July 25, 2012 in Business

Local market slowly picks up

From Staff And Wire Reports
 

Spokane County’s unemployment rate stood at 8.8 percent in June.

That’s down from 9 percent in May and 9.2 percent in June 2011, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department.

The small decline in the jobless numbers reflect Eastern Washington’s slow economic growth, even as financial activity in the Seattle area has been gaining momentum, said Mark Berreth, regional labor economist.

There were 208,100 jobs in Spokane County, according to the June numbers. That’s 300 more than May and about 1,200 more than a year ago.

Stocks drop for third day

NEW YORK – A parade of grim economic news, from weak corporate earnings to a pullback at U.S. factories to spreading fault lines in Europe’s debt crisis, sent investors fleeing stocks for a third straight day on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 104.14 points, or 0.8 percent, to 12,617.32. It was the third triple-digit loss in a row for the blue chip index. The last time that happened was September, on fears that the U.S. was on the brink of another recession.

Lower earnings forecasts from corporate bellwethers like United Parcel Service combined with a weak report on manufacturing fed fears of more disappointing results from Corporate America in the coming days.

Netflix earnings plummet

SAN FRANCISCO – Netflix second-quarter earnings plunged 91 percent as it signed up fewer subscribers.

The financial deterioration reported Tuesday follows a rare loss for the video subscription service during the opening three months of the year.

Although earnings were better than analysts anticipated, disappointing subscriber growth and a muddied outlook for the rest of the year unnerved investors, who were already skeptical about Netflix prospects amid intensifying competition. Netflix shares shed 17 percent in extended trading Tuesday.

Phone sales drop helps AT&T

NEW YORK – AT&T Inc. on Tuesday posted the best profitability ever in its wireless arm, paradoxically because it sold fewer smartphones.

The largest telecommunications company in the U.S. said its subscribers are now holding on to their phones longer: The rate of upgrades to new phones was at a record low in the second quarter.

That’s good news for the company because it has to subsidize each smartphone by hundreds of dollars to sell it to customers for $99 or $199. iPhones, in particular, are expensive to sell, because Apple charges AT&T an average of around $650 for each one.

Goodyear tests soybean tires

AKRON, Ohio – Goodyear is testing tires made with soybean oil as it tries to cut its use of petroleum and extend tread life.

The Akron, Ohio, company said Tuesday that its researchers have found that the tread on tires made partially with soybean oil can last 10 percent longer than current tires. The soybean oil, which comes from a renewable resource, could cut Goodyear’s use of petroleum by up to 7 million gallons per year, the company said in a statement.

Goodyear said prototype tires built at the company’s Lawton, Okla., plant will be tested at proving grounds in Texas in the coming month. If tests are positive, the soy oil could be used to make tires by 2015.

Testing has shown that rubber compounds made with soybean oil blend better than petroleum with the silica used to build tires, Goodyear said.

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