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A Week's Worth

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About that job? Revised growth numbers for the last quarter may finally prompt companies to step up hiring, economists say. The nation's gross domestic product grew by a strong 3.8 percent rate in the fourth quarter, up from the 3.1 percent originally reported. Some projections call for at least as much economic growth this quarter. That upbeat outlook propelled the Dow and the S&P 500 indexes to new highs for the year.

And that raise? Six of 10 employers said better wages might be an option when union contracts come up for renegotiation, according to a survey of 100 US companies by BNA Inc. But 7 of 10 employers still aim to cut healthcare and insurance benefits.

Big payout: The typical chief executive at a major corporation earned a $1.1 million bonus last year - up nearly 50 percent from the 2003 level and the largest percentage gain in at least five years, The Wall Street Journal found in a survey of 100 major corporations.

Bye-bye, digital divide: Thanks to a boom in telecommunications in poor countries, half the world's population now has access to a fixed-line telephone - and three-quarters can use a mobile network, says the World Bank.


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