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The statewide data released by the Labor Department on Friday provide one of the last comprehensive looks at the health of the U.S. economy ahead of Election Day, now a little more than two weeks away. Voters will get one more update on the national unemployment rate just days before the election. But the state reports matter greatly to the Obama and Romney campaigns, which believe the public's impressions of the economy are shaped mostly by local conditions rather than national ones.

In Ohio, perhaps the most crucial battleground state for both Obama and Romney, the unemployment rate ticked down last month to 7 percent from 7.2 percent, below the national average of 7.8 percent.

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US home sales dip 1.7 percent on tight inventory

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ U.S. sales of previously occupied homes fell in September after hitting a two-year high in August, in part because there were fewer homes available for sale.

The National Association of Realtors said Friday that sales dipped 1.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.75 million. That's down from a rate of 4.83 million in August, which was the highest in more than two years.

Sales are still up 11 percent from a year earlier. They remain below the more than 5.5 million that economists consider consistent with a healthy market.

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GE 3Q earnings rise; revenue disappoints

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ General Electric Co.'s transformation into a simpler industrial company seems to be helping its bottom line.

The top line, though, is lagging slightly.

GE's net income rose 49 percent in the third quarter to $3.49 billion, or 33 cents per share. On an adjusted basis, GE earned 36 cents per share, in line with analysts' expectations and up 13 percent from a year earlier.

Revenue rose $1 billion, or 3 percent, to $36.35 billion. Analysts were looking for revenue of $36.95 billion and GE shares fell more than 3 percent, part of a broad market decline.

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