10 Key Business Data Points for Dec.5

Listed below are the top 10 business data news items, culled from the most authoritative business news and data sources. Today's data points to U.S. worker productivity, layoffs, retailer sales, money management, global economic growth and more...

U.S. Productivity Rises 0.2 Percent; Labor Costs Climb Less Than Forecast Bloomberg
Productivity rose at an annual rate of 0.2 percent in the third quarter after a 1.2 percent gain the previous three months, the Labor Department said today in Washington. A measure of labor costs rose at a 2.3 percent pace and was up 2.9 percent in the 12 months ended in September, less than first estimated.

November layoffs rise by 11 percent: survey Reuters
Planned U.S. layoffs rose 11 percent in November from the previous month, led by a heavy round of job cuts in the automotive industry, an independent report showed on Tuesday.

PayPal's Thiel Scores 230 Percent Gain With Soros-Style Fund Bloomberg
Thiel, now 39, has emerged as one of the most successful hedge fund managers in the country. He's parlayed an initial $10 million fund into a firm with $2.1 billion in assets under management -- and more than tripled investors' money.

Microsoft Sees 13%-15% Growth In Revenue for 2007, CFO Says Wall Street Journal
Microsoft Corp. remains on track to achieve revenue growth of 13% to 15% in fiscal 2007, with sales of its new Vista software product likely to be a key contributor, Chief Financial Officer Christopher Liddell said Tuesday. Mr. Liddell said the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant also expects earnings-per share-growth of 13% to 15% for the 2007 financial year.

U.S. Retailers' Sales Rose 3.1% Last Week, Group Says Bloomberg
Sales at stores open at least a year in the seven days through Dec. 2 were the strongest since the period ended Oct. 14, when sales increased 3.9 percent, ICSC and UBS Securities LLC said today in a statement.

Charles Schwab earnings could hit $1 billion Reuters
Discount brokerage Charles Schwab Corp. said on Monday its earnings could hit $1 billion this year, or almost $100 million ahead of its plan.

U.S. predicts bumper year in arms sales Reuters
The U.S. government is on its way to brokering about $20 billion in arms sales in the fiscal year that began October 1, steady with last year's near-record total, the Pentagon official responsible for such sales said on Monday.

Global Expansion Threatened by Vehicle, Phone Glut Bloomberg
Just-in-time inventories are turning into just-too-much at companies around the world. Factory inventories worldwide rose faster than sales last quarter for the first time since 2001, according to economists at UBS AG in London.

Pending home sales index falls Reuters
Pending sales of existing U.S. homes fell 1.7 percent in October but held above the low hit in July, suggesting the housing market is stabilizing, a real estate trade association said on Monday.

Emerging US slowdown casts shadow over global economy, says UBS AFP
Switzerland's largest banking group, UBS, has said that the slowdown in the US economy will cast a shadow over global economic prospects in 2007, making financial markets more volatile.

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