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From riots to riches, a look back at every time the Rolling Stones have played Minnesota

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From riots to riches, a look back at every time the Rolling Stones have played Minnesota

Will Sunday be the final time the Rolling Stones play Minnesota? Is their current outing, which began back in 2017, their unannounced farewell tour?

If history tells us anything, it’s that the answers are probably no and hell no. The band celebrates their 60th anniversary next year and unlike pretty much all of their peers, they’ve never stopped. They’ve taken breaks, for sure, but they have never broken up, even if they’re now down to just two original members, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. They’ve weathered deaths, scandals and drugs. And the entire time, they’ve shrugged off the jokes and the suggestions that they were too old to keep playing rock and roll.

Founding drummer Charlie Watts died in August and many would suggest that’s the perfect reason for the guys to call it a day. But Watts was already planning to sit out of this leg of the tour due to health issues and longtime Stones associate Steve Jordan has taken his place behind the drums. Recent reviews, which note that the band pays tribute to Watts each night, have been largely glowing and suggest there’s still enough there to keep the Stones rolling for years to come.

Whatever the case, in anticipation of the Stones’ Sunday night show at U.S. Bank Stadium, here’s a look back at the dozen times the Stones have played Minnesota in the past.

Date: June 12, 1964
Venue: Danceland, Excelsior
Report: The Rolling Stones’ U.S. debut album, “England’s Newest Hit Makers,” had been available for all of two weeks when they embarked on their first tour of the States. They played just eight cities, including Excelsior, where they drew 283 fans. Former bassist Bill Wyman once called the outing a disaster: “When we arrived, we didn’t have a hit record (there) or anything going for us.”

The tour did include some recording time at Chicago’s Chess Studios, where they met their heroes Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon. While at Chess, the Stones recorded much of what would become their second album, “12 x 5,” which was released that October.

Review: “If the Beatles went for spirit, sweetness and sincerity,” wrote former Pioneer Press entertainment reporter Bill Diehl in 1981, “the Stones represented pillage and plunder on the bandstand. Mean and moody, they came on with a then-shocking gutter-rat image. The kids that night didn’t know quite how to take them.”

Date: June 18, 1972
Venue: Metropolitan Sports Center, Bloomington
Report: By the time the Rolling Stones returned to Minnesota for their second show here, they had been anointed “The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World.” Founding member Brian Jones was dead and guitarist Mick Taylor was three years into his stint as Jones’ replacement. The group had split from their record label and manager and were on the road in support of their second release on their own Rolling Stones Records label, “Exile on Main St,” which spent four weeks atop the Billboard charts.

It was the Stones’ first U.S. tour since their disastrous Altamont Free Concert in 1969 that left four concertgoers dead. Trouble followed the tour across the country, with arrests, injuries and riots, including at the band’s Minnesota show. Stevie Wonder opened.

Review (Larry Adcock, Pioneer Press): “Police used mace, nightsticks and tear gas Sunday night to repel an estimated 550 ticketless Rolling Stones fans, some of whom threw rocks, bottles and firecrackers in their gate-crashing attempts at Metropolitan Sports Center where the British rock group performed for 17,300 paying fans.

“Youths milled around outside the Sports Center far after the 8 p.m. performance began, smoking marijuana, drinking wine, soda and beer, and taunting police with obscenities.”

Date: June 9, 1975
Venue: St. Paul Civic Center
Report: As was the case during the ’70s, the Stones mounted major tours every three years. But in 1975, rumors were spreading that this may be the group’s final outing. The band was between albums — “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll” came out in ’74 and “Black and Blue” followed in ’76 — and was road testing Ronnie Wood, Taylor’s replacement on guitar. The opening act was Rufus, featuring Chaka Khan.

Review (Lee Garrick, St. Paul Dispatch): “Some people are saying the Rolling Stones Tour of the Americas ’75 will be the last time around for them as a group, but they showed a crowd of about 18,000 fans in the St. Paul Civic Center Arena Monday night that they’ve still got plenty of energy and enthusiasm.

“For sheer showmanship and crowd appeal, the Stones’ last 20 minutes on stage is seldom matched. With Jagger leading the way, the group played a medley of most of their big, uptempo, violent hits: ‘Brown Sugar,’ an extended version of ‘Midnight Rambler,’ ‘Street Fighting Man’ and so forth, building the crowd’s already heated enthusiasm to one feverish climax after another.”

The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger (right) delivers a song, Monday, July 11, 1978 at a packed concert at the Civic Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Bassist Bill Wyman (left rear) fell from the back of the stage as the group was leaving and was taken to a hospital where he was x-rayed and held for observation. In foreground are Keith Richard (left) and Ron Wood, both guitarists. (AP Photo)

Date: July 10, 1978
Venue: St. Paul Civic Center
Report: Back on the road in support of the biggest-selling record of their career, “Some Girls,” the Stones’ St. Paul stop was a rocky one. Hundreds of ticketless fans threw bottles at police and tried to storm a barricade to get into the Civic Center. Thirty people were arrested and nine others, including two officers, were treated for injuries at St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center.

After the concert, Wyman was waving to the crowd when he fell off stage and hit his head on the concrete floor. He was unconscious for five minutes and treated at St. Paul-Ramsey, but managed to perform the next night in St. Louis.

Reggae star Peter Tosh opened. The night before the Civic Center show, Tosh played the Cabooze in Minneapolis. Jagger and Richards joined him onstage but didn’t stay long due to the rowdy crowd.

Review (Carl Diltz, Pioneer Press): “Singing eight of the 10 songs on the Stones’ new album, ‘Some Girls,’ through a less than perfect sound system, Jagger didn’t generate much response from the audience except for the Stones’ current hit, ‘Miss You.’ ‘Faraway Eyes,’ a country parody with Ron Wood on pedal steel guitar, was a real lull in the action.

“The best part of the evening began when guitarist Keith Richards started playing ‘Love in Vain’ at a slow tempo, followed by ‘Tumblin’ Dice,’ ‘Happy,’ ‘Sweet Little Sixteen,’ ‘Brown Sugar’ and the show-capping ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’ There was no encore.”

Date: Nov. 21, 1981
Venue: St. Paul Civic Center
Report: After the 1978 fiasco, St. Paul police were ready for the Stones and dispatched nearly 100 officers to the concert. Sixteen people were arrested for drug possession and ticket scalping. The Lamont Cranston Band and the Stray Cats opened.

But, really, this was the start of the band’s transition from rock and roll bad boys into a corporate, money-making machine. The group struck a deal with Jovan Musk, which paid $1 million to put the fragrance company’s name on the tickets. Soon after, rock tour corporate sponsorships became common. In another trailblazing move, they also broadcast one show live on pay-per-view and in closed circuit cinemas.

Review (Rick Shefchik, St. Paul Dispatch): “There was plenty of flash, but not much real fever in the bunkhouse Saturday night when the Rolling Stones finally got their Civic Center appearance out of the way. Not that Mick Jagger and his sidemen didn’t try — they pulled stunts that KISS hasn’t thought of yet to get a rise out of the sold-out house. Afterward, the most frequently heard comment was ‘What a show!’ but the moments of musical magic were infrequent.

“In place of the real thing, we were treated to the sight of Jagger singing from a cherry picker 30 feet above the audience, or riding a hydraulic lift halfway up to the ceiling, or Charlie Watts drumming from a platform that moved from one side of the stage to the other.”

1634897634 466 From riots to riches a look back at every time
Feb. 15, 1999: Mick Jagger chats with reporters on his arrival at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for a performance at Target Center. (Pioneer Press)

Date: Nov. 29-30, 1989
Venue: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Report: The Stones spent most of the ’90s off the road, feuding, working on solo projects and releasing a pair of tepidly received new albums, 1983’s “Undercover” and 1986’s “Dirty Work” (the cover of which suggested Richards was kneeing Jagger in the crotch).

By 1989, however, the band was ready to reclaim the title of “The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World.” Their 21st album, “Steel Wheels,” was hailed as a major comeback and its accompanying tour was the Stones’ biggest to date, with 115 shows spread across an entire year. Locally, ticket demand was so high they added a second show. The pair of concerts drew a combined crowd of 104,780. Living Colour opened.

Review (Rick Mason, Pioneer Press): “There may have sometimes been more mixed emotions than satisfaction due to the cavernous Humpty Dome’s usual array of sound problems, and it took a while for the Stones to get their creaky bones limbered up. But when they got rolling — along about an hour into the show — there was suddenly no question about being the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band or maybe having a slightly dulled cutting edge.

“What the throngs at the Dome needed more than anything was proof that the Stones can still rock with the greats. And despite the mushy acoustics and an occasional lull, the Stones put up a reasonably convincing defense of their world title.”

Date: Dec. 11, 1994
Venue: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Report: With another new record, “Voodoo Lounge,” to promote, the Stones defied critics with what would become, at the time, the highest grossing tour ever. It was their first without Wyman, who was replaced by touring bassist Darryl Jones, who remains in that position to this day. The Spin Doctors opened.

“There were lots of hacks out there who said we couldn’t do it anymore,” Jagger said at the time. “But maybe what they meant was they couldn’t do it anymore. Anyway, once we started playing, all that died down. You can talk about it and talk about it — but, once we’re onstage, the question is answered.”

Review (Jim Walsh, Pioneer Press): “Without nostalgia or sentimentality, the Stones ripped through the first few numbers of their 24-song, 2 1/2-hour set like an unretired heavyweight (tough and street-smart, but weary) who still has something to prove. The first 30 minutes featured a staggering barrage of some of the greatest riff-rock hits of all time: ‘Not Fade Away,’ ‘Tumbling Dice’ and a much more muscular reading of ‘You Got Me Rocking’ than the beer commercial that appears on ‘Voodoo Lounge.’

“But like all great fighters protective of their reputation, the Stones faltered a bit in the middle rounds. During ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,’ the band members seemed tired, and then, as they loped into a phoned-in version of ‘Beast of Burden,’ seemed altogether uninspired.”

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Nov. 25, 1997: Keith Richards enjoys himself at the Metrodome Tuesday night during the Rolling Stones’ opening number. (Chris Polydoroff / Pioneer Press)

Date: Nov. 25, 1997
Venue: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Report: On “Bridges to Babylon,” the Stones’ 23rd album and final release of the 20th century, Jagger tried to update the band’s sound to fit in with what was hot in the late ’90s. Impressed by the Dust Brothers’ production on Beck’s “Odelay” and the Beastie Boys’ “Paul’s Boutique,” Jagger hired the production duo to work on five songs. Only three made the final cut, as Richards despised the sampling and hip-hop elements. (Jagger and Richards were no longer speaking to each other by the end of the recording sessions.)

Still, fans turned out for the tour, which became (at the time) the second highest-grossing tour of all time. Opening acts included big names like Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters and Santana, although Minneapolis got the far-less-impressive Third Eye Blind.

Review (Jim Walsh, Pioneer Press): “The Rolling Stones, those most durable of dinosaur rockers, opened their eighth Twin Cities concert with a double-shot of songs that could be read as a wry commentary on every joke that’s ever been told about them: ‘Satisfaction,’ buoyed by one of rock’s greatest opening riffs, reminded the crowd of 50,000 just whom they were dealing with, and the timeless come-on ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’ promised the faithful a no-strings-attached evening of stir-and-serve hedonism.

“But in the end, last night’s show was the most forgettable of all the Stones’ area performances, due in large part to an AWOL Richards. Though he took to the mic for two songs, most of the night Richards — the band’s heart and soul — stood in the shadows. For the most part he couldn’t be bothered to lend his backing vocals, a crucial part of the Stones’ sound.”

Date: Feb. 15, 1999
Venue: Target Center
Report: After spending years pushing for bigger and bigger live spectacles, the Stones took a step back for this outing, which was in support of “No Security,” a live album recorded on the “Bridges to Babylon” tour. They played arenas rather than stadiums, with fewer special effects and a focus on the music and the band. Blues guitarist Jonny Lang opened.

Review (Kate Sullivan, Pioneer Press): “They’re still the best rock band on the planet. The show Monday night at the Target Center proved it, again, for anyone who’d feared the Stones had become nothing more than apes, mimicking the memories we hold dear of the days when their faces were smoother and their drug habits more impressive.

“The set list was virtually identical to their other shows on this tour, opening with ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash,’ with Mick in black shades, wind blowing back his boyish brown mop top. These days the song seems more an anthem than ever, a proclamation from Mick, most of all, that he can still rock harder, louder and more weirdly than anyone of any age.”

1634897634 30 From riots to riches a look back at every time
Sept. 6, 2005: Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones played to a sold-out audience at Xcel Energy Center Sept. 6, 2005. In the left background is lead guitarist Keith Richards. (Chris Polydoroff / Pioneer Press)

Date: Sept. 6, 2005
Venue: Xcel Energy Center
Report: For whatever reason, the Stones skipped Minnesota during their 40th anniversary outing in 2002 and 2003, but returned to St. Paul three years later on their tour in support of “A Bigger Bang,” their first studio album in eight years and, to date, their final record of original material.

The tour stretched out over three years, but we were their seventh stop and we got them while they were still fresh (and more than a year before Richards famously fell out of a tree in New Zealand, causing the group to postpone several shows). Blues guitarist Buddy Guy opened.

Review (Ross Raihala, Pioneer Press): “Two songs into the Rolling Stones’ Tuesday night concert at the Xcel Energy Center, Mick Jagger tugged at the waist of his red T-shirt, exposing a 62-year-old tummy so tight it would make a grown man (and woman) cry.

“But it wasn’t just Jagger’s abs that were in fine shape during the sold-out show. Forty-three years into a career that’s earned them the billing as ‘The World’s Greatest Rock Band,’ the Stones are still amazingly vital and a whole lot of fun. With three of the four main members joining Jagger in the over-60 club (at 58, guitarist Ron Wood is the baby of the bunch), the Stones played with the vigor and energy of a band a third their age.”

Date: June 3, 2015
Venue: TCF Bank Stadium

1634897634 428 From riots to riches a look back at every time
The Rolling Stones perform “Jumping Jack Flash” at their stop at TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

Report: In 2015, the Stones settled into a touring rhythm they’ve followed to this day. They play fewer shows — less than 20 each year — in bigger venues without taking a year off (save for 2020, due to the pandemic). There was talk that they were going to play 1971’s “Sticky Fingers” in its entirety to tie in with a deluxe reissue of the album, but only three tracks made the cut here. (That said, “Moonlight Mile” was absolutely gorgeous and remains a personal highlight of my 16 years covering major concerts in the Twin Cities.) Grace Potter opened.

In an interview that year, Jagger was asked if he was thinking about retiring: “Nah, not in the moment. I’m thinking about what the next tour is. I’m not thinking about retirement. I’m planning the next set of tours, so the answer is really, ‘No, not really.’ ”

Review (Ross Raihala, Pioneer Press): “Indeed, 10 years on since we last saw the Stones in town, they barely seemed to age a day. At 71, Mick Jagger is true marvel who spent more than two hours leaping, prancing, pointing, clapping, pouting and wiggling.

“And he sang, too. He often slid up and around the beat, and usually let his backup singers handle the heavy lifting. But this is a guy who has danced on the line between awesome and ridiculous for his entire career, and he’s still closer to the former than the latter. (As for Keith Richards and Wood, they’ve looked old for 40 years now.)”

The Rolling Stones

  • When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24
  • Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, 401 Chicago Ave., Mpls.
  • Opening act: Black Pumas
  • Tickets: $496-$66 via ticketmaster.com
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Trump faces flurry of investigations beyond Jan. 6 probe

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Trump faces flurry of investigations beyond Jan. 6 probe

NEW YORK — As Donald Trump’s lawyers try to block the White House from releasing records to the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, the former president faces a flurry of other investigations that could come to a head in the coming weeks and the new year.

That includes two major state criminal investigations — one in New York and one in Georgia — and lawsuits concerning sexual assault allegations, a fight over an inheritance and questions of whether he should be held personally liable for inciting the insurrection.

Trump has long dismissed the investigations as nothing more than a politically motivated “witch hunt” that began with the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. But while Trump has spent most of his life dodging legal consequences, he is no longer shielded by the protections against indictment enjoyed by sitting presidents. And any charges — which would be the first against a former president in the nation’s history — could affect both his businesses and his future political prospects as he mulls running for a second term.

Here’s the latest on where the cases stand:

NEW YORK

New York prosecutors are investigating the former president’s business dealings and recently convened a new grand jury to hear evidence after the previous panel’s term ran out.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office is weighing whether to seek more indictments in the case, which resulted in tax fraud charges in July against Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, and its longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg. They are accused of cheating tax authorities through lucrative, untaxed fringe benefits.

Weisselberg is due back in court in July 2022.

Trump himself remains under investigation after District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who is leaving office at the end of the year, spent years fighting to access the former president’s tax records. Prosecutors have also been considering whether to seek charges against the company’s chief operating officer, Matthew Calamari Sr.

Investigators working for Vance and New York Attorney General Letitia James have spent more than two years looking at whether the Trump Organization misled banks or tax officials about the value of the company’s assets, inflating them to gain favorable loan terms or minimizing them to reap tax savings.

“I think it’s pretty clear that our investigation is active and ongoing,” Vance said Tuesday.

James’ office is involved in Vance’s criminal probe and is conducting its own civil investigation.

Separately, Trump is facing scrutiny over properties he owns in the New York City suburbs. Westchester County District Attorney Mimi E. Rocah subpoenaed records from the town of Ossining as it investigates whether Trump’s company misled officials to cut taxes for a golf course there, two people familiar with the probe told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

GEORGIA

In Atlanta, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened an investigation in January into possible attempts to interfere with the administration of the state’s 2020 election, which Trump narrowly lost.

In letters sent in February to top elected officials in the state — including Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — Willis instructed them to preserve all records related to the election, particularly those that may contain evidence of attempts to influence election officials.

The investigation includes a Jan. 2 phone call between Trump and Raffensperger in which Trump repeatedly and falsely asserts that the Republican secretary of state could change the certified results of the presidential election. A recording of the call was obtained the next day by multiple news organizations, including The Associated Press.

“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said. “Because we won the state.”

Willis has been relatively tight-lipped about the investigation, but her office has confirmed it is ongoing.

“All available evidence is being analyzed, whether gathered by this office, another investigative body or made public by the witnesses themselves. A decision on whether criminal charges are appropriate against any individual will be made when that process is complete,” spokesperson Jeff DiSantis said in an email.

Among the sources sure to be examined by Willis’ team is a book written by Raffensperger and published Nov. 2. It includes a transcript of the Jan. 2 call with Trump annotated with the secretary of state’s observations, including his belief that the president was threatening him at multiple points.

Willis earlier this year said she was also interested in the circumstances surrounding the sudden resignation on Jan. 4 of Bjay Pak, the U.S. attorney in Atlanta. Pak told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had originally planned to stay in the position until Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, but resigned weeks earlier because of pressure from Trump.

WASHINGTON

The attorney general for the District of Columbia, Karl Racine, said early this year that district prosecutors were investigating Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 insurrection and considering whether to charge him under a local law that criminalizes statements that motivate people to act violently.

There has been no indication, however, that that is likely. If Trump were to be charged, it would be a low-level misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of six months in jail.

LAWSUITS

In addition to the criminal probes underway, Trump also faces a number of civil suits, from scorned business investors, to his estranged niece, to Democratic lawmakers and Capitol Police officers who blame him for inciting the violence on Jan. 6.

That includes a lawsuit brought by the House Homeland Security chair, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, under a Reconstruction-era law called the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which prohibits violence or intimidation meant to prevent members of Congress or other federal officials from carrying out their constitutional duties.

In October, Trump was questioned behind closed doors under oath in a deposition for a lawsuit brought by protesters who say his security team assaulted them outside Trump Tower in the early days of his presidential campaign in 2015.

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Fuel in tap water alarms Pearl Harbor military families

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Fuel in tap water alarms Pearl Harbor military families

HONOLULU — Cheri Burness’ dog was the first to signal something was wrong with their tap water. He stopped drinking it two weeks ago. Then Burness started feeling stomach cramps. Her 12-year-old daughter was nauseous.

“It was just getting worse every day,” said Burness, whose husband is in the Navy.

Cheri Burness via AP

This 2021 photo provided by Cheri Burness shows Burness and her family, including dog Lilikoi, in car in Honolulu. Hundreds of military families living near Pearl Harbor have complained of stomach pain, nausea and other health ailments amid concerns the Navy’s water system may have been contaminated by a fuel leak.(Cheri Burness via AP)

Their family is among hundreds of military families living near Pearl Harbor with similar complaints after the Navy’s water system somehow became contaminated by petroleum.

The problems have afflicted one of the most important Navy bases in the world, home to submarines, ships and the commander of U.S. forces in the Indo-Pacific region. The issues may even threaten one of Honolulu’s most important aquifers and water sources.

The Navy said Thursday that tests had identified petroleum in its Red Hill well which taps into an aquifer near the base. Rear Adm. Blake Converse, Pacific Fleet deputy commander, told a town hall meeting the Navy took this well offline on Sunday because it was the closest well to affected housing areas.

Converse said the Navy will flush clean water through its distribution system to clear residual petroleum products from the water. The process, followed by testing to make sure it the water meets Environmental Protection Agency drinking standards, could take four to ten days, he said.

The Navy will also investigate how contaminants got into the well and fix it, he said.

The crisis came after the Navy on Nov. 22 said a water and fuel mixture had leaked into a fire suppression system drain line in a tunnel at a massive fuel storage facility 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) inland of Pearl Harbor. The Navy said it removed about 14,000 gallons (53,000 liters) of the mixture, and said the liquid hadn’t leaked into the environment.

The Navy said so far it’s received calls about a fuel odor or physical ailments from 680 homes in Navy housing and 270 in Army housing on the Navy’s water system. The Navy water system serves 93,000 people.

In the days after Thanksgiving, Burness’s daughter felt so sick she didn’t want to eat any leftovers, including potatoes, turnips and carrots that had been boiled in water.

“‘I don’t want you to have to throw out food because I know it’s expensive, but I can’t eat this Mom,’” Burness said her daughter told her.

On Sunday, Burness started seeing comments on social media from military families saying their tap water smelled like fuel. She didn’t smell it, but people told her to turn on her hot water and check. She did and smelled it too.

She told her family not to drink the water and not to wash their hair and face with it. She ordered private water delivery for $120 a month. They family has mostly been eating off of plastic and paper plates and eating out.

On Monday, when she gave her dog some bottled water, he immediately drank a full liter’s worth and then drank two more liters over the next 12 hours.

The Navy has since starting distributing bottled water and said said Marines would set up showers and laundry facilities connected to clean water.

The Army said it would help affected families move into hotels or new homes and the Navy is working on a similar program. The Navy is also setting up dedicated medical clinics.

Burness said her stomach cramps are about 85% better, but not over. Her daughter’s nausea has improved. But they are both now complaining of breathing issues.

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U.S. employers added a sluggish 210,000 jobs in November

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U.S. employers added a sluggish 210,000 jobs in November

WASHINGTON — America’s employers slowed the pace of their hiring in November, adding 210,000 jobs, the lowest monthly gain in nearly a year.

But Friday’s report from the Labor Department also showed that the nation’s unemployment rate tumbled from 4.6% to 4.2% evidence that many more people reported that they had a job. That is a historically low jobless rate though still above the pre-pandemic level of 3.5%.

Overall, the November jobs figures point to a job market and an economic recovery that look resilient though under threat from a spike in inflation, shortages of workers and supplies and the potential impact of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

For months, employers have been struggling with worker shortages because many people who lost jobs in the pandemic have not, for various reasons, returned to the workforce. But last month, more Americans came off the sidelines to look for jobs and were generally hired quickly.

That positive trend suggests that November was a healthier month for job growth than the modest 210,000 gain the government reported Friday in its survey of businesses. The unemployment rate is calculated from a separate survey of households. This survey found that a much larger 1.1 million more people reported that they were employed last month. The results of the two surveys typically match up over the long run but sometimes diverge sharply in a given month, as they did in November.

The survey of households found that the number of unemployed Americans sank in November to 6.9 million, not far above the pre-pandemic number of 5.7 million. And average wages, which have been rising as employers try to attract or keep workers, increased a strong 4.8% from a year ago.

The government’s survey of businesses showed a slowdown last month in hiring at restaurants, bars and hotels, which added just 23,000 jobs, down from 170,000 in October. That could reflect the effects of an uptick in COVID-19 cases last month and a reduction in outdoor dining.

Retailers cut 20,000 jobs, a sign that holiday hiring hasn’t been as strong as in previous years. But transportation and warehousing firms added 50,000 positions, which indicates that online retailers and shippers anticipate healthy online shopping.

The jobs outlook for the coming months has become hazier with the emergence of the omicron variant. Little is definitively known about omicron, and widespread business shutdowns are considered unlikely. Still, omicron could discourage some Americans from traveling, shopping and eating out in the coming months and potentially slow the economy.

For now, though, Americans are spending freely, and the economy is forecast to expand at a 7% annual rate in the final three months of the year, a big rebound from the 2.1% pace in the previous quarter, when the delta variant hobbled growth.

Nearly 600,000 people joined the workforce last month, increasing the proportion of Americans who are either working or looking for work. If that much-anticipated development continues, it could point to stronger job growth ahead.

The proportion of Americans who are in the workforce rose from 61.6% to 61.8%, the first significant increase since April.

Even as the jobless rate has steadily declined this year, the proportion of Americans who are working or looking for work has barely budged. A shortage of job-seekers tends to limit hiring and force companies to pay more to attract and keep employees. Higher pay can help sustain spending and growth. But it can also feed inflation if businesses raise prices to offset their higher labor costs, which they often do.

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