A Week's Worth

Downshift: Job growth turned sluggish again, with the economy adding only 112,000 new positions last month. That's nearly half what economists had expected and far off October's pace, when 330,000 jobs were added, many of them related to hurricane cleanup.

Diversify, hah! Households with fewer stocks make more profitable trades than households with more diversified accounts, say researchers at the University of Michigan and University of Illinois. Their advantage is about 1 percentage point over the year following a stock purchase - 3 percentage points for households with portfolios of $25,000 or more.

Really small business: Nonemployer firms - those with one or more owners but no paid employees - represent 70 percent of all businesses. In 2002 (the latest Census figures available), the biggest jump in such businesses was in the landscaping sector, followed by janitorial services, and nail salons.

Convergence: Today, checks account for 53 percent of consumer bill payments while the Internet handles only 13 percent. But by 2007, each will account for 29 percent of consumer bill payments, forecasts Celent, a global research and consulting firm.

Oh (real) Christmas tree! Americans plan to buy 24 million live trees this year, slightly more than last year, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, but that number is nowhere near the 62.9 million artificial trees displayed last year.

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