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The US unemployment rate fell to a three-decade low of 4.1 percent in October with only modest wage inflation, the Labor Department said. Unemployment hasn't been lower since it stood at 3.9 percent in January 1970. A key gauge of inflation pressure, average hourly earnings, grew only 0.1 percent to $13.37 in October, indicating that a tight labor market isn't triggering serious wage inflation.

A 10-week-old, $1.5 billion hostile takeover bid for Air Canada was dropped by the Toronto holding company Onex Corp. after a court ruled it illegal. The carrier's stockholders were to have voted on the offer today. But the court said it violated a law limiting ownership by a single shareholder in the airline to 10 percent. Competition rules had been suspended by the national government in August in hopes that a solution to Canada's airline problems might come from the private sector. As part of its plan, Onex also wanted to pick up cash-strapped Canadian Airlines and merge it with Air Canada. The latter said it now would renew an attempt to take over Canadian itself.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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