Monday Miscellany

* In a survey of laid-off workers, 15 percent said they’re using their new free time to fix up their homes. Fourteen percent are exercising more, 7 percent going back to school, 4 percent starting their own businesses and 4 percent taking up new hobbies. (

* While you may picture high-income consumers dining at only the fanciest restaurants, three-quarters of a poll’s well-heeled respondents (average income, $336,000) reported dining at chain restaurants. Olive Garden was their favorite (they’re family!), followed by Applebee’s, Outback, Chili’s, Red Lobster and TGI Friday’s. (The Luxury Institute)

* Just 11 of the U.S. states have more men than women. Alaska is the most male state in the nation, with men constituting 52.1 percent of its population. Nevada is the runner-up, at 50.9 percent. (Census Bureau)

* Last month, 42 percent of small-business owners surveyed said they had experienced “temporary cash-flow issues” in the prior 90 days, down from 49 percent saying so in May. Fifty-one percent said they plan to decrease their business-development spending during the next six months. (Discover Small Business Watch)

* Among kids age 4-14, 37 percent are using personal digital music players this year, up from 6 percent in 2005. Of those who use one, 30 percent have their own. (The NPD Group)

* Fifty-eight percent of respondents think inflation will increase during the next six months; 51 percent think interest rates will go up during that period. (Gallup)