A Week's Worth

More spending: Consumers flocked to stores in September, boosting retail sales by 1.5 percent. That's the best showing since March. But the federal deficit hit a record $413 billion for fiscal 2004, which means Congress will have to raise the $7.4 trillion debt ceiling after next month's elections. On Wall Street, the Dow fell below 10000 for the 24th time since it first crossed that threshold five years ago.

Getting political: Better than 1 in 10 executives have been asked whom they would vote for during a job interview, according to a survey by executive job-search service It's not illegal during an interview, but federal, state, and local laws do protect employees from threats, discipline, retaliation, and rewards for their political decisions.

Hiring on hold: Nearly 3 in 4 small firms think business will grow over the next six months, according to American Express. But only a third plan to add staff - down from 46 percent in April.

Too cold to work? Turning down the thermostat from 77 to 68 degrees F. reduces office productivity. A Cornell University professor found that typing mistakes rose 74 percent while overall typing output fell 46 percent.

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