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Worker productivity goes up 2.2 percent

WASHINGTON — U.S. companies got more output from their workers this spring than initially thought. Productivity rose at a modest 2.2 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, largely because employers cut back sharply on hiring.

Most economists expect productivity will slow later this year, a trend that could boost hiring.

The Labor Department had estimated a 1.6 percent gain in the second quarter.

Homes spend less time on the market

LOS ANGELES — U.S. homes are taking less time to sell than a year ago, reflecting more homebuyer demand and fewer bank-owned homes.

The National Associa-tion of Realtors said Wed-nesday that the median time a previously occupied home was listed for sale shrank in July to 69 days. That’s down from 98 days in the same month last year.

One-third of the homes purchased in July were on the market for less than a month, while one in five was on the market for at least six months.

In other news

PRIVATE EQUITY FUNDS that control Solyndra LLC could reap more than $340 million in tax breaks after the failed solar power company emerges from bankruptcy. Solyndra’s net operating loss is estimated at $875 million to $975 million. If Argonaut Ventures I LLC and Madrone Partners LP generate an equal amount of income, they could use those losses to cut their federal income tax bills by up to $341 million.

– Associated Press


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Goat project looking good

In just more than a week since nine goats were assigned to eat overgrown vegetation at an Augusta detention pond, officials and area residents are already noticing a difference.
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