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U.S. applications for jobless benefits ticked up last week, but the overall number of people in the U.S. collecting unemployment benefits fell after hitting its highest level in two years last week.  About 1.86 million were collecting unemployment benefits the week that ended Nov. 25, 64,000 fewer than the previous week. It’s just the second time in 11 weeks that continuing claims have fallen.  (AP)

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U.S. employers posted 8.7 million job openings in October, the fewest since March 2021, in a sign that hiring is cooling in the face of higher interest rates yet remains at a still-healthy pace. Openings were down significantly from 9.4 million in September. Still, employers have added a solid 239,000 jobs a month this year.   (AP)

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North Dakota had a total of 13,464 open and available online job openings in November.  That’s a change of -3.8 percent (-530) from the prior month and -15.9 percent (-2,537) from the same time one year ago.  Region 4 that includes Grand Forks County had 1,756 openings last month.

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The North Dakota Agriculture Diversification and Development (ADD) Fund awarded grants for seven projects totaling $2,998,250.  The fund was created to support new or expanding value-added-agriculture businesses.  Epitome Energy, LLC was awarded $500,000 to assist with the construction of a new soybean crush facility in Grand Forks.  The project carries a $420 million dollar price-tag.

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Data breaches continue to put Americans personal information at risk.  A report from the financial website WalletHub suggests U.S. consumers reported losing 30% more money due to fraud last year – totaling $8.8 million dollars.  Minnesota was ranked 30th and North Dakota 34th for having the most identity theft and fraud.  The analysis found North Dakota has the fewest fraud complaints per capita.

Report:   https://wallethub.com/edu/states-where-identity-theft-and-fraud-are-worst/17549

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The City of Grand Forks has issued a building permit to the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center for training improvements in the building.  The permit lists the project at $390,000 dollars.  The work will take place in the offseason and include renovations for Sports Medicine including a Fueling Station for student athletes.  The project is scheduled to be completed during the summer of 2024.

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Ford Pro, the commercial division within Ford Motor Company, and Xcel Energy will collaborate to support the deployment of 30,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging ports in Xcel Energy service territories across the U.S. by 2030.  Starting in 2024 the         so-called 30×30 program will be available in Colorado and Wisconsin. The program will seek opportunities for expansion over the next six years pending regulatory approvals in Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas.

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Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom has awarded grants to 13 educators around the state. The annual program is designed to fund projects that support agriculture and food systems education efforts from kindergarten to high school.  Each grant is worth up to $500.  Livia Zitzow of South Point in East Grand Forks was among the recipients for the Growing Greens program.

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The FDA is investigating the source of elevated lead levels in cinnamon apple pouches.  A total of 64 reports of adverse events have potentially been linked to the recalled product. The FDA has launched an onsite inspection of the Austrofoods facility located in Ecuador.

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