First Monday: Executive briefing for March

From TV to books to advice, here's your business briefing for March.

March 7: Recession bound? A clue comes today when the Labor Department releases its February employment report. What to watch for: Will January's number — 17,000 jobs lost — be revised, and will February's number be better or worse than that?

March 13: The government sends a redesigned $5 bill into circulation, brightened with dashes of yellow and purple to make the bills harder to counterfeit. What didn't change: Abraham Lincoln's face is still on the front, and the Lincoln Memorial is still on the back.

March 21-30: The New York International Auto Show will feature Honda's latest version of its Fit subcompact.

March 28: Phillip Morris International completes its long-planned spinoff from Altria mo, a restructuring that will separate the declining U.S. tobacco business from the growing international tobacco business. Altria, which is moving its headquarters from New York to Richmond, Va., keeps Phillip Morris USA. Phillip Morris International will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PM and will be based in New York.


The March issue of Inc. magazine features "The 2008 Executive Compensation Guide," a report on salaries and benefits for executives of private companies, which don't have to reveal these numbers, as public companies are required to do. Companies surveyed had from 10 to 1,000 employees.

Inc. teamed with Seattle-based PayScale, a provider of salary and compensation data. They analyzed numbers by geography and types of industries for five "C-suite" positions: CEO (chief executive officer), CFO (chief financial officer), COO (chief operating officer), CTO (chief technology officer) and CIO (chief information officer).

Using the yardstick of median CEO pay, New York City topped the list, at $289,000, with San Francisco next at $270,000. San Diego's wealth of biotech and defense contractors translates into high pay for CIOs: an average of $207,000, more than the average pay of a CEO in Miami, Seattle or Denver. CTOs have it best in San Francisco, at $205,000. For more extensive information, including additional executive positions and cities, go to


Figuring out what's really made in the USA anymore is tougher than ever, according to the March issue of Consumer Reports.

Even federal agencies that are supposed to decide these things can't agree. Consider beans, for instance. If they're grown in the USA, but dried, rehydrated and canned in the Dominican Republic, and then shipped back to the USA for sale, the Food and Drug Administration calls them a Dominican Republic product. But Customs and Border Protection considers them American.

The package of an American flag brags "certified made in USA," but two components are identified elsewhere as imported.

And that's OK by Federal Trade Commission standards, which consider, among other things, total manufacturing cost and whether final assembly occurred in the USA.

But if seafood is caught in U.S. waters and shipped outside the country for processing, its package must disclose that.

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