U.S. employment ducks Superstorm Sandy’s punch

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – U.S. companies kept up their slow but steady hiring pace in November, defying predictions that Superstorm Sandy would deal a big blow to the labor market.

While the unemployment rate fell to a near four-year low of 7.7 percent, that was only because many Americans gave up the hunt for work, tempering the signal from the stronger-than-expected payrolls growth.

A big drop in consumer confidence in December, the largest fall in more than 1-1/2 years, also offered a cautionary note on the economy’s health.

Non-farm employment expanded by 146,000 jobs last month after gaining 138,000 in October, the Labor Department said on Friday. The increase was well above the 93,000 expected on Wall Street.

“We are moving in a trend-like modest job-growth environment,” said Michael Hanson, a senior economist at Bank of Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York. “We really need to see payroll numbers break above 200,000 for a while to think we have a more sustained recovery under way.”

Latest in World News

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks after Britain voted to leave the European Union, outside Number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain June 24, 2016. Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

Cameron quits after Britain votes to leave EU

LONDON,  (Reuters) – Britain has voted to leave the European Union, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and dealing the biggest blow since World War Two to the European project of forging greater unity.

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South African court blocks appeal by Zuma over corruption charges

PRETORIA,  (Reuters) – South African President Jacob Zuma failed yesterday in his appeal against a court ruling that corruption charges against him be reinstated, another setback for the leader who has been facing calls for his resignation.

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Britain votes to leave EU in historic divorce – BBC

LONDON, (Reuters) – Britain has voted to leave the European Union, the BBC said based on voter tallies from yesterday’s referendum, an outcome that would set the country on an uncertain path and deal the largest setback to European efforts to forge greater unity since World War Two.

Cuba's President Raul Castro (C) looks as Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos (L) shakes hands with FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono, better known by his nom de guerre Timochenko, after signing a historic ceasefire deal between the Colombian government and FARC rebels in Havana, Cuba, June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

Tears of joy as rebels sign ceasefire with Colombian government

HAVANA/BOGOTA,  (Reuters) – Colombia’s government and leftist FARC rebels signed a historic ceasefire deal yesterday that brought them tantalizingly close to ending the longest running conflict in the Americas.

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OAS chief blames Maduro government for Venezuela crisis

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The head of the OAS regional bloc, Luis Almagro, yesterday blamed President Nicolas Maduro’s government for Venezuela’s crisis, saying the South American oil-rich nation was now mired in poverty, corruption and violence.

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Latest gun control bid falters in Congress, Democrat sit-in ends

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – Another attempt at gun control faltered in the U.S. Congress yesterday despite outrage at the Orlando massacre, as a proposed ban on firearms sales to people being monitored for links to terrorism barely avoided being killed in the Senate.

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Split U.S. Supreme Court blocks Obama immigration plan

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday blocked President Barack Obama’s plan to spare millions of immigrants in the country illegally from deportation in a split ruling that heartened political foes who had accused him of overstepping his powers.

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Britain votes on EU membership after tight and bitter campaign

LONDON, (Reuters) – Britons will decide the future of their country and Europe today in a vote on European Union membership after a bitter campaign that appeared to divide the nation down the middle.

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