Money equals happiness
People's emotional well-being - happiness - increases along with their income of up to about US$75,000, American researchers report in
For people making less than that, says Angus Deaton, an economist at Princeton University, "stuff is so in your face that it's hard to be happy".
He reviewed surveys of 450,000 Americans conducted in 2008 and last year for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which included questions on people's day-to-day happiness and their overall life satisfaction.
Happiness got better as income rose, but the effect levelled out at US$75,000,
Deaton says. Even so, their sense of well-being continued to rise as their earnings grew beyond that point.
Little pain for bosses
Bosses of the 50 American companies that sacked the most staff during the recession earned 42 per cent more than their peers,
A study by the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington concludes that CEOs shared little of the pain felt further down their workforces as house prices slumped, consumer spending dried up and unemployment peaked at 10.2 per cent last year.
The average leader of an S&P 500 company saw a modest fall in remuneration last year, down from US$9.4 million in 2008 to US$8.4 million. But this was still 263 times a typical worker's pay.
Those who took the most aggressive approach to cost-cutting often fared the best. The institute found that at the 50 companies in the S&P 500 that shed the most employees, average CEO compensation was US$12 million.
HK firms ready to hire
Nearly 20 per cent of Hong Kong employers will increase hiring in the next three months, while a mere 2 per cent plan to reduce staffing levels, compared with 3 per cent in the previous quarter, the latest Manpower Employment Outlook survey has found.
The survey, which canvassed 806 employers, also said that 74 per cent of respondents would keep their headcount intact over the next quarter.
Employers in six main sectors anticipate positive hiring activity (see graph below). The most optimistic are in mining, construction, wholesale and retail trade sectors.
Lancy Chui, managing director of Manpower Hong Kong, Macau and Vietnam, says that the Hong Kong government's continuing investment in major infrastructure projects explains improved prospects in construction.