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Chinese manufacturing contracts in November

HONG KONG — The Chinese manufacturing sector contracted in November, according to a closely watched barometer, indicating that a key engine of global growth is getting dragged down by the economic woes of Europe and the United States and by the Chinese authorities’ moves to cool inflation.

An index measuring activity in the manufacturing sector, released by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing on Thursday, slumped to 49 in November, much more than economists had expected. The reading, below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction, marked a significant fall from the previous month’s reading of 50.4.

A separate purchasing managers’ index released by HSBC on Thursday painted a similar picture. That index fell to 47.7, from 51 in October.

—Bettina Wassener, 
The New York Times

Job losses for many; good new jobs for few

People across the working spectrum suffered job losses in recent years: bricklayers and bookkeepers as well as workers in manufacturing and marketing.

But only a select few workers have fully regained their footing during the agonizingly slow recovery.

Even though the Labor Department is expected to report Friday that employers added more than 100,000 jobs in November, a new study shows just how rare such people are. According to the study, to be released Friday by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, just seven percent of those who lost jobs after the financial crisis have returned to or exceeded their previous financial position and maintained their lifestyles.

The vast majority say they have diminished lifestyles, and about 15 percent say the reduction in their incomes has been drastic and will probably be permanent.

—Motoko Rich, 
The New York Times