Originally created 09/02/01

Pocket change

HIRING HOT SPOTS: Despite announcements during the past several months of hundreds of thousands of job cuts, demographic trends likely mean that demand for workers will surge in the next decade.

"Many analysts believe that there may be 20 million jobs unfilled by the end of 2008," Rick Galbreath, an Illinois human-resources consultant, writes in an analysis for the Society for Human Resource Management.

Job openings should crop up in almost every field, he says, but information-technology workers will be the most sought after. Health care, human services and education also will be hot fields.

AUDITING IRS: A secret monitoring by the U.S. Treasury Department of Internet use among employees of the Internal Revenue Service may explain why the number of audits is down these days: More than half the time IRS employees are online they're surfing for their own benefit.

An analysis of seven days of monitoring over a two-month period this year found that employees spent 51 percent of their online time in activities such as personal e-mail, online chatting, shopping and checking personal finances and stocks.

B&B & MORE: Georgia and South Carolina are the only Southern states to have inns included in American Historic Inns Inc.'s 2001 Top 10 Most Romantic Inns. They are Melhana Plantation in Thomasville, Ga., and Governor's House Inn in Charleston, S.C.

All 10 inns were built in 1929. They're judged on romantic setting, luxurious decor, hospitality and overall romantic mystique.

HOME AT WORK: The proposed Ford Windstar Solutions minivan could be more than a toy for busy professionals. Try home away from home.

Plans call for a miniature washer/dryer,microwave, fridge and trash compactor.

This vehicle could reduce commuting. Its driver could camp out in the company parking lot.

RESTAURANT REALTY: Ryan's Family Steak Houses and Lone Star Steakhouse are on a short list of publicly traded restaurant companies that could be buyout candidates in the next few years.

Mark Kalinowski, an industry analyst with Salomon Smith Barney in New York, lists a half dozen or so chains he thinks are likely targets because they have market capitalizations between $40 million and $600 million, are trading at reasonable levels, have debt-to-equity ratios of less than 50 percent and have positive operating cash flow.

VACATION VACUUM:You're probably on vacation if you ask:

How long is a one-day pass good for?

What time does the 9 o'clock ferry leave?

How many miles of undiscovered cave are there?

Does the bus tour go the same places as the boat tour?

What's Bill Kirby's address?


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