John Ydstie

Updated at 8:56 a.m. ET

Employers added 250,000 jobs in October, more than analysts expected, as the jobless rate remained at 3.7 percent, a nearly 50-year low, the Labor Department said Friday.

The report also showed that the pace of wage growth picked up last month. Average earnings climbed to $27.30 an hour — 3.1 percent above a year earlier.

The 12-month wage increase was the largest since 2009 and topped September's 2.8 percent gain.

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Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

After the huge sell-off Wednesday, U.S. stocks fell sharply again Thursday. At one point, the Dow was down nearly 700 points. By late afternoon, it had regained some ground but closed down 546 points or a little more than 2 percent.

Over the past two days, the Dow has lost 1,378 points. The S&P 500 was down 2 percent for the day. The Nasdaq lost 1.25 percent.

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Stocks plunged on Wall Street today. U.S. stocks saw their biggest sell-off in six months. The Dow fell 831 points, which is a 3 percent decline. Here to talk about exactly what happened is NPR's John Ydstie. Hey, John.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Hi, Ailsa.

Does the neighborhood you grow up in determine how far you move up the economic ladder?

A new online data tool being made public Monday finds a strong correlation between where people are raised and their chances of achieving the American dream.

Harvard University economist Raj Chetty has been working with a team of researchers on this tool — the first of its kind because it marries U.S. Census Bureau data with data from the Internal Revenue Service. And the findings are changing how researchers think about economic mobility.

Updated at 5:40 p.m. ET

The United States and Mexico have reached an "understanding" on several critical trade issues following bilateral talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. They will now likely re-engage with Canada to reach a final deal on NAFTA, a primary goal of the Trump administration.

Speaking at the White House on Monday, President Trump said he wanted to change the NAFTA name to the U.S. Mexico Free Trade Agreement. He also reframed the negotiations as two bilateral trade deals.

U.S. whiskey distillers are fretting over the steep new tariffs they're facing around the world. They're being punished as U.S. trading partners retaliate against the Trump administration's tariffs on steel and aluminum. Now, the distillers fear that a long boom in U.S. whiskey exports could be coming to an end.

Kentucky bourbon has experienced a huge revival over the past decade — thanks in large part to U.S. trade initiatives that have opened up global markets, says Eric Gregory of the Kentucky Distillers' Association.

Updated at 2:21 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve increased a key interest rate again Wednesday, which will trigger higher rates on credit cards, home equity lines and other kinds of borrowing.

Update: On June 15, Lucerne International CEO Mary Buchzeiger said she had been notified that the auto door hinges manufactured by her company had been removed from the Trump administration's list of goods that would be subject to a 25 percent tariff.

The last time Mary Buchzeiger was in Washington, D.C., she was a 13-year-old on an eighth-grade trip.

This week, as the head of a small company that supplies parts to automakers, she joined other business leaders in the nation's capital to talk about President Trump's proposed tariffs aimed at China.

U.S. economic growth slowed in the first three months of the year to a 2.3 percent annual rate, down from 2.9 percent at the end of last year.

One reason is that consumers didn't keep up with the blistering pace of spending at the beginning of the year, which means slower economic growth overall, analysts say. But, if recent trends are any indication, the economy will pick up steam soon.

Updated at 4:19 p.m. ET

Interest rates reached a milestone Tuesday and the stock market frowned.

Tuesday morning, for the first time in four years, the rate on the 10-year U.S. government note topped 3 percent. The bond market move contributed to a sharp sell-off in stocks, as investors wondered whether the long-running bull market might be at a pivot point.

President Trump's tariffs on imported steel aren't the first time the industry has gotten protection from the U.S. government. Not by a long shot. In fact, tariff protection for the industry — which politicians often say is a vital national interest — goes back to the very beginning of the republic.

In his book, Clashing Over Commerce: A History of U.S. Trade Policy, Dartmouth professor Douglas Irwin writes that protection for the metal producers began in the 1790s.

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The U.S. economy grew at a 2.9 percent annual rate in the final three months of 2017, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That's slightly faster than the previous 2.5 percent growth estimate, but slower than the 3.2 percent pace of the third quarter.

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Updated at 2:59 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve announced a quarter-point increase in interest rates as expected Wednesday, the first rate move under its new chairman, Jerome Powell. The key fed funds rate was moved up to a target range of 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent.

Updated at 5:14 p.m. ET

President Trump promised steel and aluminum executives Thursday that he will levy tariffs on imports of their products in coming weeks. He said the imported steel will face tariffs of 25 percent, while aluminum will face tariffs of 10 percent.

"We're going to build our steel industry back and we're going to build our aluminum industry back," Trump told reporters.

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Janet Yellen chaired her final Federal Reserve policymaking meeting Wednesday. She and her Fed colleagues held interest rates steady and officially elected Jerome Powell to succeed her as chair. As Yellen steps down, she is getting high marks for her four years at the helm of the nation's central bank.

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This is the third and final report in John Ydstie's series on Germany's manufacturing strength.

This is the second of three reports from NPR's John Ydstie on Germany's manufacturing strength.

Manufacturing accounts for nearly a quarter of Germany's economy. In the U.S., it's about half that. A key element of that success is Germany's apprenticeship training program.

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