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Job outlook rises as report suggests hiring

WASHINGTON --- June might turn out to have been a good month to find a job after all.

A private report said businesses hired twice as many workers as economists had expected. Applications for unemployment benefits have reached a seven-week low. And more small businesses say they plan to increase hiring in the next three months, a trade association said.

The brighter outlook for jobs emerged one day before the government will issue the June employment report, regarded as the most reliable gauge of job creation.

Economists responded to the latest data by raising their forecasts for hiring in June. Many now estimate that employers added at least 120,000 jobs. Some are predicting as many as 200,000 net new jobs for June.

JPMorgan settles on charges of bid-rigging

WASHINGTON --- JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay $211 million after admitting one of its divisions rigged dozens of bidding competitions to win business from state and local governments.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC made at least 93 secret deals with companies that handled the bidding processes in 31 states, the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission said Thursday. Those deals allowed the bank to peek at competitors' offers.

Banks help municipalities invest the money they raise from bond offerings so that they can earn interest before paying for projects. They compete by submitting to governments the best yield they can offer.

The alleged bid-rigging deprived governments of a true competitive process that would produce the best returns on their investments, Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney said in a statement.

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