A week's worth

Solid expansion: America's tally of economic output - gross domestic product - rose at an annual rate of 3.4 percent during the quarter that ended in June. That was below the 3.8 percent increase in the first quarter, but represented the ninth straight time that quarterly growth exceeded 3 percent. So far, the twin challenges of rising interest rates and oil prices, which again topped $60 a barrel, have not sunk the economy. With respectable growth and unemployment already near a four-year low, the stage could be set for a pickup in hiring this fall, some economists say. The encouraging data and strong corporate earnings reports also buoyed Wall Street. The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed out July with a strong 6.2 percent gain for the month - its best showing since December 2003. But the market's rally showed signs of faltering last week, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1 percent for the week.

Doubts about the boss? Although two-thirds of workers say they feel a strong commitment to their company, it's probably not top managers who are inspiring them, finds a survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. Only 2 in 5 trust top management "to always communicate honestly" or to do "a good job of confronting issues before they become major problems."

Women's progress in the workplace is slowing in key areas, which means they won't match men's influence in this decade or the next, finds the Committee of 200, an organization of women business owners and corporate leaders. The group's leadership index found slowdowns in women's entrance to corporate boards, access to venture capital, and moves to more responsible line jobs from staff jobs.

Monthly parking rates are up 3.7 percent over the past year in top cities, according to a survey by Colliers International. The priciest: midtown Manhattan ($492 a month) for an unreserved spot, followed by Boston ($425), and San Francisco ($321). The cheapest city to stow your car? Phoenix ($37).

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