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Loose change

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 23, 2002

LABOR PULSE: If you're looking for clues to the state of the economy, look to your company's receptionist. If she's a temp worker, that's a good sign. Labor analysts and staffing industry experts say changes in the level of temporary hiring traditionally are leading indictors of the overall labor market's direction. A decline in temp workers since last year is leveling off, and experts expect modest growth for the rest of this year.

STAND BY YOUR BRAND: Many U.S. workers say they sought jobs at their companies because of the positive images the businesses project. Of 1,002 workers polled by Maritz Research, 49 percent said their companies' brand names and image were major draws. Such "brand pride" also was strongly associated with better job satisfaction and better relationships with people at work.

THAT'S SIR CEO TO YOU: AstraZeneca chief executive Thomas McKillop and HSBC Holdings chief executive Keith Whitson have been awarded British knighthoods. The awards allow the recipients to call themselves "sir." But they can't use the titles until they're formally bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace later this year.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Banks make no secret of preferring high net-worth customers, and observers say that could hurt them in the long run. "Banks are missing a huge opportunity to cultivate the next generation of customer relationships," says Charlene Stern of NewGround, a branding company for the financial services industry. As young adults begin to amass wealth, they are likely to take their business elsewhere.

SILVER IS GOLD: Gold may be the standard, but silver is the most precious color for attracting car buyers, the folks at Chrysler say. One out of every four vehicles Chrysler sells is silver, says Margaret Hackstedde, director of color, fabric and mastering design. The automaker plans to introduce more shades of silver for the 2003 model year. Silver also was voted the most popular color in 2001 in an annual survey by Dupont Automotive. White placed second.

-- Compiled by Cathy Keim from Times wires.

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