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In the past month the department has tightened security to keep the leaks from recurring. The number of people who have access to the GNP number before release has been cut from about 60 down to ten. Analysts now tabulate the figure only twelve hours before its release, instead of 65. During the six hours or so they are working on the calculations, employees are confined to an office suite with no telephone privileges. If they need to use the restroom, a chaperon must go along.COMMUNICATIONS Mexican Connection for U.P.I.
After a Mexican newspaper magnate bought the financially troubled United Press International last week, U.P.I.'s staffers in London joked about brushing up their Spanish for a simple, direct question: "Can I have a raise?" The 2,000 employees of the 78-year-old news service took a 25% pay cut last year and have suffered bouncing pay checks in recent months as U.P.I.'s struggled to survive. This spring the news service filed for bankruptcy reorganization and put itself up for sale.
U.P.I.'s management, employees and creditors accepted a bid of $41.6 million from Mario Vázquez Raña and Houston Real Estate Developer Joseph E. Russo. The once rival bidders began striking up a partnership last Tuesday in the elevator of U.P.I.'s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Vázquez Raña, who is expected to control about 90% of the company, owns the largest chain of newspapers in Mexico. He told American reporters through an interpreter that he plans to restore U.P.I.'s financial stability and improve its performance. Said U.P.I. Vice President William J. Bowe: "It will be a recapitalized news organization and will be able to get back to being scrappy and competitive."INDICATORS North Pole Unemployment: 0%
When shopkeepers are worried about slow Christmas sales, they call on St. Nick for help. That is the theory behind the Santa Claus indicator, which holds that when the number of Santa Clauses goes up, Christmas sales are likely to be down. If the Santa Claus indicator is correct, this year may not be a sleigh-bell ringer for retailers. Western Temporary Services, a California-based employment agency and leading Santa supplier for department stores, last week announced that its bookings are up 15% over 1984, when it placed 3,000 St. Nicks.
Officials in Western's Santa division say that the number of Santas is a reliable sign of the mood of retailers. If store owners are confident that consumers will be buying out the store, they feel no pressure to have lots of the jolly men around. But if there is a danger that business will be slow, merchants bring in the red army to lift holiday spirits and sales. Retailers this year are worried in part because the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the peak buying time, is just 26 shopping days, rather than last year's 32. Result: Santas will be putting in longer workdays this season because many merchants are planning to stay open later.