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Back in August, asked its readers to report what labor conditions were like in their area. "Tight, tight, tight," came the answers. Yes, job markets coast to coast were as tight as John McCain's smile as he endorsed George W. Bush. From the Northeast to the South, from the Midwest to the Southwest and out to the Northwest and Mountains, readers told of signing bonuses for fast-food jobs and business expansions curtailed by a dearth of qualified employees.

The tight labor markets remain one of the

Fed's primary concerns as it weighs further increases in the target

fed funds rate, the key short-term interest rate that in turn drives your mortgage and bank-account rates. Fed Chairman

Alan Greenspan talks up the salutary effects of increased productivity, but as


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reported last week, he remains concerned that continued labor-market pressures could make inflation spike higher at long last.

So, it's a good time to ask again: What does the labor market look like in your area? And take our weekly stock-market sentiment poll, too.

Here's how you voted.


What does the labor market look like in your area?


What's your sentiment on the stock market?