IN BRIEF

Nevada jobless rate much higher, federal agency says

A federal agency on Friday made official a fact that most Nevadans already know: The Silver State’s actual unemployment rate is far higher than the monthly stated rate.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Nevada’s U-6 jobless rate, which includes discouraged workers who’ve quit job-hunting and part-timers who’d rather work full time, averaged 22.3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2009 to the third quarter of 2010.

That compares with the state Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation’s official rate of 14.4 percent statewide in September.

Nationally, the officially stated unemployment rate was 9.6 percent in September, while the U-6 rate averaged 16.8 percent through the third quarter.

The federal bureau and the state employment department both collect monthly unemployment statistics from household and business surveys. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also uses surveys in its tabulation of the U-6 rate, but it publishes the data just once per quarter.

Nevada’s U-6 rate led the nation in the quarter. California came in a close second, with a U-6 rate of 22.1 percent.

The bureau didn’t offer figures on the U-6 rate in Las Vegas, but official unemployment in the city is higher than the statewide level, at 15 percent.

SEATTLE

Makers of LCD televisions
warn that demand is dropping

Companies that make huge flat-screen televisions and their liquid crystal display panel components are alerting investors that demand is dropping in the U.S. and other developed markets.

The forecasts trickled out as Asian electronics manufacturers reported earnings for the most recent fiscal quarter.

On Thursday, Sharp Corp. of Japan slashed its earnings forecast for the fiscal year, which ends in March, saying it had to adjust its production of LCD panels in the most recent quarter to respond to a sharp decline in demand for the large-size panels.

Also Thursday, South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc. said strong sales of LCD TVs, particularly in emerging markets, helped push its home entertainment segment revenue up 9 percent — but its operating income sank by about 52 percent. The company said it expects price erosion in its TV business will eat into earnings in the fourth quarter.

Sony Corp. of Japan reported Friday that LCD TV prices fell in the quarter that ended in September. The company cut its operating income forecast for the segment that sells the flat-screen televisions, citing deterioration in the North American market.

South Korea-based Samsung Electronics Co. said Friday it also expects prices for LCD panels to decline.

NEW YORK

Barnes & Noble changing shareholder rights plan

Bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc. appears to have bowed to shareholder pressure and is changing its shareholder rights plan to limit further stakes by Chairman Leonard Riggio and his family, the company said Wednesday.

Shareholders are set to vote on the so-called “poison pill” plan, which limits stakes to 20 percent, on Nov. 17.

The plan was implemented after billionaire activist investor Ron Burkle acquired a 19 percent stake in the company.

He has complained the plan gives an unfair advantage to Chairman Leonard Riggio, who has a nearly 30 percent stake in the company, and his brother, Vice Chairman Steven Riggio. Burkle waged and lost a proxy battle about the issue.

Under the amended plan, the board will not be able to make any additional equity grants to either Riggio, their immediate family members and related trusts without triggering the plan.

WASHINGTON

Proposal has utilities at odds with green-power companies

A federal proposal that may improve prospects for a $5 billion undersea wind-power grid backed by Google is sparking a fight between utilities and companies developing renewable energy.

The regulation drafted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is aimed at spreading costs for transporting alternative power. Utilities say that may be a bad deal for their customers. The head of the regulatory agency says it would help make wind and solar energy competitive with coal and natural gas.

“Ultimately we have to get transmission built to move those clean-energy resources to the people,” FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said in a phone interview. Energy from the wind and sun must be transported from the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the plains of the Dakotas and the deserts of the Southwest to cities and suburbs where the power is needed, he said.

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