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New York's unemployment insurance fund goes broke; Good year for McDonald's; Average price of rental housing falls; Sales of Microsoft's Zune disappoint; Feeling the pinch at Davos

New York's unemployment insurance fund goes brokeNew York state’s unemployment insurance fund has become the first in the nation to go broke, forcing it to borrow $90 million a week from the federal government to pay claims. The state’s 7 percent unemployment rate is its highest in 14 years. The New York Times

Good year for McDonald's With business booming in this era of belt-tightening, fast-food giant McDonald’s plans to spend $2.1 billion to open 1,000 new stores worldwide this year and spruce up existing locations.CNNmoney.com

Average price of rental housing fallsThe average price of rental housing in the U.S. fell 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, the first quarterly drop since 2003.Time

Sales of Microsoft's Zune disappointAlmost overlooked amid reports of layoffs at Microsoft is the disappointing performance of the company’s Zune MP3 player. Despite aggressive holiday discounts, Zune sales fell 54 percent from 12 months ago. Sales of Apple’s iPod grew 3 percent in the same period.Digital Daily

Feeling the pinch at DavosEven the plutocrats at this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, are feeling the pinch. A growing number of attendees are opting for single-engine helicopter charters from Zurich to Davos, at $4,250 for the 45-minute flight, bypassing an $8,500 ride on a twin-engine craft.The New York Times

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