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January 10, 2014 | By Don Lee, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
WASHINGTON -- U.S. employers added a measly 74,000 new jobs last month, the government said Friday. That was the lowest jobs number in about three years and a major disappointment after a recent string of positive economic signs pointed to stronger growth. The weak hiring confounded most analysts' expectations for job growth of about 200,000, which was the monthly average of the prior three months. The construction sector, rather than resurging as some had predicted, shed a large 19,000 jobs to close out the year, although Labor Department officials said bad weather in parts of the country may have affected the payroll count.
January 5, 2014 | By Lisa Zamosky
After Dan Williamson unexpectedly landed in the hospital a year and a half ago and underwent heart surgery, his doctor told him that if he wanted to live a healthier life, he was going to have to lose weight. So the 58-year-old chief executive of Aspen Medical Products Inc., an Irvine company that makes therapeutic braces for the spine, vowed to change. "I made a commitment to lose the weight," he says. "Not just to drop it off, but to systematically lose it and keep it off. " He lost 45 pounds and now exercises four days a week, he says.
December 16, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
If there's been one inexorable trend coming out of the HR departments of major employers, it's been the steady erosion of worker pay and benefits. Razor-thin raises, defined benefit pensions replaced by 401(k) plans, shrinking healthcare--if you've been on a big company's payroll, you know the drill. Expect the trend to continue or even pick up steam, because employers have an ideal scapegoat right now: the Affordable Care Act. It looks like the blame-Obamacare game is having some effect.  According to an AP poll  released over the weekend, three-quarters of those with private or employer-based insurance think the Affordable Care Act is the reason for changes in their health coverage for 2014.
December 13, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court said Friday that it would decide whether employees who suffer big losses in retirement accounts can sue their company if it encouraged them to invest in the company's shaky stock. The justices will try to clarify who is legally responsible for investment losses in an era when most workers manage their own retirement accounts but do it through a plan sponsored by their employer. Federal law says that administrators of an employee retirement fund have a duty to act as "prudent" trustees.
December 7, 2013 | By Charles McNulty, Theater Critic
These days it seems as though every time I turn around there's another installment of the Peter Pan story. Next stop for that flighty green-garbed spotlight-chaser: his own reality TV series, "The Real Lost Boys of Neverland," followed by a special edition of "Celebrity Rehab" for perennial pubescents. In the meantime, there's "Peter and the Starcatcher" at the Ahmanson Theatre to satisfy our co-dependent need for the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. Try as I did to resist this touring Broadway production - story theater for adults about a character as overexposed as Kim Kardashian?
December 7, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON - A surprisingly robust gain in new jobs last month helped drop the unemployment rate to a five-year low, fueling optimism about the nation's economic recovery and raising the prospect that the government may finally start to ease a key stimulus effort this month. In its report Friday, the Labor Department said that the nation's employers added 203,000 non-farm jobs in November and that a large part of them were higher-paying positions. The unemployment rate fell to 7%, the lowest since November 2008.
December 2, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court will not reconsider the part of President Obama's healthcare law that requires employers to provide basic health insurance for their workers or pay a tax penalty. The justices on Monday dismissed an appeal brought by a conservative Christian college in Virginia that contended the “employer mandate” is unconstitutional. Last year, the court in a 5-4 decision upheld the “individual mandate,” deciding that people may be required to either obtain insurance or pay a tax penalty.
November 24, 2013 | By Teresa Watanabe
The savory smell of nutmeg and cinnamon wafts through the Azusa bakery, where dozens of workers in blue gloves and hairnets cook up L.A. Unified's newest star product. The "Glorious Morning" muffin is chewy and moist, packed with whole wheat, raisins and carrots - along with flaxseed for heart health and brain development. The muffin is good for children but also for the bakery's business. The Los Angeles Unified School District's order with Buena Vista Food Products Inc. to bake 4 million servings of muffins, coffeecake and corn bread every month has doubled the firm's business and created 100 jobs this year.
November 22, 2013 | By Rebecca Keegan
In the 1937 promotional film "How Walt Disney Cartoons Are Made," an announcer describes some of the intricate work going into the studio's first feature-length film, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," in a department called Inking and Painting. "Here, hundreds of pretty girls in a comfortable building all their own, well-lighted, air-conditioned throughout, cover the drawings with sheets of transparent celluloid," the announcer says, over images of white-gloved young women preparing male animators' drawings for the screen.
November 19, 2013 | By Don Lee
  WASHINGTON -- U.S. labor costs grew at a slightly more subdued pace in the third quarter, as employers continued to hold the line on payment to workers -- a trend that doesn't bode well for consumer spending. Overall, employer compensation costs, which include wages, salaries and benefits, rose a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in the July-September period compared with the second quarter, when those costs increased 0.5%, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Third-quarter labor costs were up 1.9% from a year earlier, unchanged from the prior four quarters and just a tick above the annual rate of increase in the core consumer price index in recent months.
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