PODCAST: Planned layoffs hit four month low, spending more on pets

Here are today's top headlines from the Marketplace Morning Report and from around the web.

The job placement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas said this morning that the number of planned layoffs at U.S. companies hit a four month low last month. And payroll processor ADP said private companies hired more than 100,000 people in October.

And home mortgage applications rose slightly last month according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, but the real estate market continues in the tank.

The U.S. homeownership rate climbed to 66.3 percent during the third quarter while the percentage of empty rental units also rose, a government report showed Wednesday.

Germany's Finance Minister said today Greece should stick to the original European rescue plan, and avoid the prospect of a referendum that could throw the bailout into doubt.

Computer maker Lenovo -- the world's second biggest PC brand -- said today profit was up 88 percent for its last three months. But Lenovo also said flooding in Thailand may weaken its outlook.

As we wait for the Fed to wrap up a two day meeting, no big policy announcements are expected.

A woman in Berlin went to the butcher to pick up a bag she pre-ordered of cold cuts and veal steaks. Instead, she got a bag with about $2800. Apparently, the bags looked similar. The woman said she was flabbergasted by the mistake. And when she finally informed the butcher of the error, she got a $150 reward... and a basket of sausages.

Well in the U.K., the postal service has decided not to deliver to a rural area because the roads to get there are in bad shape. But as the Daily Telegraph reports, that's not the half of it, when it comes to the difficulty of delivering mail. Last November, a postal worker wouldn't go to one address because the garden was overgrown. And at another address, the Royal Mail threatened to cancel service if the owner didn't take steps to control his aggressive cat.

And speaking of cats... in today's Mid-day Extra, we find out why Americans are spending so much on their pets -- even in tough economic times.

About the author

Mary Dooe is an associate producer, and works for both the radio and digital teams.

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