the policy's overall cost.
Bernanke fesses up: The chairman of the Federal Reserve says he failed to recognize the flaws in the financial system that made the real estate meltdown far worse than expected. (NYT)
Demand for food at critical level: The county's pantries and charitable agencies have seen a 44 percent increase over the past two years. All told, 1.6 million people in the county need help putting food on the table. From the Pasadena-Star-News:
"Hundreds of thousands of families in Los Angeles County, including many families who never imagined they would need food assistance, are either suffering from hunger or at risk of going hungry," said Michael Flood, president and CEO of the regional Foodbank. "We're distributing more food to local pantries than ever before, yet it's still not enough to keep pace with the growing need in the community."
State property values dip: The 1.8 percent drop marks the second year in a row that California property values have declined. (LAT)
Gas prices still falling: Just in time for the holiday weekend - an average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $3.041, about a nickel lower than last week, says the Auto Club.
Miramax deal on track: An investor group led by billionaire Ron Tutor and L.A.-based Colony Capital says that its purchase of the movie production house to will close by the end of the year as planned. (Bloomberg)