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U.S. Is 'Land Of Opportunity' No More?

Unemployment dropped in December 2011, but can Americans still count on moving up? Recent reports say America now lags behind Canada, Britain and some Western European nations in terms of economic mobility. Host Michel Martin talks with public policy analyst John Bridgeland and Brookings Institution economic expert Isabel Sawhill.
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Can Construction Help Build The Recovery?

Of all the good news in the December unemployment report, perhaps the most encouraging sign for the 2012 labor market was the increase in construction jobs. That sector has lost more than 2 million jobs as the housing market imploded, but increases in construction could be a cautious sign of a turnaround, analysts say.
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Jobless Rate Dips To 8.5 Percent, 200,000 Jobs Added To Payrolls

The unemployment rate is near a three-year low and there were 1.9 million private-sector jobs added to payrolls last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.
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Winter Wonderland? Not In New England

Unseasonable temperatures and lack of snow have a lot of New Englanders singing the blues. In Maine, snowmobiling, ice fishing and Nordic skiing are a big part of the winter economy. Downhill ski areas are making due with man-made snow, but those other industries have no choice but to wait for Mother Nature.
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Sanctions On Iran Effect Ordinary Iranians Psyche

European Union countries are considering a ban on importing Iranian oil. That debate follows new U.S. sanctions against Iran's central bank. Writer Hooman Majd, who has recently returned from Tehran, tells Steve Inskeep that Iranians are concerned about their economy.
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Barnes & Noble Explores Separating Nook Business

Barnes & Noble's stock took a tumble Thursday after the bookseller announced that it is thinking about separating its Nook e-readers from the rest of its business. Separation could be a good thing if it just means the tablet business will be independently managed.
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December's Jobless Rate Expected To Tick Higher

The Labor Department comes out with its latest unemployment report Friday morning. Analysts expect 15,000 jobs were created. But they also forecast that December's jobless rate will edge higher from 8.6 percent to 8.7 percent. A separate survey on private sector hiring showed strong gains in December.

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