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Business Highlights

They're trying to get the most of their Super Bowl ads, which cost nearly $4 million for a 30-second spot, by drawing more people online. Companies that advertise during the Super Bowl get a 20 percent increase in Web traffic on the day of the game, according to the analytics arm of software maker Adobe. They also have a higher online audience than average, the week after.

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Obama decides not to extend term of jobs council

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ President Barack Obama is letting his jobs council expire, cutting off one source of input from business leaders while unemployment remains stubbornly high.

Obama formed the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in January 2011, when unemployment was about 9 percent. It's now 7.8 percent, though more than 12 million people are out of work.

Obama's executive order establishing the council said it would go out of business Jan. 31, 2013. The White House said Thursday that Obama had no plans to renew its charter.

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US consumer spending up just 0.2 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ U.S. consumers increased their spending in December at a slower pace, while their income grew by the largest amount in eight years. Income surged because companies rushed to pay dividends before income taxes increased on high earners.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that consumer spending rose 0.2 percent last month, compared with a 0.4 percent increase in November.

Income jumped 2.6 percent in December from November, the biggest gain since December 2004. The main driver of the increase was dividend payments, which companies accelerated to beat the possible January rise in tax rates.

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Weekly US jobless aid applications rise to 368,000

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose sharply last week but remained at a level consistent with moderate hiring.

Weekly applications for unemployment benefits rose 38,000 to a seasonally adjusted 368,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The increase comes after applications plummeted in the previous two weeks to five-year lows. Applications fell by a combined 45,000 in the second and third weeks of January.

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