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February 15. 2013 9:47AM
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The Labor Department said Wednesday that unemployment rates fell in 329 cities last year. They rose in 37 cities and were unchanged in seven.
The national unemployment rate fell in December to 8.5 percent.
Unemployment rates rose from November to December in a majority of U.S. cities.
In the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, the jobless rate fell in December to 8.9 percent, the lowest since April 2009.
The government will report Friday on January hiring and unemployment.
U.S. factories grew in January at the fastest pace in seven months, boosted by a rise in new orders. And builders ended a poor year for construction by spending more on homes and projects for the fifth straight month.
Consumers are buying more cars and trucks, while businesses ordered more machinery and other equipment. That has driven manufacturing, which expanded for the 30th straight month.
Export orders also rose, a sign that U.S. manufacturers haven‚??t yet been affected by Europe‚??s slowing economy.
The parent of American Airlines wants to eliminate about 13,000 jobs ‚?? 15 percent of its workforce ‚?? as the nation‚??s third-biggest airline attempts to reduce expenses by $2 billion under bankruptcy protection.
The company aims to cut labor costs by 20 percent, and will soon begin negotiations with its three major unions.
AMR also proposes to end its traditional pension plans. This week, the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. slapped liens on $91 million in AMR property after the company paid only $6.5 million of a required $100 million contribution to the plans.
Facebook announced Wednesday it is going public eight years after its computer-hacking CEO Mark Zuckerberg started the service at Harvard University.
In its regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Facebook Inc. indicated it hopes to raise $5 billion in its IPO. That would be the most for an Internet IPO since Google Inc. and its early backers raised $1.9 billion in 2004. The final amount will likely change as Facebook‚??s bankers gauge the investor demand.

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