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For many factory towns, white collar job loss hurts the most

ERIE, Pa. (AP) — With the abandoned smokestacks off the bay and ramshackle factories along 12th Street, it's easy to ascribe the plight of Erie, Pennsylvania, to the loss of manufacturing jobs to China and Mexico. Many, including President Donald Trump, hold the belief that those diminished factories are what primarily ails Erie and other aging blue-collar company towns. Yet since 2008, Erie has suffered a hidden and potentially more devastating exodus: The loss of well-paid white-collar jobs.

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Mexico, Canada and others may be exempted from US tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says Mexico, Canada, and other countries may be spared from President Donald Trump's planned steel and aluminum tariffs under national security "carve-outs." The move could soften the blow amid threats of retaliation by trading partners and dire economic warnings from lawmakers and business groups. The announcement comes as congressional Republicans and business interests are bracing for the impact of impending tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and concerns about a trade war.

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Icahn denies prior knowledge of Trump's steel tariffs

NEW YORK (AP) — Billionaire investor Carl Icahn denies that he had any prior knowledge of President Donald Trump's plans to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum when he sold about $31 million of stock in steel-dependent Manitowoc last month.

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Trump reopens a seemingly settled video-game debate

NEW YORK (AP) — In the wake of the Florida school shooting, President Donald Trump is reviving an old debate over whether violent video games can trigger violent behavior. There's just one problem: Roughly two decades of research has repeatedly failed to uncover any such link. Trump plans to meet Thursday with representatives from the video game industry.

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Oregon sues mogul Steve Wynn, company after sex allegations

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The state of Oregon has sued Nevada gambling mogul Steve Wynn and the board of directors of Wynn Resorts Ltd. for allegedly failing to act in the best interests of shareholders and stop sexual misconduct at the company, state officials said Wednesday. The civil case, alleging massive breaches of fiduciary duty that caused damage to the company and impaired long-term shareholder value, was filed Tuesday in district court in Clark County, Nevada.

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EU ready for a 'stupid' trade war if Trump slaps on tariffs

BRUSSELS (AP) — The EU says it is ready to retaliate against the U.S. over President Donald Trump's proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. Counter-measures would target iconic U.S. products like Harley Davidson motorcycles, Levi's jeans and bourbon. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said Wednesday that the EU, the world's biggest trading bloc, rejects Trump's reasoning that tariffs are needed to protect national security.

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Finance minister says China can handle government debt risks

BEIJING (AP) — China's finance minister has tried to defuse concern over the country's rising debt, saying government borrowing is below danger levels and regulators can prevent financial system risks. The comments follow Beijing's criticism last year of global rating agencies for their decision to cut its credit rating due to China's rising overall debt burden.

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European clocks slowed by lag in continent's power grid

BERLIN (AP) — Millions of Europeans who arrived late to work or school have a good excuse — an unprecedented slowing of the frequency of the continent's electricity grid. The Brussels-based European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity says that the problem began in mid-January and affects 25 countries, from Portugal to Poland and Greece to Germany.

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Survey: US businesses hire 235,000 new workers in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies added a healthy 235,000 jobs last month, led by solid gains in construction, hotels and restaurants, and education and health care, according to a private survey. Payroll provider ADP says February's hiring comes after businesses added 244,000 people in January and 249,000 in December.

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US consumer borrowing growth slows to $13.9 billion

WASHINGTON (AP) — American consumers increased their borrowing at a slower pace in January, as the category that covers credit cards recorded the smallest increase in three years. The Federal Reserve says the January gain of $13.9 billion followed a $19.2 billion increase in December and a November surge of $30.9 billion.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell as much as 1 percent during the day but finished with a loss of just 1.32 points, less than 0.1 percent, at 2,726.80. The Dow Jones industrial average declined 82.76 points, or 0.3 percent, to 24,801.36. The Nasdaq composite gained 24.64 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,396.65. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 12.33 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,574.53.

Benchmark U.S. crude dropped $1.45, or 2.3 percent, to $61.15 a barrel in New York after the Energy Department reported that U.S. oil production rose last week. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell $1.45, or 2.2 percent, to $64.34 a barrel in London. Exxon Mobil tumbled $1.92, or 2.5 percent, to $74.26 and Hess lost $2, or 4.1 percent, to $46.48.