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A Week's Worth

The S-L-O-W recovery: The economy lost some fizz this spring, posting a surprisingly low 3 percent annual growth rate during the second quarter after a 4.5 percent spurt during the first quarter. The culprit: a sharp slowdown in consumer spending. It rose at an annual rate of just 1 percent. That's the smallest rise since 2001, when the economy was nose-diving.

That's a pay raise? The 2.5 percent increase in wages and salaries over the past year (ending in June) was the smallest in at least 22 years of Labor Department records. Only one other period matched such meager growth: the 12 months ending in March. In sharp contrast, the cost of worker benefits, such as healthcare and pensions, rose 7.2 percent over the past 12 months through June. That's the biggest gain in 14 years.

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Want a new job? Bosses certainly seem to. When ExecuNet, a recruitment firm, surveyed 278 executives, it found that more than two-thirds weren't satisfied with their current position - and 94 percent of those dissatisfied were scouting around for a new job. Top reasons for discontent: "poor company culture" (16 percent) and "limited advancement opportunities" (15 percent).

By the numbers: Average rise in workplace e-mail in North America since 2002: 13 percent. Average rise in nonessential, time-wasting office messages that aren't spam: 41 percent, according to Christina Cavanagh of the University of Western Ontario.


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