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Today in business: 5 things you need to know
Job openings increase, China vows to stop hackers, and more in our roundup of the business stories that are making news and driving opinion
Many of the country's available jobs are in the retail industry.
Many of the country's available jobs are in the retail industry. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

1. NUMBER OF U.S. JOB OPENINGS RISES
The number of jobs available in the U.S. bounced up to 3.7 million in January from 3.6 million the month before, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. The figures marked the latest in a series of signs pointing to modest improvement in the labor market. The budding job opportunities, many of them vacant retail positions, suggest companies are expecting stronger demand in 2013, which could nudge the unemployment rate down from 7.7 percent over the coming months. "We've got a long way to go to get back to a fully employed economy," economist James Glasssman of JPMorgan Chase said, "but we are on the road." [Bloomberg]
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2. CHINA SAYS IT WILL FIGHT HACKING
The Chinese government said Tuesday that it would cooperate with the U.S. to prevent cyberattacks that have hit an estimated 140 foreign companies, most of them American. The promise came after the Obama administration called for Beijing to take "serious steps" to stop the hacking, which a private cybersecurity firm said had been traced to a Chinese military unit. "Cyberspace needs rules and cooperation, not wars," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying. [Washington Post]
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3. ANDROID TABLETS TO OVERTAKE IPADS
Shipments of tablets powered by Google's Android system are expected to pass sales of Apple's iPad for the first time later this year, research firm International Data Corp (IDC) said on Tuesday. In 2013, iPad shipments will account for 46 percent of the market, down from 51 percent last year, and Android devices will grow to 49 percent from 42 percent last year as consumers pick from a widening array of cheap Android tablets. In another sign of shifting tastes, one in every two tablets shipped these days is a smaller tablet like the iPad mini, and the market for the more compact devices should continue to grow. [Dallas Business Journal]
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4. ENTREPRENEURS SHRUG OFF ECONOMIC STORM CLOUDS
Small-business owners gained confidence in February even as they were bracing for the government spending cutbacks that began taking effect in March. The National Federation of Independent Business reported Tuesday that its optimism index rose by 1.9 percentage points to 90.8 last month, the third straight month of gains as recession clouds lift. Businesses said they would invest in equipment and stockpiles, although they remained somewhat pessimistic about the prospects for economic and earnings growth. [Bloomberg]
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5. ROVIO LAUNCHES ANGRY BIRDS CARTOON
The makers of Angry Birds are poised to reach a marketing milestone this weekend, with the launch of a cartoon series based on the highly addictive mobile apps. Rovio, the company behind Angry Birds games, says the cartoons will be about the adventures of the rotund birds featured in the games. Fans will be able to download Angry Birds Toons via on-demand services in the U.S., and on several TV channels overseas. The cartoons come on the heels of a marketing push that has seen the game characters sold as stuffed animals and plastered on T-shirts and soda cans. [Reuters]

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami HeraldFox News, and ABC News.

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