Stocks still jittery: Unexpected increase in jobless claims didn't help. Dow is down about 45 points.
Jobless claims back up: Filings for unemployment benefits rose 27,000, to 412,000, while the more reliable four-week moving average rose 5,500 to 395,750. These numbers tend to be volatile, but today's increase was unexpectedly high. (Reuters)
Big drop in L.A. foreclosures: First-quarter filings were down 24 percent compared with a year earlier, according to RealtyTrac. That's one foreclosure per 98 households, which places L.A. 27th highest among the metro areas surveyed. RealtyTrac expects a pickup in filings later this year.
California holding back the recovery?: Chapman University economist Esmael Adibi estimates that the state may create as few as 130,000 jobs this year, well below the 200,000 that its normal share of employment growth would dictate. (Bloomberg)
Feds order banks to fix foreclosure flaws: Lenders must, among other things, designate a single person that distressed borrowers can contact at the institution (being bounced around has been a frequent source of frustration). Consumer advocates say the changes don't go far enough. From the LAT:
"These consent orders are worse than doing nothing," said Alys Cohen, staff attorney for the National Consumer Law Center. "They set the bar so low on some things and they give the banks carte blanche on others. And they give the appearance of doing something while giving banks control of the process." But the regulators said the changes agreed to by banks and other major home-loan servicers would address frequent complaints about understaffed and undertrained foreclosure operations as well as shortcuts taken at the expense of consumers.
House votes on budget deal: Lots of opposition among Republicans (and some Democrats) about the compromise, which apparently doesn't cut nearly as much as first thought. From the NYT:
The resistance to the spending measure came after reviews of the proposal found that some significant cuts, including some involving health care, are not expected to produce real savings. This is because the money was not likely to be spent for years though it can be counted as a current reduction under budget rules. According to a Congressional Budget Office comparison, the bill would produce only $350 million in tangible savings this year, partly because cuts in domestic programs were offset by an increase of about $5 billion for Pentagon programs.
What city is Villaraigosa talking about?: His State of the City address made it seem as if L.A.'s budget troubles are pretty much over, a notion that troubled several city officials. From the Daily News:
City Controller Wendy Greuel said she was not as optimistic about the economic rebound as the mayor. "Everything I see shows that we are still facing hard times. This is not the time to be celebrating a comeback," Greuel said. She added that while education is important for the whole city, "I am not sure it is something (the city) can take on at this time."
Dodgers end half-price beer days: The promotion was set to begin April 21, but after the brutal parking lot beating the club was under pressure to cancel the promotion. (bizofbaseball)
Kings owners prepared relocation request: They'll be making their pitch this morning at an NBA board of governors meeting. Also on hand will be Lakers owner Jerry Buss, who is expected to argue against the move from Sacramento to Anaheim. (Sacramento Bee)