Labor figures raise inflation concerns
By TIMES WIRES
Published August 9, 2006
The efficiency of American workers slowed sharply in the spring while a key gauge of labor costs rose at the fastest rate since late 2004.
The Labor Department reported that productivity - the amount of output per hour of work - slowed to an annual rate of increase of 1.1 percent in the April-June quarter, down from a 4.3 percent rate of increase in the first three months of the year.
Labor costs, as measured by each unit of output, rose at an annual rate of 4.2 percent in the spring, the fastest increase since the final three months of 2004 and up sharply from a 2.5 percent rate of increase in the first three months of this year.
Economists said the slowdown in productivity growth and the acceleration in labor costs was certain to raise concerns at the Federal Reserve about the potential for rising inflation.
Productivity is the key factor determining rising living standards. Strong growth in output allows businesses to pay their workers more without having to raise the cost of their products, which fuels inflation.
State prescription drug Web site expands
Floridians can now find out the best prices on the 100 most commonly prescribed drugs and their generic equivalents, double the number they could check on before, on a state Web site run by Attorney General Charlie Crist's office.
The site, www.myfloridarx.com, can help consumers find the price of about 600 drugs in all, including all the generic versions and various dosage amounts, Crist said in a statement released Tuesday.
Bank Rate Monitor founder Heady dies at 77
Robert K. Heady, 77, the founder of Bank Rate Monitor, which went on to become North Palm Beach-based Bankrate Inc., died Friday (Aug. 4, 2006) at his home in Jupiter.
Mr. Heady started the company in 1982 after Congress deregulated interest rates on the belief that consumers would need help understanding rate information from financial institutions.
Pixar, too, shows stock option irregularities
Pixar Animation Studios granted stock options to key executives four times since 1997 on dates that coincided with the company's lowest stock price, company filings show.
The grants have not been questioned by federal regulators and the company has not said it is concerned about the accuracy of its financial records.