The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

In SoCal business news: CA unemployment fell to 8.1 percent in January, fewer underwater homes in OC

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Happy Friday! Welcome to KPCC's business blog, The Breakdown. Every weekday, we compile a list of interesting business stories in the region.

California's unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent in January, according to the Sacramento Bee. My colleague Brian Watt (@radiobwatt) will analyze the unemployment figures for The Breakdown later today.

Safeway will be sold to private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management for $9.4 billion and merge with Albertsons, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The newspaper says the deal could mean lower prices on groceries for consumers, although one analyst was skeptical. Check back later today for analysis on what the Safeway deal means for SoCal.

Boeing said it would freeze the pension benefits of more than 68,000 non-union employees and switch them to a 401(k) plan in 2016, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Hyper-local news website Patch had a round of layoffs earlier this year, after it announced its joint venture with investment holding company Hale Global. Now, Hale Global's CEO says Patch is hiring again, according to Street Fight.

Rising home prices in Orange County has helped homeowners who owed more than what their homes were worth.  The increase in prices has caused more than 54,000 homes to be no longer underwater in 2013,  according to the Orange County Register.

Newsweek named Satoshi Nakamoto as the man who created bitcoin and he denied it, KPCC reported. At least 30 Southern California businesses are accepting bitcoin, according to the Press-Telegram. KPCC reported on one of the businesses taking bitcoin, Hollywood's Meltdown Comics.

There was a big media frenzy to interview Nakamoto yesterday. When he came out of his house, Nakamoto asked for a "free lunch" and said he only wanted to talk with one reporter, the Associated Press reported. AP landed that interview over a sushi lunch.

Got business news? Tweet me @thewendylee.

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