Stocks open lower: Sagging doubts about the economy. Dow is down 60 points.
Uneven recovery: Three years after the recession more than 70 percent of the service jobs have returned - but only 15 percent of manufacturing and construction positions, reports USA Today.
"You have winners and losers, and the contrasts are sharper because of the severity of the recession," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. Overall, the government's latest estimates show that the nation has regained about 3.8 million, or 44%, of the 8.8 million jobs lost in the downturn, which officially began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. Many economists say those jobs won't all be back until 2015 or later.
Economists less bullish: Four in 10 say the economy will grow 2 percent or less over the next year, according to a survey by the National Association for Business Economics. Three months ago, only 23 percent projected such slight growth. From AP:
"The survey results suggest worsening economic conditions," said Nayantara Hensel, a business professor at National Defense University who analyzed the results for NABE. "The rising sales and profit margins experienced earlier in the year may have been short-lived."
Drop in retail sales: June marked the third straight monthly decline. Many analysts had expected an increase. (Reuters)
Gas inching higher: But L.A. prices remain on the low side - an average gallon of regular is $3.731, according to the Auto Club, up about three cents from a week ago.
Will more cities consider bankruptcy?: San Bernardino's unexpected move towards Chapter 9 protection is leading to speculation about other governments. From the SF Chronicle:
An additional eight California cities, including Fairfield, which declared a fiscal emergency in April, have officially notified the municipal bond market this year that they are facing significant financial hardship, according to Matt Fabian, managing director of Municipal Market Advisors, which conducts independent research on the municipal bond industry. The notifications don't necessarily mean these cities are headed for bankruptcy court, but they do signal real adversity. Along with Fairfield, the other cities include Arvin (Kern County), El Monte (Los Angeles County), Grover Beach (San Luis Obispo County), Lancaster (Los Angeles County), Monrovia (Los Angeles County), Riverbank (Stanislaus County) and Tehachapi (Kern County).
Broad affirms interest in LAT: With parent company Tribune Co. on the verge of emerging from bankruptcy protection, the billionaire philanthropist would like to be among a number of wealthy families or foundations that could acquire the Times. From the WSJ:
In a note to staff late Friday, [LAT publisher Eddy] Hartenstein said "between now and our emergence from Chapter 11, there is likely to be some speculation about Tribune's future. Try to ignore it as much as possible." The fate of Tribune's assets is in the hands of senior creditors. Three big creditors--J.P. Morgan Chase JPM -2.16% & Co., Oaktree Capital Management and Angelo, Gordon & Co.--will become Tribune's new owners and select six directors and a new chief executive to sit on the media company's new board. The process is underway and could take shape in coming weeks, said people familiar with the plans.
Racial bias alleged at Wet Seal: Lawsuit claims that the OC-based retailer had a high-level policy of firing and denying pay increases and promotions to African-American employees. Wet Seal denies the charges. From the NYT:
The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Santa Ana, Calif., includes a copy of a March 2009 e-mail sent by the company's then senior vice president for store operations to lower-level managers after she had inspected several stores. The email said, "African American dominate -- huge issue." One plaintiff, Nicole Cogdell, the African-American former manager of a Wet Seal store in King of Prussia, Pa., said the company terminated her the day after that e-mail was sent. She said that she had heard the senior vice president, Barbara Bachman, tell a district manager that she wanted someone with "blond hair and blue eyes."
Box office recap: "Ice Age: Continental Drift," the fourth installment of the popular animated series, landed in the top spot, with $46 million in its opening weekend. "The Amazing Spider-Man" fell into second place, at $35 million. (THR)
Geffen snaps up NY pad: The L.A. media mogul is buying socialite Denise Rich's 12,000-square-foot penthouse apartment for $54 million, the NY Post is reporting. Rich had been asking $65 million.