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Business Highlights

Friday - 7/5/2013, 7:19pm  ET

The Associated Press

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US economy adds 195,000 jobs; unemployment 7.6 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. employers are sending a message of confidence in the economy -- hiring more workers, raising pay and making the job market appear strong enough for the Federal Reserve to slow its bond purchases as early as September.

The economy gained a robust 195,000 jobs in June and many more in April and May than previously thought. The unemployment rate remained 7.6 percent in June because more people started looking for jobs -- a healthy sign -- and some didn't find them. The government doesn't count people as unemployed unless they're looking for work.

The Labor Department's report Friday pointed to a U.S. job market that's showing surprising resilience in the face of tax increases, federal spending cuts and economic weakness overseas. Employers have added an average 202,000 jobs for the past six months, up from 180,000 in the previous six.

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Same-sex ruling has employers tweaking benefits

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court's landmark ruling on same-sex marriage has private employers around the country scrambling to make sure their employee benefit plans comply with the law.

The impact of the decision striking down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is clear in the 13 states and the District of Columbia where gay marriage is currently legal or soon will be: Same-sex married couples must be treated the same as other spouses under federal laws governing tax, health care, pensions and other federal benefits.

But employee benefit experts say the effect of the ruling remains murky in the other 37 states. The court left intact another provision of the federal anti-gay marriage law that allows one state not to recognize a same-sex marriage performed elsewhere.

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Here, only goats can prevent airport fires

Last month officials at San Francisco International Airport hired a herd of part-time employees to toil on the west side of the property and engage in an unusual -- but environmentally friendly -- form of fire prevention.

Anyone looking down from a plane departing the airport may have wondered, What's with the goats?

For two weeks in June, Mr. Fuzzy, Cookie, Mable, Alice and nearly 400 other goats chomped on the brush in a remote corner of the airport. The area needs to be cleared each spring to protect nearby homes from potential fires. But machines or humans can't be used because two endangered species -- the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog -- live there.

It's not exactly the type of job you advertise in the local classifieds. So, for the past five years officials have turned to Goats R Us, a small brush-removal company run by Terri Oyarzun, her husband Egon and their son Zephyr. The airport paid $14,900 for the service this year.

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Oil price climbs after strong US jobs report

NEW YORK (AP) -- The price of oil marched higher Friday with a positive report on U.S. hiring and ongoing concerns about the crisis in Egypt.

Benchmark crude for August delivery rose $1.98, or 2 percent, to finish at $103.22 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That's the highest closing price since May 2, 2012.

Following the ouster of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi on Wednesday, his supporters began a series of protests and attacks Friday. The military opened fire as hundreds of protesters marched on a headquarters of the Republican Guard.

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NZ judge orders compensation for 29 mining deaths

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- A bankrupt New Zealand coal company was ordered Friday to pay the families of 29 miners killed in a 2010 methane explosion, though they may receive just a fraction of the compensation.

A judge ruled the miners' families and two survivors of the explosion should get 110,000 New Zealand dollars ($86,000) individually, an amount in doubt because Pike River Coal went into bankruptcy soon after the explosion.

The company was convicted in April of nine health and safety violations. A government investigation found it had ignored 21 warnings that methane gas had accumulated to explosive levels in the South Island mine.

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S&P further downgrades Nokia after NSN purchase

HELSINKI (AP) -- Ratings agency Standard and Poor's on Friday downgraded Nokia Corp.'s credit rating further into junk territory, citing the deal this week to buy out Siemens from its Nokia Siemens Networks joint venture for 1.7 billion euros ($2.21 billion).

The agency lowered the Finland-based company's long-term corporate credit rating to "B+" from "BB-," warning that its strong balance sheet will weaken as a result of the acquisition.

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