Friday morning headlines

Stocks way higher: A stronger-than-expected jobs report is a big reason - the Dow is up 230 points.

Employment report: Bill McBride at Calculated Risk is not impressed with the July numbers, which he calls "fairly weak":

The economy has added 1.06 million jobs over the first seven months of the year (1.12 million private sector jobs). At this pace, the economy would add around 1.9 million private sector jobs in 2012; less than the 2.1 million added in 2011. Also, at this pace of payroll job growth, the unemployment rate will probably still be above 8% at the end of the year.

Gas prices moving higher: An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $3.853, according to the Auto Club, up 2.3 cents from last week. That's less than average prices in Chicago and NY, which is unusual.

Big boost for Toyota: Earnings were up sharply in the April-to-June quarter and the number of vehicles sold nearly doubled. From the NYT:

Though the strong yen continues to weigh on Japanese exporters' bottom lines, many other things are going right for Japanese automakers. Supply chains that were severed are now up and running, and manufacturers like Toyota and Honda are racing to meet pent-up demand and are fast regaining lost ground in profitable markets like the United States. Japanese government incentives on fuel-efficient cars have revived markets at home. Whether Japanese automakers can keep up the momentum after these tailwinds dissipate is another question, analysts said.

Space X, Boeing win NASA award: The two companies will share the bulk of as much as $1 billion to develop commercially-owned and operated vehicles intended to shuttle crews to and from the International Space Station. From the WSJ:

Promoting private spacecraft to take astronauts into orbit is the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's bid to keep down the costs of replacing NASA's space shuttle fleet, which was retired a year ago. Until U.S. manned spaceships start regular operations, expected around 2017, NASA would have to rely on Russian rockets and capsules to ferry astronauts into orbit. NASA is further along in setting up private cargo ships to service the space station and those trips could be in full swing next year.

Assessor probe expands: The case had focused on County Assessor John Noguez receiving campaign money from wealthy property owners whose tax bills were lowered, but prosecutors are going back to before Noguez was in office. From the LAT:

The appraiser, Scott Schenter, is suspected of engineering improper tax breaks for nearly a decade, according to documents obtained by The Times and interviews with former co-workers. Retired assessor's office supervisor Dale Edgington said he warned several of his superiors in 2009 that Schenter was inexplicably lowering the assessed values -- and by extension, property tax bills -- on dozens of properties in Marina del Rey, Torrance and Redondo Beach. There is no indication the department took any action against Schenter based on those allegations.

Low-cost insurance in California: It's the eighth least-expensive state for car insurance. Michigan was the most expensive. (OC Register)

American Airlines launches delivery service: For a fee, passengers can have luggage delivered to their home, office or hotel. One bag will cost $29.95. (LAT)

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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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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