Keeping track ...

Fund flows

mutual-fund investors jumped ship in August, pulling money out of mutual finds as the global-currency crisis spread. But they're back, pumping billions into funds and driving stocks to last week's record highs.

But a record number of US workers may not share the enthusiasm. Layoffs last month reached 103,166, says Challenger, Gray & Christmas, more than double November's level. For 1998, layoffs totalled 677,795, the most since 1989.

But economists call such turnover normal, and the unemployment rate fell in December to 4.3 percent. Employment for the month grew at the year's fastest rate.

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