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A Week's Worth

• Job gains: May proved another banner month for employment, with the US adding 248,000 jobs. In the last three months, payrolls have swelled by nearly 1 million. Even manufacturing showed gains. Of course, more of the jobless started looking for work, so unemployment held steady at 5.6 percent. And more jobs mean the Federal Reserve may raise a key interest rate from its 46-year low of 1 percent.

• Bigger quota; more oil? The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has agreed to a two-stage, 11 percent hike in its production quotas. Oil prices fell sharply. But analysts were cautious that more oil would actually be produced, since the cartel is already exceeding its quota by nearly the same amount.

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• Such a deal: Interest rates may be headed up, but federal education loans are getting cheaper. For the fourth year in a row, the rates are headed down - to some of the lowest levels in history. Starting July 1, the Stafford loan rate for current students and recent graduates will drop to 2.77 percent.

• Bounced! The nation's two largest check printers have closed or plan to close a total of nine plants, in part because of Americans' move to more high-tech payment methods.


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