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BUSINESS
February 25, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
Consumer confidence rose in February for the sixth straight month, according to a leading barometer, with 29% of the respondents saying they expected the unemployment rate to go down. The percentage of people expressing optimism about the job market was the highest since 2004, according to data released Friday by the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers. The consumer sentiment index rose to 75.3 in February, up 0.4% from the previous month. But despite the more upbeat perspective, Americans reported that their personal finances were still in rough shape.
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BUSINESS
October 16, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Consumers did a better job making on-time payments for mortgages and credit cards last month than at any point since the end of the Great Recession. A leading index of defaults on consumer loans fell in September for the ninth straight month, hitting its lowest level since 2009. Defaults in four of the five loan categories tracked by the S&P Dow Jones Indices and credit reporting company Experian also dropped to their lowest level 2009, the companies said Tuesday.
NEWS
August 8, 2012 | By Betty Hallock
COFFEE COSTS The average monthly price for a pound of coffee fell 24% in July from a year earlier. But the price drop won't trickle down to customers until next year. [U.S. News] SPLASH LAB Watch an IBC root beer bottle shatter to bits through the power of tiny bubbles in a video produced by the Brigham Young University Splash Lab. [Bon Appetit] OVEN TEMP FALLACIES Think your oven is at 350 degrees when you set the dial to 350? Nope. It's anywhere between 330 and 370 degrees -- by design -- and that's if it's well calibrated.
BUSINESS
April 15, 2012 | By Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times
Californians are still struggling to get straight answers about the cost of common medical procedures despite state efforts aimed at lifting the veil on medical pricing. As consumers shoulder a larger share of their healthcare costs, the ability to comparison shop is key to keeping that care affordable. Medical costs borne by U.S. employees have more than doubled since 2002 to more than $8,000 a year, while the median household income has dropped 4%. Under a state law that took effect in 2006, hospitals must publish their average charges for the most common procedures on a state website.
BUSINESS
July 2, 2013 | By Andrea Chang
Consumers often turn to the Internet to research a product before buying. Fake reviews are always a concern, and the problem may be bigger than previously thought. There have long been reports and rumors of businesses posting negative reviews of their competitors' products or companies that pay or reward users to write glowing reviews (known as cyber-shilling). But new research shows that loyal customers are writing extremely negative reviews about products they never purchased.
BUSINESS
November 23, 2012 | By Walter Hamilton and Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times
As you pack into the mall today with hordes of other Black Friday shoppers, think of it as an act of economic patriotism. With your shopping bags full of holiday gifts, you'll once again be playing a central role in the U.S. economy. After retrenching in the early days of the recovery, consumers are reasserting themselves as the key driver of U.S. economic growth. And that's coming at an opportune time, given that other economic propellants such as manufacturing and exports have slowed.
BUSINESS
December 17, 2010 | By Sandra M. Jones
Early this fall, James Reinhart noticed something odd happening at ThredUp, the children's clothing swap site the Harvard Business School graduate and his buddies dreamed up a year ago. Swappers started using the online exchange to trade toys. As the volume of toy trading increased, ThredUp decided there was enough demand to expand its service. The San Francisco start-up officially launched its toy exchange site Dec. 6, just as holiday shopping shifted into full gear. The turn of events at ThredUp signals how dramatically shopping is changing in the wake of the Great Recession.
BUSINESS
December 19, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
Trinkel De La Paz, 24, loves this holiday's deep discounts because they're enabling her to be a more generous Santa. To herself, that is. The Silver Lake graphic designer bought herself an iPad mini and some clothes discounted on Cyber Monday, and she's not done. De La Paz said she feels free to splurge on herself because she has extra money from a recently landed job, a new apartment waiting to be spruced up and only one present to buy for her family's Secret Santa exchange.
BUSINESS
February 11, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- About one in 20 consumers had significant errors on their credit reports that could cause them to pay more for auto loans and other financial products, according to a Federal Trade Commission report released Monday. The study also found that about 26% of the approximately 200 million people covered by the U.S. credit reporting industry had at least one "potentially material error" on one of their three credit reports. And four out of five people who took steps to fix errors with one of the three major credit reporting companies -- Experian Information Solutions Inc., Equifax Inc. and TransUnion -- got their credit report changed.
BUSINESS
March 20, 2013 | By Salvador Rodriguez
A new poll says 46% of consumers surveyed would not spend more than $500 for Google's smartphone-like eyewear -- early versions of which the company is selling for $1,500. Nearly a quarter said they would not spend more than $1,000 for the glasses. Only 6% of respondents said they would spend whatever it takes to buy the device. Despite consumers reluctance to spend $1,500 for the glasses, interest in the product is fairly strong, according to the survey, which found that 61% of respondents would buy it if it was priced right.
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