CNN Money: Top business headlines for July 31

    6:26 AM, Jul 31, 2013   |    comments
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    NEW YORK (CNN) -- CNN Money's Maribel Aber has your top business and financial news on this Wednesday, July 31.

    Entergy Corp. to cut 800 jobs as second-quarter earnings drop by 55 percent

    New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. said Tuesday it will eliminate 800 jobs as part of an ongoing effort to improve the energy company's financial performance. The announcement was part of the company's second-quarter report that earnings were down 55 percent compared to last year. The company said earlier this month that it expected earnings to be less than half of what they were a year earlier, because of a one-time tax benefit last year, and higher operating and maintenance expenses this year. "Difficult decisions like job reductions are sometimes the very tough outcome of making long-term, fundamental improvements in the way a company works," said Entergy Chief Executive Officer Leo Denault. Entergy will cut 240 jobs in Louisiana, or about 5 percent of its work force in the state. The company also plans to eliminate 165 positions in Arkansas, 115 in Texas and 80 in Mississippi, along with cuts in Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Vermont. The energy giant provides power to customers in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Mississippi and has about 15,000 employees.

    Government shutdown won't shut Obamacare: Report

    Obamacare would keep running even in a government shutdown, a new congressional report suggests. The new health care law draws funding from sources that are not subject to the congressional budget process, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. Also, the revenue collected under Obamacare is considered to be part of a category that ensures the "safety of human life or the protection of property," which makes it immune to government shutdowns, the report said. The report is significant because Republican lawmakers have been talking about opposing any measure to keep government running, if it means also funding Obamacare. The current bill funding the government runs out on Sept. 30.

    U.S. pay raises: Not so hot, but outpacing inflation

    If your salary is going up by 2.9% in 2013, you're about average for white-collar employees in the U.S., according to a new survey by human resources trade association WorldatWork. That's an increase of about 25% over the 2.2% average pay hike in mid-recession 2009, which was an all-time low since the association's annual poll launched back in 1973. Compared to peers elsewhere, though, Americans are doing pretty well. Salary budgets for 2014 are shrinking in every country WorldatWork surveyed except the U.S., where next year's projected average salary budget is expected to creep up to 3.1%. That's slightly higher than in Germany and Britain, both at 3%, and Spain and Japan, where 2014 budgets will grow by 2.5%.

    Mini-apartments are the next big thing in U.S. cities

    When Gil Blattner hired a housekeeper for his elegant apartment with 12-foot ceilings, tall windows and marble fireplace mantle, the woman looked at the living room and asked, "Where's the rest of it?" There was no more. She'd seen all 250 square feet of his cocoon, located on a tony, tree-lined street in Chelsea near restaurants, art galleries and bookstores. His monthly rent: $2,500. "It's all that I need," says Blattner, 29, who moved in last year. "I feel very happy when I'm in this space," he says."The name of the game is being selective about what you hold onto. It's helped me stay away from being a hoarder." Though tiny has long been typical in Manhattan, mini-apartments are popping up in more U.S. cities where land is finite, downtowns have regained cachet and rents have risen. In a digital age when library-sized book collections can be kept on a hand-held device, more Americans see downsizing as not only feasible but also economical and eco-friendly.

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