Thursday morning headlines

Stocks edge higher: After five consecutive down days, the market is struggling to stay positive. Dow is up 10 points.

Second quarter really was a stinker: The economy grew at an anemic 1.3 percent, which is lower than the previous estimate of 1.7 percent. About half of the downward revision came from a decline in farm production. (AP)

Big drop in jobless claims: Weekly filings for unemployment benefits plunged 26,000 to 359,000, the lowest level of weekly applications in nine weeks. From AP:

Economists were mildly encouraged by the figures. Still, many still expect the government's employment report for September to show only modest job gains, perhaps about 100,000. That's about the same as in August. The September jobs report will be released next week.

Job growth underestimated: The government is raising total employment by about 386,000 for the year ended March 2012. That's an average of 32,000 additional jobs per month, which brings the average monthly job growth up to 194,000 from 162,000. (MarketWatch)

Mortgage rates hit record low: An average 30-year fixed fell to 3.40 percent. Could be that the Federal Reserve's stimulus efforts are beginning to have an effect. (AP)

NFL, refs have tentative deal: Pensions will remain in place for current officials through the 2016 season. New officials get a 401(k). From the NYT:

Early on Wednesday, they reached a compromise on the hiring of additional officials to create the so-called bench that the league wants to use to replace officials they believe are underperforming. The pension proved more complicated. Officials had hoped to retain a traditional pension while the league wanted to eliminate it in favor of a 401(k). The officials had offered a proposal to have current officials retain their pensions; new officials who are hired would be enrolled in a 401(k). That would allow the league to get rid of the pensions by attrition, as the existing officials retired.

AEG convention hall plan criticized: A group of architects advising Mayor Villaraigosa say that the proposal has many flaws, including having visitors enter the new hall through a dark, unsafe space. From the Daily News:

They believe this will so negatively impact Pico Boulevard and the Pico-Union neighborhood that an overhaul is required. "This is not good city design," Norman Millar, president of the Burbank-based Woodbury University School of Architecture, and one of the Vision Team members, said in an interview this week. "Plain and simple. It's a no-no." The Vision Team's recommendations, compiled in a formal report released this month, comes as the City Council is set to vote Friday on the project's environmental impact report - the crucial vote that will allow Anschutz Entertainment Group to move forward.

Tempur-Pedic buys Sealy: Mattress shoppers take note. Purchase price is $228.6 million. (DealBook)

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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
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