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Southeast, Midwest see tougher job losses

WASHINGTON — Metropolitan areas across the Southeast and Midwest are seeing some of the steepest increases in joblessness, stung by their dependence on factories serving the struggling housing and auto sectors.

That is one of the key trends that emerges from a Labor Department report released Wednesday showing December unemployment rates rose in 98 percent of the country's largest metropolitan areas from the same period last year.

Bill bars foreign hiring at bailed-out banks

Two senators on Wednesday proposed requiring bailed-out banks to hire only Americans for one year, after an investigation by The Associated Press showed banks receiving the most federal aid had requested visas for thousands of foreign workers even as they laid off employees .

The bill by Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, would apply to more than 200 banks that have accepted bailout money. They would be barred from hiring foreigners who hold special visas reserved for certain skilled and advanced-degree jobs. Both senators are longtime critics of abuses they see in the visa program.

"It is obscene and vulgar for these huge banks getting taxpayer bailouts to use the bailouts to throw American workers on the street and bring in foreign workers," Mr. Sanders said.


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