Welcome to CapBiz A.M., your morning primer on business news with a focus on Washington.

Don’t count on it: The labor market and the broader economy seem to be bouncing back. But is it enough to encourage employers to start opening back up their purse strings for pay raises? Nope, not according to this new data. (CAPBIZ)

Funding falling: Venture capital investments in Washington reached historic highs last year. Investment data for the second quarter show the region won’t be so lucky this time around. (CAPBIZ)

Perk picks: Want to pick your own company perks? Meet a new D.C. start-up that gives employees the ability to choose benefits like yoga classes, wine delivery or financial planning. Oh, and it just raised $400,000. (CAPBIZ)

Coming into focus: Morris Panner, a local entrepreneur, took over a medical imaging firm three years ago, in part over frustration while caring for his ill son. Now, he has landed $6 million in funding to expand the company. (CAPBIZ)

Backfiring, for now: Nearly two years ago, the president signed legislation meant to help small firms more easily navigate the federal contracting arena. So why has life for some contractors instead become even more complicated? (OSB)

At long last: Loudon County, one of the wealthiest communities in the country, will soon be getting its first Whole Foods Market. Meanwhile, the county’s commercial real estate is withering, and it’s not alone. (CAPBIZ)

Maintenance man: David Rubenstein, the billionaire philanthropist who donated $7.5 million to repair the Washington Monument, is now giving even more to rehabilitate part of the Arlington Cemetery. (WP)

Slimming down: Microsoft has announced that as many as 18,000 of the company’s employees will get pink slips in the next year as part of a massive round of layoffs. The firm’s Nokia division will get hit especially hard. (WP)

Under fire, again: Senators grilled General Motors’ top executive yesterday as to why the company’s lead attorney wasn’t fired when it was revealed the legal department had been aware of deadly ignition switch defects. (WP)

Heating up: Rebounds in manufacturing, consumer spending and tourism are fueling a faster economic recovery, while the housing sector is still sputtering in some areas, according to the latest Federal Reserve survey. (WSJ)

On Wall Street

(Get the latest updates here)

What’s on tap today

Consumer sentiment report (9:55 a.m.)

Conference Board’s leading indicators index (10:00 a.m.)

Help: How to politely deal with unsolicited business advice (SBT)

Follow: Morris Panner

Extra: With prices soaring, is a trip to the movie theater still worth it? (WP)