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A Week's Worth

• Inflation sighting: Due to surging oil prices, the price of imported goods rose 1.6 percent last month - the biggest rise in a single month since February of last year. The price of oil imports has jumped 43.9 percent in the past year. Even discounting energy and food prices, the core Consumer Price Index has risen at a 3 percent annual pace this year, much higher than last year's 1.1 percent gain.

• Risk-takers: Americans know it's risky to work abroad, but only 13 percent of "globally mobile" workers say they'd refuse an overseas assignment based on world events, says a survey by Cendant Mobility and Willamette University. Better pay also ranks low, motivating only 2 percent of those surveyed. The largest group, 27 percent, say they moved overseas for an interesting career challenge.

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• Teens don't work: The share of employed teenagers has fallen to 36.8 percent, the lowest since 1948, says the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. Traditional young people's jobs are now going to laid-off adults or retirees reentering the job market.

• Invest in mulch: Sure, you can remodel the kitchen and recoup an estimated 75 to 80 percent of your investment when you sell the house. But landscaping investments may do even better. For example: $500 in lawn improvements is likely to yield 400 percent, according to a study of 2,000 realtors by Homegain.com. Clemson University and the University of Maryland found that homebuyers will pay up to 11.3 percent above the asking price for homes with well-designed landscaping.

• The best way to keep a job? Become a dad. The men with the most job stability are married and have children between the ages of 6 and 17, according to an analysis of unpublished government data by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a global outplacement firm. The fathers' average unemployment rate last year was 3.5 percent, less than half the 7.5 percent for men with no children.


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