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Stocks slip...Jobless rates hit record lows in 2 states...Puerto Rico power company director resigns

November 17, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are mostly lower in afternoon trading on Wall Street, a day after the market made its biggest gain in two months. Technology companies are returning some of their recent gains. Retailers including Ross Stores, Gap and Foot Locker are jumping after they reported strong quarterly results.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Labor Department says unemployment rates fell to record lows in Idaho and Tennessee in September, and dropped in nine other states. The jobless rate dropped to 2.8 percent in Idaho and 3 percent in Tennessee. Both are the lowest on records dating back to 1976. The report also showed the extent of Hurricane Irma’s damage in Florida, which lost 127,400 jobs, or about 1.5 percent of total jobs in the state. Most of those losses were likely temporary.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The director of Puerto Rico’s power company has resigned amid ongoing blackouts and scrutiny of a contract awarded to a small Montana-based company to help rebuild the electric grid destroyed by Hurricane Maria. Electric Power Authority chief Ricardo Ramos testified before a U.S. Senate committee this week about a $300 million contract awarded to Whitefish Energy Holdings that has since been canceled. More than 20 of Puerto Rico’s 78 municipalities remain without power nearly two months after Maria hit the U.S. territory as a Category 4 hurricane.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A major agribusiness company is asking an Arkansas judge to halt the state’s plan to ban an herbicide that’s drawn complaints from farmers across several states who say the weed killer has drifted onto their crops and caused widespread damage. Monsanto wants the judge to strike down the dicamba ban approved earlier this month by the state Plant Board. The board voted to prohibit the use of the weed killer in the state from April 16 through Oct. 31, and the ban is expected to go before lawmakers next month.

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Fisheries biologists in Idaho say they think they know why a relatively new hatchery intended to save Snake River sockeye salmon from extinction is instead killing thousands of fish before they ever get to the ocean. The Department of Fish and Game says water chemistry at the Springfield Hatchery in eastern Idaho is so different from that in the central region that the young fish can’t adjust when released into the wild. Officials say they’re working on solutions.

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