I know, I know, as Phil Gramm told us last week, it’s all mental, but the headline in this morning’s business section glared at me from the newspaper in my hands — not one of the voices in my head.

“Inflation up 9 percent over last year,” it announced. Ouch. And that’s just the latest in an ongoing string of bad news. (And here I thought it was tough being a Nuggets fan.)

So pardon my (pleasant) surprise to see a glint of silver lining this morning by the time I dove into the second pot of coffee.

“Employers hold steady on benefits,” it declared, about the findings from Families and Work Institute’s 10th annual National Study of Employers. It was a nice counterpoint to the earlier story, which included platitudes from the Fed Chairman, quotes from posturing senators about the fate of Fannie Mae and protests from a president who wasn’t allowed to cut back Medicare payments.

“The Families and Work Institute confirms that in the face of economic volatility, companies have generally held steady or reduced benefits that carry hard costs,” said Ellen Galinsky, the group’s president and founder. “Yet in certain areas, including domestic partner benefits and access to information on support service, we are seeing an expansion of benefits. We find it particularly interesting that having an employee base composed of a greater percentage of women, or the presence of women and minorities in senior positions, is correlated with a more flexible workplace.”

I haven’t felt such hope since I cashed that stimulus check. Let’s hope this buzz lasts longer.

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