Mid-day Update

PODCAST: Retail reports mixed, Apple employee has trouble holding onto prototype

Mary Dooe Sep 1, 2011

Here are today’s top headlines from the Marketplace Morning Report and from around the web.

The number of people last week, who filed for unemployment benefits for the first time fell by 12,000. But is still above that 400,000 level, which means the job market’s very very sluggish right now.

Throughout the day today, we’ll get a good look at August auto sales. We already have some Japanese numbers, and they’re not good. Honda sales were down 49 percent. Toyota and Nissan also had sales drops.

We’re gonna get a slew of retail sales numbers today. Already we’ve heard from discount retailer Target, which said revenue at stores open at least a year jumped by more than 4 percent. That was better than analysts expected.

We got some data this morning that shows the first dip in European manufacturing activity in almost 2 years.

Worker productivity fell this spring at a faster pace than previously estimated, while at the same time labor costs were rising at a faster clip. Both developments could pose threats to an already fragile economic recovery.

You’d think Apple employees would’ve learned to just leave the iPhone prototype at the office. Last year a group of workers reportedly went out to a Silicon Valley bar and left a prototype iPhone 4 behind. Well CNET reports there was a frantic effort just a month ago to find a special iPhone 5 that was left in a San Francisco Tequila Lounge. The owner of the lounge says he remembers a man calling repeatedly about leaving his phone there. He tells CNET, “I guess I have to make my drinks a little less strong.”

To what seems to be a new trend for companies trying to get something from governments. Yesterday, efore the story broke that the Justice Department has some anti-trust issues with the AT&T-T-Mobile deal, there was a plea from AT&T: if you let this deal go through, we’ll bring 5,000 call center jobs to the US. Well, in this morning’s LA Times, there’s a similar plea from Amazon, which wants to avoid collecting sales tax in California. Amazon is offering to hire 7,000 workers if it can avoid the taxes. Well while we’re at it: I promise to hire 10,000 workers if I don’t have to pay taxes either. But first, give me the tax breaks, and then I’ll hire the workers. Promise.

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