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A Week's Worth: Quick takes on the world of work and money

The biggest Dow drop since 2003; e-mail lands more workers in hot water; McDonald's teen labor pool shrinks.

Where the Dow Jones Industrial Average goes from here will be watched intently on Wall Street after it fell 311 points Thursday and 208 more Friday, closing the week off by 4.2 percent. The decline was the steepest since March 2003.

E-mail messages are landing senders and their employers in more hot water than ever before, results of an annual survey show. Of 308 large companies polled for online security vendor Proofpoint, 45.5 percent reported disciplining staffers for abuse of e-mail policy. Twenty-six percent said sensitive information had been exposed in outgoing e-mail and 29.1 percent were ordered to produce such messages by a court or regulatory commission.

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McDonald's? Having trouble finding teenagers to work in its outlets? Believe it, says outplacement specialist Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The percentage of 16- to 19-year-olds holding or seeking part-time jobs (such as at fast-food franchises) has shrunk from 55 to 42 in the past 20 years, it says. One consequence: Such employers may have to eliminate services or turn to technology to limit dependence on the teen labor pool.

Finished your Christmas shopping yet? Don't laugh. ShopLocal.com, an online provider of services to mass retailers, surveyed more than 2,000 adults earlier this month and found that 33 percent already have crossed some items off their gift lists. Such as? Laptop computers and iPhones, to cite two. But only 0.1 percent said their holiday shopping was complete.