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Lean times for law school graduates; Hedge-fund manager to repay investors; Unemployment drops in the Rust Belt; Public pensions look worse than ever; Apples's underpaid store employees

Lean times for law school graduatesOnly 55 percent of 2011 law school graduates managed to find a full-time, long-term job requiring a law degree within nine months of graduating.The Wall Street Journal

Hedge-fund manager to repay investorsHedge-fund manager Ezra Merkin has agreed to pay $405 million to his former investors for secretly feeding their money to convicted Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff. Merkin’s funds lost $1.2 billion when Madoff’s scheme collapsed in December 2008. Reuters.com

Unemployment drops in the Rust BeltDrops in unemployment in the nation’s Rust Belt could boost President Obama’s re-election hopes. Michigan leads the country, with an almost 5 percentage point drop in joblessness over the past two years, while Ohio comes in second, with a nearly 3-point decline. TheDailyBeast.com

Public pensions look worse than everStricter accounting rules approved this week make the state of public pensions in the U.S. look even worse than before. Under the revised rules, state and local pension plans had assets that would cover only 57 percent of their obligations in 2010, down from 76 percent.The Wall Street Journal 

Apples's underpaid store employeesLast year, Apple’s 327 global stores earned $5,647 in sales per square foot, more than any other U.S. retailer and almost double that of the No. 2 earner, Tiffany & Co. Dividing the company’s total revenues by its 30,000 store employees yields sales of $473,000 per worker. The average store employee makes $11.91 per hour, or about $25,000 a year. The New York Times

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