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The US jobless rate held steady in January at 4.3 percent, hovering at the same level as in December - a level not seen since 1970. The Labor Department report, along with others on auto and retail-chain sales and manufacturing activity, indicates the economy had considerable momentum last month after growing during the final quarter of 1998 at the fastest rate in 2-1/2 years.

American Airlines pilots promised unspecified job actions against their employer after talks failed to end a dispute over the latter's purchase last November of West Coast carrier Reno Air. The dispute centers on Reno Air's continued status as a separate carrier, with pay scales about half those of American's pilots. Job actions, such as slowdowns, could affect some of American's 2,100 daily flights.

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A California court dismissed a lawsuit accusing Nike of misrepresenting conditions at its factories in Asia. The suit, filed in April by a consumer advocate, claimed Nike violated state false-advertising laws in its campaign in defense of wages, treatment of workers, and health and safety conditions at overseas plants run by contractors. Superior Court Judge David Garcia gave no reason for dismissing the suit. An appeal was expected.

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