A Week's Worth

In the first week of trading in 2007, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.52 percent. Analysts speculated that the drop-off was the result of investor concerns about interest rates. They aren't likely to be cut anytime soon, given a surge in jobs and wages.

US automotive sales dropped 2.6 percent in 2006, but at least one company wasn't stuck in reverse – Toyota Motor Corp., whose vehicles have been popular with American consumers. Analysts credit the company's reputation for quality and fuel-efficiency for helping it move into the No. 3 auto-selling spot for the first time during a full calendar year, passing DaimlerChrysler AG. Many predict Toyota will also overtake Ford this year and trail only General Motors. By selling more than 2.5 million vehicles, Toyota increased its market share more than two percentage points to 15.4 percent, according to Autodata Inc.

For the first time in six years, planned job cuts in the US totaled less than 1 million in 2006: 839,822, to be exact. This is according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., the global outplacement consultancy. Overall, job cuts fell 22 percent from their 2005 level. But the news wasn't encouraging in the auto industry, which led all other industries by trimming 158,766 jobs, or 50 percent more than in '05.

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