COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE CHAMBERLIN

George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

The flood of reports on the nation's job market began today and, as expected, the numbers provide evidence that there is a slow and steady recovery from the worst unemployment levels. A survey by Challenger, Gray & Christmas finds layoff announcements -- not actual job cuts just announcements -- fell to 50,349 in November. It is the fourth month in a row the number has declined and the lowest number of planned cuts since December 2007. And, a private survey by ADP finds U.S. payrolls declined last month by 169,000, a number that has been trending lower as well. It is down from 195,000 in October.

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It is also encouraging to note that the Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County rose in October for the seventh consecutive month. Alan Gin, the professor at the University of San Diego who maintains the index, said this streak is an indication that the local recession will hit bottom in the first half of 2010. To put things in perspective, before the recent series of monthly gains the index had declined in 35 of the 36 preceding months.

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Online retailer Buy.com reported that Cyber Monday was the biggest sales day in the company's history. "We experienced very strong sales in all categories, led by sales in consumer electronics and technology products, computer hardware and software," said CEO Neel Grover.

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Here's the latest news on the bidding war for Diedrich Coffee: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has raised its bid for Diedrich to $35, topping the $32.50 raised ante from Peet's Coffee & Tea. Peet's has until next Monday to counter the Green Mountain offer. Remember, this competition is for control of the company that makes the K-Cups coffee pods that are used in single-cup brewing machines. Diedrich -- which sold its retail coffee shops to Starbucks earlier this year -- also owns Coffee People and Gloria Jean's retail coffee shops.

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It was on this date in 1901 that a guy named King Camp Gillette patented the safety razor with disposable blades. The rest, as they say, is history. Gillette has become a dominant player in the razor business and was purchased by Procter & Gamble last year. Just one guy's opinion, but the five-bladed Fusion razor is the best product on the market. Yes, I was scared the first time I dragged five sharp blades over my face, but it is as close and smooth a shave a person can get. Oh, by the way, the Fusion razor is one of the products endorsed by Tiger Woods.

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When it comes to taking the family out for a special buffet during the holiday season does the name IKEA pop into mind? Well, the popular Swedish furniture retailer -- which has restaurants in most of its stores including here in San Diego -- has introduced its JulBord, an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord (there's a word you haven't heard for a while). JulBord is a word consisting of two elements: Jul, meaning Yule, and Bord, literally table. So, what's on the menu? Of course, Swedish ham, and Swedish meatballs along with smoked salmon, roast beef, potato casserole, and much, much more. The price tag for adults is $15.99 and kids 12 and under eat for just $2.49, about the same as the cost of a Happy Meal.

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