Economists view the recent numbers with skepticism. The government struggles to adjust the data to reflect temporary summertime layoffs in the auto industry, they note. And this year, many automakers skipped those typical shutdowns to keep up with demand. That led to fewer layoffs two weeks ago, which the Labor Department didn't anticipate.

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Google's 2Q earnings rise 11 percent, ad prices fall

Google's second-quarter earnings rose 11 percent despite a deepening decline in the prices paid for its Internet search advertising.

The results announced Thursday included for the first time Google's $12.5 billion acquisition of cellphone maker Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. Google Inc. owned Motorola for the last 39 days of the quarter ending in June.

Google Inc. earned $2.8 billion, or $8.42 per share, during the three months ending in June. That compared with net income of $2.5 billion, or $7.68 per share, last year.

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Microsoft reports first loss as public company

LOS ANGELES (AP) â¿¿ Microsoft said Thursday that an accounting adjustment to reflect a weak online ad business led to its first quarterly loss in its 26 years as a public company.

The software company had warned that it was taking a $6.2 billion charge because its 2007 purchase of online ad service aQuantive hasn't yielded the returns envisioned. The non-cash adjustment is something companies do when the value of their assets decline. Microsoft Corp. paid $6.3 billion for aQuantive, only to see rival Google Inc. expand its share of the online ad market.

The charge led to a $492 million loss in the April-June quarter, or 6 cents per share. That compares with earnings of $5.9 billion, or 69 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 4 percent to $18.06 billion.

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Verizon's wireless glows, broadband hits wall

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Verizon Communications Inc., parent of the country's largest cellphone carrier, on Thursday said its net income rose 13 percent in the second quarter as its wireless arm pulled in record profits.

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