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Business Highlights: A hot US job market is coaxing people in from the sidelines

🕐 4 min read

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A surprisingly strong burst of job growth over the past year has led many economists to wonder: Where are all the workers coming from? As recently as last spring, analysts had worried that hiring would slow as the pool of unemployed shrank. Many employers have complained for years that they could no longer find enough people to fill their open jobs. Turns out they were both wrong.

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China’s Huawei sues to challenge US security law

SHENZHEN, China (AP) — Chinese telecom giant Huawei is suing the U.S. government over a budget provision that bars the government and contractors from using its equipment on security grounds. It says the provision is unconstitutional because it singles out an individual company for punishment and denies it due process. Huawei is fighting U.S. efforts to persuade allies to bar it from supplying next-generation telecom networks, saying it amounts to a corporate “death penalty.”

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Facebook’s vision of future? Looks like Chinese app WeChat

LONDON (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is taking the social media giant in a new direction by giving people ways to communicate privately, by stitching together Facebook’s various services. That sounds strikingly similar to the WeChat app in China, which has become essential for daily life in the country.

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Run, bull, run. Longest bull market looks to keep going

NEW YORK (AP) — The bull market for U.S. stocks is still running after 10 years, but for how much longer? Analysts expect the bull will have more room to run this year, despite an outlook for a slowdown in the U.S. economy and company earnings growth.

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Consumer watchdog agency and its leadership under scrutiny

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government’s consumer watchdog agency is coming under new scrutiny from the House Financial Services Committee, now under the control of Democrats, who say appointees of President Donald Trump to lead the organization have undermined its mission to protect Americans. The rebuke from Rep. Maxine Waters of California was aired as the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Kathy Kraninger, appeared before the committee Thursday. Kraninger succeeded Mick Mulvaney.

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Farmer patience on tariffs comes with caution flag for Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s willingness to engage in international trade fights has set off volleys of retaliatory tariffs that are driving down the price of pork, corn and soybeans in Iowa and elsewhere. Going to bat for steel and aluminum makers has endeared Trump to many voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where steel production is a matter of economic pride, but the tariffs could hurt him in agriculture-heavy states that backed him in 2016.

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Kroger shares plummet on weak Q4 sales, profits

CINCINNATI (AP) — Kroger costly modernization plan may eventually help it compete with retailers like Walmart. But in the meantime, it’s a big drag on profits.

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Consumer borrowing up in January with credit card rebound

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer borrowing rose at a slightly faster pace in January as borrowing on credit cards rebounded after a slowdown in December. The Federal Reserve says borrowing increased by $17.05 billion in January after a $15.36 billion December gain.

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European Central Bank joins global push to help economy

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Central Bank is acting to support a slowing economy. In doing so, it joins the U.S Federal Reserve and Chinese leadership in trying to counter worries about global growth. The European Central Bank on Thursday pushed back the earliest date by which it could raise interest rates. It also offered a series of ultra-cheap loans to banks to help them lend to businesses.

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Former Equifax executive pleads guilty to insider trading

ATLANTA (AP) — An ex-Equifax executive who sold shares for nearly $1 million a week and a half before the company announced a massive data breach has pleaded guilty to insider trading. Prosecutors say Jun Ying exercised all his available stock options before making the sale and realized a gain of more than $480,000. That’s about $117,000 more than the stock would have been worth after the price plummeted when the breach was disclosed. Ying was chief information officer of Equifax’s U.S. Information Solutions.

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Stocks slump again on Wall Street, extending weekly losses

NEW YORK (AP) — Technology and financial companies helped pull U.S. stocks broadly lower Thursday, marking the fourth straight loss for the S&P 500. The benchmark index is now on track for its first weekly drop since January. Losses in health care stocks and big retailers also weighed on the market. With fourth-quarter earnings having wound down and lingering uncertainty over trade talks between the U.S. and China, traders have had little reason to extend the gains the market has made since early this year.

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The S&P 500 declined 22.52 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,748.93. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 200.23 points, or 0.8 percent, to 25,473.23. The Nasdaq composite dropped 84.46 points, or 1.1 percent, to 7,421.46. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 13.19 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,523.63.

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