The U.S. Labor Department releases its monthly jobs report Friday, but other key job indicators give us a sense of what to expect. Job placement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas released a report today saying planned layoffs at U.S. firms rose last month to the highest level in almost a year. But figures from ADP Employers Services predict U.S. employment increased by 217,000 in January.

The federal government is considering a policy change to encourage banks to reduce the number of risky mortgages that get approved. Regulators could encourage banks to require a 20 percent down-payment on home loans.

California lawmaker William Monning is proposing a penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages like sodas and sports drinks. This new "sin-tax" could hit lower-income households hardest. Bob Moon speaks with LA Times consumer columnist David Lazarus about the numbers.