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WASHINGTON (AP) — Hiring jumped at the beginning of the year as U.S. employers added 225,000 jobs. The Labor Department also says a half-million people streamed into the job market in January, though not all of them found jobs. That boosted the unemployment rate to 3.6%, from a half-century low of 3.5% in December. The government also issued its annual revisions, which showed that job growth was slower in 2018 and early last year than previously estimated. Employers added 2.3 million jobs in 2018, down from a previous figure of 2.7 million.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — More than 260,000 homes and businesses in the eastern United States are without power following a storm that left at least five people dead in the South. The National Weather Service said early Friday the system was expected to strengthen as it moves up the Eastern Seaboard, bringing high winds and rain through the mid-Atlantic region. Gusts up to 55 mph were predicted for the nation's capital. Hundreds of people have been evacuated from flooding in places across the Southeast, and many school districts have canceled classes. Five storm-related deaths were confirmed in Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee.
SEATTLE (AP) — Officials are warning of more flooding and landslides in western Washington state on Friday as the rain keeps falling and rivers continue to rise. A tree fell on a car on State Route 18 west of Issaquah on Thursday night, blocking the highway for hours. No one was injured. People living in an apartment building in Issaquah were evacuated Thursday after Issaquah Creek breached its banks and began running under the building. The King County Flood Warning Center issued a flood alert early Friday for the Snoqualmie River. The city of Duvall reported on Twitter that a downed tree was blocking Woodinville-Duvall Road.
BEIJING (AP) — Hong Kong may jail or fine anyone who fails to observe the two-week quarantine for arrivals from mainland China starting Saturday. The territory has refused to completely seal its border with mainland China but hopes the quarantine will dissuade cross-border travelers. Those who don't have accommodations will be sent to quarantine camps. Workers in logistic services such as truck drivers or flight crews will be exempt. Hong Kong Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung urged citizens to exercise self-discipline in complying with the quarantine and said random checks will be conducted.
HONG KONG (AP) — Barren supermarket shelves and signs reading “out of stock.” Widespread panic-buying of essentials such as toilet rolls and rice has hit in Hong Kong. The rush on essentials is a knock-on effect of the deadly virus outbreak in neighboring mainland China. Panicked Hong Kong shoppers fear the city's efforts to combat the virus' spread could cause shortages. The government insists that there's no need to worry and there is no shortage of food. But lines are still forming. Shoppers waiting Friday to buy paper tissues said they felt compelled to stock up.
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