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Leading Economic Indicators

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) — For 26 years, Ernest Ray worked at a company in southwest Virginia that made compressors, in a physically demanding job that involved night shifts on a factory floor. When the plant closed in 2018, Ray applied for and received about $9,000 in unemployment benefits.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits plummeted last week to the lowest level in more than half a century, another sign that the U.S. job market is rebounding rapidly from last year's coronavirus recession.

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Tuesday brushed aside complaints from fellow Democrats about signing a Republican measure aimed at financially protecting workers who refuse to get COVID-19 vaccines by declaring, “leadership means seeking compromise.”

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell gambled last year that his ultra-low rate policies would help revive an economy that had sunk deep into a pandemic-induced recession. So far, his bet has mostly paid off.

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican lawmakers in Kansas approved a measure Monday night to make it easy for workers to claim religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine mandates and provide unemployment benefits to people fired for refusing the shots.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said Monday he is nominating Jerome Powell for a second four-year term as Federal Reserve chair, endorsing his stewardship of the economy through a brutal pandemic recession in which the Fed's ultra-low rate policies helped bolster confidence and revitalize the job market.

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Wall Street closed out a week of choppy trading with stocks mostly lower Friday, though gains for several tech companies pushed the Nasdaq composite to another record high and its first close over 16,000 points.

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — After watching scammers make off with more than $20 billion in fraudulent California unemployment benefits during the pandemic, state housing officials were wary of a repeat when the federal government poured money into the state and told them to use it to pay off people's unpaid rent.

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The federal government on Wednesday corrected Michigan's unemployment rate upward by 1.7 percentage points, above the U.S. average, citing an outlier in statistical modeling last winter — amid sharp job swings during the coronavirus pandemic.

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SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Construction of new homes in the U.S. fell 0.7% in October, but a big jump in the number of permits last month points to anticipation by builders that supply chain problems that have dogged them for much of the year will soon ease.

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LONDON (AP) — The Bank of England is one step closer to raising interest rates next month, analysts said Tuesday after official figures showed that the end of the British government's salary support program for workers during the coronavirus pandemic has not yet led to the feared increase in unemployment.

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