A Week's Worth

The 15th straight rise in interest rates by the Federal Reserve sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the opposite direction. It closed down 1.5 percent for the week Friday for its poorest performance in more than two months.

The No. 1 cause of layoffs in the US hasn't been banking mergers or the struggles of the auto industry, the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute says. Instead, it found that global competition has displaced low-skilled manufacturing employees, especially in rural areas. Hardest hit: the South, which lost 616,000 jobs between 1997 and 2003.

If there was any doubt about how vital information technology is to business, a poll of hundreds of top executives has found a wide gap between those who say their companies spend too little on it (46 percent) and those who say it costs too much (10 percent). Forty-four percent thought their IT spending was "about right." The business services company Managed Objects released its survey last week.

Don't appreciate being talked down to? You're not alone. The temporary staffing company Randstad USA asked 2,318 adults what was most annoying about their workplaces. Atop the list (at 44 percent) was a supervisor's or co-worker's condescending tone. Next was being reprimanded publicly (37 percent). The rest, in order: micromanaging, loud conversations, ringing cellphones, and the use of speakerphones in common areas.

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