Global Glance: US employers add 161,000 jobs; Wal-Mart sets environmental plan

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Here are today’s top business headlines from across the nation and world:

US employers add solid 161,000 jobs; unemployment at 4.9 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a decent 161,000 jobs in October, and the unemployment rate dipped to 4.9 percent from 5 percent. It was the final major report on a lukewarm but durable economy before Americans choose a new president next week. The Labor Department said Friday that average hourly pay took a big step higher last month, rising 10 cents an hour to an average $25.92. That is 2.8 percent higher than a year ago and is the biggest 12-month increase in seven years. The economy appears to be finally delivering widespread raises after years of sluggish pay gains. With the unemployment rate near healthy levels, businesses are likely trying harder to attract workers. The steady hiring and low unemployment rate have also put the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates next month for the first time this year. Read more

US trade deficit in September at lowest level in 19 months

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit fell in September to the lowest level in 19 months as demand for U.S.-made airplanes and other exports increased while imports slipped. The politically sensitive deficit with China declined. The Commerce Department says the deficit narrowed to $36.4 billion in September, down 9.9 percent from August. It was the lowest imbalance since February 2015. Exports rose 0.6 percent to $189.2 billion, the highest level in more than a year. Imports fell 1.3 percent to $226.6 billion. Read more

China’s Wanda buys Dick Clark Productions for $1 billion

BEIJING (AP) — China’s Dalian Wanda Group has added another entertainment trophy to its stable of overseas acquisitions, paying $1 billion for Dick Clark Productions, the TV company that produces the Golden Globes and the “Miss America” pageant. Wanda is one of China’s most important conglomerates and China’s largest property developer. Its chairman, Wang Jianlin, is China’s richest man by most measures, with an estimated net worth exceeding $32 billion. The company owns AMC Theatres and bought Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion in January. Read more

Wal-Mart sets environmental plan as people seek green items

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart is laying out its environmental map for the next several years as it tries to satisfy customers who want green products at affordable prices. The world’s largest retailer says it will seek to reduce emissions in its own operations by 18 percent by 2025, and work toward adding no waste to landfills in key markets like Canada and the United States. It also plans to be powered by 50 percent clean and renewable energy sources. Read more

CDC: Progress reducing uninsured rate threatens to stall

WASHINGTON (AP) — With deep divisions over President Barack Obama’s health care law reappearing in the election’s final days, a government report shows that progress in reducing the number of uninsured Americans has slowed to a crawl. The study released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the 2010 law may be reaching a limit to its effectiveness. The CDC said the number of uninsured people dipped by only 200,000 between 2015 and the first six months of this year, which it called “a nonsignificant difference.” Read more

Volkswagen: Car owners signing up in droves for $15 billion deal

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An attorney for Volkswagen says car owners eligible for a buyback or fix under a $15 billion settlement deal over the company’s emissions cheating scandal are signing up and submitting claims at a high rate. Sharon Nelles told a federal judge in San Francisco on Thursday that more than 370,000 people have registered on the settlement website and nearly 200,000 people have submitted claims. Nelles said the participation rate was exceptional. Read more

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