Friday morning headlines

Stocks modestly higher: A better-than-expected employment report could be helping. Dow is up about 20 points.

U.S. adds 146,000 jobs: That's well above November forecasts. Plus, the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, down from 7.9 percent the previous month, but that's largely because more people gave up looking for work. From the NYT:

The report for November was relatively strong, economists said, and showed fewer effects from Hurricane Sandy that had been expected. In Friday's announcement, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the storm did "not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November." Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America of Merrill Lynch, said, "It's a pretty solid report. It's consistent with a slow recovery in the job market."

Consumer sentiment declines: The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index plunged to 74.5 in early December, the lowest level since August - and far below November's figure of 82.7. Could be due to concern about the fiscal cliff. (Reuters)

Plenty of work at ports: Many of the wages that were lost during the eight-day strike are being made up in the rush to unload cargo that had been stuck outside the port complex. From the Daily Breeze:

At the Port of Long Beach, spokesman Art Wong said crews worked through the night to move cargo. He said it is rare to have overnight workers at this time of the year - after most holiday goods have arrived in the United States - but terminal operators want to clear as much cargo as possible. "At this time of the year they might have cut back on the night shifts," Wong said. "They seem to be catching up a little faster than I thought they would." Mike Fox, chief executive of Fox Transportation in Rancho Cucamonga, said his drivers, who could not work during the strike, were working 24 hours a day.

Gas prices still tame: Drivers are paying about a dollar less per gallon than they were during the October spike. An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $3.741, according to the Auto Club, down about a nickel from last week.

Cops avoid layoffs: LAPD officials say they've come up with the $3 million needed to delay job cuts for another six months, thanks to higher-than-expected attrition rates. The layoffs were first proposed by Mayor Villaraigosa in his budget. (LAT)

Price cut on Bel-Air mansion: Bud and Betsy Knapp, former owners of Architectural Digest, are now asking $20 million for their 13,089-square-foot home, a drop of about 17 percent. The Knapps are moving to Colorado full-time. (WSJ)

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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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