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News In Brief

MID-DAY UPDATE: January job numbers, German stock market, and banana wars

Katharine Crnko Feb 4, 2011

Big news from the U.S. Labor Department today. The unemployment rate is down to 9 percent — the lowest it’s been in almost two years. At the same time, the economy only created 36,000 jobs in January, much lower than expected. What concerns economists is the inconsistency in numbers, not just in this report, but historically as well. According to Jill Schlesinger of CBS/MoneyWatch, employers will only be comfortable expanding their payroll when they see consistent monthly job numbers.

Across the globe, David Brancaccio continues his Economy 4.0 series in Germany. Only 10 percent of ordinary German citizens are active in the German stock market — compare that to the 45 percent involvement in the U.S. — a fact economists hope to change.

And finally, the U.S. has been at war with Europe for the past 20 years — over bananas. Europe is the largest banana market in the world, and until recently had offered benefits to former colonies in Africa and the Caribbean to sell their bananas to Europeans. But now American companies such as Dole and Chiquita can sell in the European market, ending the heated “banana war.”

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