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Job creation skewed to services-related industries, which added 132,000, while goods producers grew by 29,000, the lowest increase since March. Government jobs declined by 6,000.

Health care and professional and business services added the largest number of workers with 32,000 apiece. Manufacturing rose by 27,000, while transportation and warehousing contributed 25,000.

Heading into the holiday season, retail jobs edged higher by 18,000, though clothing stores reported a net decline of 14,000. Electronics and appliances stores lost 11,000, as did sporting goods, hobby and book stores.

Those losses were offset by a jump of 39,000 in general merchandise stores and 10,000 for miscellaneous retailers.

The report comes amid questions over whether the above-trend growth in 2018, the best since the recession ended in mid-2009, can continue as fiscal stimulus fades and interest rates rise. Financial markets have been skittish lately, posting aggressive gains and losses as the major stock market averages have been in and out of correction territory.

Policymakers at the Federal Reserve are watching the jobs numbers closely as they prepare for an expected interest rate hike later this month.

In addition to the November jobs report falling below expectations, October’s count was revised lower from an initially reported 250,000 to 237,000. September’s total was revised up from 118,000 to 119,000.

Those considered not in the labor force rose by 60,000 to 95.94 million. However, the size of the labor force also grew by 133,000 to 162.77 million. On net, the labor force participation rate was unchanged at 62.9 percent.

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Trump urges European allies to take back hundreds of ISIS fighters

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President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019.

T.J. Kirkpatrick | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019.

The United States is asking its European allies to “take back over 800” ISIS fighters that have been captured in Syria and put them on trial, President Donald Trump tweeted late on Saturday.

“The Caliphate is ready to fall,” he said on the social media site. “The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them…”

U.S.-backed fighters in Syria are poised to capture the so-called Islamic State’s last, tiny enclave on the Euphrates, Reuters reported Saturday citing the battle commander, bringing its self-declared caliphate to the brink of total defeat.



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Heather Nauert withdraws from consideration as UN ambassador

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U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert speaks during a press conference in Washington, DC. 

Yasin Ozturk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert speaks during a press conference in Washington, DC. 

U.S. President Donald Trump’s choice to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Heather Nauert, has withdrawn from consideration for the job for family reasons, according to a statement issued by the State Department on Saturday.

Nauert was State Department spokeswoman when Trump chose her for the U.N. position after working as a host for the conservative Fox News Channel. She had been criticized by Democrats for her lack of diplomatic experience.

“The past two months have been grueling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw my name from consideration,” Nauert said in the statement.

The statement did not specify the hardship on her family but the Washington Post said Nauert’s husband and children had remained in New York while she was working in Washington.

The New York Times, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, said Nauert withdrew from consideration because she had a nanny who was in the United States legally but did not have the proper work visa.

The White House had no information on who might be the next in line for the U.N. job.

Trump had announced on Dec. 7 he would nominate Nauert for the U.N. position to replace Nikki Haley, who resigned at the end of 2018. Haley was a former South Carolina governor who also had little experience in world affairs before taking the ambassador position.

The White House had not yet formally submitted Nauert’s nomination to the Senate.

Nauert joined the State Department as spokeswoman in April 2017, three months into the Trump administration. She was named acting undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs in early 2018.

The role of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is a highly visible international position. While Nauert had little diplomatic experience, other nations with veto power on the U.N. Security Council are represented by ambassadors with decades of foreign policy work.

“She’s clearly not qualified for this job but these days it seems that the most important qualification is that you show up on Donald Trump’s TV screen,” Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said of Nauert on CNN in December.

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Historic rally may set investors up for pain

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Money manager Douglas Gordon is worried about a potentially widespread problem in long-term investors’ portfolios.

Gordon, who’s instrumental in building Russell Investments’ asset allocation strategies, believes many investors haven’t rebalanced their portfolios to reflect the historic 2019 stock market rally.

According to Gordon, the market rally’s robust gains are tilting investors too far into stocks.

The bottom line: If there’s another pullback, it’ll leave them wide open to losses that may have been avoidable.

“It’s a good time to re-assess where you’re at with respect to being diversified in a multi-asset solution,” the firm’s senior portfolio manager said Friday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.”

Since the Christmas Eve plunge, the S&P 500 has soared 18 percent. Because of the market’s sharp rebound, Gordon suspects a 3 to 5 percent sell-off could strike stocks in the coming weeks.

For protection, Gordon recommends taking some profits from the historic rally. Plus, he’d consider going overseas, a strategy he’s employing right now as part of a balanced allocation strategy.

“I’d probably right now prefer to take my higher beta exposures maybe in EM [emerging markets],” said Gordon, who’s responsible for $48.5 billion of the firm’s assets.

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