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POSTED November 20, 2012 6:41 p.m.

Feds still looking at Wal-Mart dispute

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal labor officials say they haven't decided whether to support a request by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to stop a union-backed group from encouraging worker walk-outs that are expected to culminate Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

The world's largest retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board on Friday against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. It said the demonstrations organized by union-backed OUR Walmart threaten to disrupt its business and intimidate customers and other associates.

New home starts jump to fastest pace in 4 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders started construction last month on the most homes and apartments since July 2008, more evidence that the housing recovery is gaining momentum.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that builders broke ground on homes in October at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 894,000. That's a 3.6 percent gain from September.

Single-family home construction dipped 0.2 percent to an annual rate of 594,000, down from a four-year high in the previous month. Apartment construction, which is more volatile from month to month, rose 10 percent to an annual rate of 285,000.

Unemployment falls in 75 percent of states
WASHINGTON (AP) — An increase in hiring helped lower unemployment rates in 37 U.S. states last month, the latest indication that the job market is slowly healing.

Unemployment rates are now below 7 percent in 23 of the 50 states. The Labor Department says rates rose in seven states in October and were unchanged in six.

South Carolina's rate fell from 9.1 percent to 8.6 percent, the biggest drop among states.

 

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