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Top stories: Surprisingly better jobs report; Comcast deal a test for Obama administration; coal for retailers?

December 4, 2009 |  8:37 am

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In a hopeful jobs report before the holidays, the nation's unemployment rate eased to 10% in November from 10.2% in October, and the number of workers on payrolls was essentially unchanged last month, the Labor Department said today.

The report said employers shed a net 11,000 jobs last month, a statistically insignificant change and the best showing since December 2007. By contrast, the U.S. economy started this year with a loss of 741,000 jobs in January, but the pace of job declines has been moderating steadily.

Read the story by economy reporter Don Lee here.

The proposed marriage of Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable and broadband provider, and NBC Universal, a Hollywood powerhouse, presents the Obama administration with its first big chance to weigh in on the controversial issue of media consolidation, Joe Flint writes. Read more here.

In an unexpected step backward, the nation's leading retailers suffered a sales slump in November -- a poor start to the holiday season and an ominous sign for the fragile economic recovery.

After two months of positive sales reports that spurred hopes that an industry turnaround was at hand, major chain stores posted a 0.3% decline from a year earlier, the International Council of Shopping Centers said Thursday.

Read more by retail reporter Andrea Chang here.

File photo credit: Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images

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