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macon.com Midday Update: Wall Street down on dreary jobs report; Gwinnett County to fine those who don't recycle; governors bet on Florida/Alabama game;

News of a rapidly weakening job sent stocks falling Friday as investors feared that the recession will be deeper and more prolonged than many have expected. The major indexes were all down more than 1 percent and the Dow Jones industrials fell 180 points.

The Labor Department's report that employers slashed 533,000 jobs in November came in much higher than the 320,000 that economists forecast. The job losses were severe enough to add to expectations that Washington will have to take even bigger steps to boost the economy.

Although stocks fell after the report, analysts said Friday's retreat likely would have been steeper if the market hadn't tumbled in the final hour of trading Thursday in anticipation of a weak reading.

Job losses were widespread, hitting manufacturing, construction, retail, financial and other sectors. It was the biggest monthly loss of jobs since 1974.

While the rise in the unemployment rate wasn't as steep as the 6.8 percent forecast, investors clearly believe the employment outlook remains bleak - especially as the layoffs keep coming. On Thursday, bellwether companies like AT&T Inc. and DuPont Co. announced they were cutting thousands of jobs.

In midmorning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 180.40, or 2.15 percent, to 8,195.84 after falling 216 points Thursday.

Associated Press

Gwinnett County fining residents who don't recycle

Gwinnett County residents may have to pay a $500 fine if they don't recycle.

Under a new solid waste ordinance, the suburban Atlanta county penalizes those who throw recyclable items in the trash. The aim is to meet a state policy that requires counties and cities to reduce solid waste by 25 percent.

Local governments reaching that goal will get preference on applications for new landfills.

Gwinnett's recycling program is set to be up and running by July. The county will haul away a list of 35 recyclable items, appliances and furniture.

No other counties in metro Atlanta require recycling, though most offer free hauling as part of trash removal.Associated Press

Governors bet on Florida-Alabama championship game

The governors of Florida and Alabama have upped the ante on the outcome of the upcoming Southeastern Conference championship game.

The Sunshine State's Gov. Charlie Crist has agreed that if the Gators lose to the Crimson Tide on Saturday, he'll send Alabama Gov. Bob Riley a box of Florida oranges. If the Gators prevail, Riley will ship over a rack of ribs from the famous Dreamland Barbeque in Tuscaloosa.

The highly anticipated game between Alabama (12-0) and Florida (11-1) takes place in Atlanta. It's being billed as a showdown between a team known for its power and one famous for its speed.

Associated Press

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