It's Boeing's Version of 'The Bachelor,' and 4 More Things to Know Today

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AP/The Boeing Co.
• In what could be viewed as a manufacturing version of "The Bachelor," a dozen states are trying to make themselves the most attractive place for Boeing to build its new 777X jumbo jet. The winning state will gain thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic growth, which is why each is attempting to present the most alluring combination of land deals, tax credits and breaks, and financing, among other things. As so often is the case, bachelor Boeing (BA) is only on the prowl because it recently had its heart broken -- in this case, by unionized machinists in Washington state, who rejected a proposed labor contract that would have given that state the 777X gig.

• The jobs report came out this morning, and U.S. unemployment is down to 7.0 percent, its lowest level in 5 years. The Labor Department said the economy created 203,000 more jobs in November; a Reuters poll of economists had predicted payrolls rising by just 180,000, while CNNMoney's consensus estimate was 183,000. But the bigger surprise may be that the stock market finally appears ready to treat good news like good news. Instead of plunging on the report (due to the usual fear that positive economic indicators will lead the Fed to taper its stimulus sooner), stocks rose on the idea that the economy might be getting strong enough that it can handle being weaned off the Fed's loose money policies.

%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%• Another ongoing economic tale in this country has been our impressive energy boom, but the U.S. isn't the only country experiencing a hydrocarbon gold rush. Statoil (STO) and ExxonMobil (XOM) revealed Friday that they've made another huge natural gas discovery off the coast of Tanzania. It's their fifth find in the area, and raises the East African nation's credibility as a newly emerging player in the global energy game.

• On Thursday, protestors in 100 cities across the country again picketed fast food chains over the poverty level wages they pay their workers. So far, these public shamings haven't moved the needle much on the minimum wage issue, and plenty of Americans aren't all that sympathetic to the workers' demands. But our friends over at The Atlantic would like to remind us of this little fact: There was a time, not so long ago, when a full-time minimum-wage job was actually enough to lift a family of three above the poverty line. Today, a single parent with one child, working 40 hours a week for minimum wage, would still be living in poverty.

• And finally, on Thursday and Friday, Shanghai, China, recorded some of the worst air pollution days in that nation's history -- and that's saying something appalling considering China's usual pollution problems. To blame: Coal-fired power plants that are heating the city. Which makes us doubly glad to have read this in the New York Times: "More than two dozen of the nation's biggest corporations, including the five major oil companies, are planning their future growth on the expectation that the government will force them to pay a price for carbon pollution as a way to control global warming." And those businesses apparently don't see it as a political problem to be fought -- just a practical business issue to adapt to.
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