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Consumer Confidential: More jobs, bad SpaghettiOs, dead letters

Here's your fight-them-on-the-beaches Friday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--We're No. 3! California's unemployment rate dipped slightly to 12.4% in April, giving us the third-highest jobless rate in the country. Nevada's now No. 1, with 14%, followed by Michigan at 13.6%. In the fact, the numbers are mixed. On one hand, the unemployment rate fell in 37 states and the District of Columbia, which is good. On the other, many jobs created nationwide were thanks to Uncle Sam as legions of census takers were added to the government payroll -- not exactly a sign of private-sector health.

--Uh-oh: Campbell Soup is recalling 15 million pounds of SpaghettiOs with meatballs because of a snafu at one of the company's plants. A cooker malfunction resulted in undercooked meat making it into some cans. Recalled products include SpaghettiOs with Meatballs, SpaghettiOs A to Z with Meatballs and SpaghettiOs Fun Shapes with Meatballs. Look on the bottom of cans for a mark saying "EST 4K" and expiration dates of between June 2010 and December 2011.

--If you're dead, don't expect to get paid any time soon. The Obama administration wants to create a "do not pay" list of people who are dead or incarcerated and thus shouldn't be receiving government checks. The move isn't as silly as it might sound, because apparently lots of money has been flowing from government coffers to unworthy recipients, and the feds are finally cracking down on such waste and fraud. The "do not pay" list is meant to keep benefit checks, grants and contract money from getting into the wrong hands, including companies that have been barred from government projects.

-- David Lazarus

 
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