The best job opportunities may now exist in the most unlikely places: among the nation's biggest job cutters.
Although unemployment reached 6.4 percent in June, the time that out-of-work managers and executives spent looking for jobs dropped in the second quarter from 4.2 months to 3.4, according to a recent survey by international outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
"The drop in job search times is the strongest evidence yet that the employment situation may rebound by year-end," said John Challenger, the firm's chief executive, in a release last week.
According to the Challenger survey, sectors such as telecommunications, computer- and industrial-goods manufacturing, and government and finance may be ripe with job opportunities. Combined, those sectors have cut more than 1.7 million jobs since 2001.
A Challenger survey of vacancies posted on Internet recruiting sites found an estimated 71,700 job openings among the 10 industries that have had the highest number of job cuts over the past 36 months.
"The chances of finding a job in these struggling areas are greatly improved by the fact that so many other job seekers avoid them," Mr. Challenger said.
Faced with tight budgets, fewer Americans are vacationing this summer. And among those who are, about a quarter are paying with credit cards.
Of the 46 percent of Americans who plan to travel more than 75 miles from home, nearly a quarter - 23 percent, just as last year - plan to charge their getaways on credit cards, says a poll by the Cambridge Consumer Credit Index.
Sixty-eight percent will pay for their vacations out of checking or savings accounts (a 3 percent increase over last year), while 4 percent will withdraw money from an investment account, and 2 percent expect to borrow from either family or friends.
Not surprisingly, differences in a household's financial status affect vacation-spending plans. Sixty-seven percent of those who earn more than $75,000 will vacation, compared with 31 percent of those earning less than $25,000.
"Consumers are being more cautious about spending money on vacations than they were a year ago," says Jordan Goodman, spokesperson for the Index. The findings are a result of a nationwide telephone poll of some 1,000 adults.
America's biggest carbon-dioxide-emitting firms appear to be slow in reporting efforts to confront global-warming issues, according to a new report commissioned by CERES, a coalition of investors and environmental groups.
The report profiled 20 of the world's largest companies, comparing their actions with a 14-point "Climate-Change Governance Checklist" developed by CERES to measure corporate progress.
The report found that while all the companies are beginning to measure their greenhouse-gas emissions, only 12 have reported on climate-change issues in their securities filings, and only nine are projecting trends in greenhouse-gas emissions.
It also found that US companies, in particular, seem to discount the global-warming threat, while foreign companies are more likely to report on the financial risks to investors and undertake strategies to mitigate climate change.
The electric-power industry scored lowest on the checklist. In the oil industry, US-based ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil have pursued only four or five of the CERES action items.
The report added that European competitors are gaining a foothold in renewable-energy technologies, while Japanese companies have taken the lead in introducing hybrid gas-electric vehicles that cut tailpipe emissions.