Mike: While most economic attention is being paid to the holiday shopping weekend, the layoff news continues to roll  in. Even if the shopping numbers come in at a decent level, it won’t stop the job loss news, which is still gathering steam. Here are a few employment stories from the last couple days.

The housing bust is going to cripple many a city that was living large on housing track development fees and increased property tax revenue expectations that are now being shredded by lowering home values and sales:

PHOENIX — The city of Phoenix is preparing to trim hundreds of millions of dollars from the city budget, meaning 1,200 jobs city jobs will be eliminated next fiscal year, Mayor Phil Gordon acknowledged Tuesday.


Mike: The following link http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2008/091708-biggest-it-layoffs-of-2008.html has some good information on large job cuts in the IT field. 

IT professionals looking for work should expect the number of open positions to decline in coming months as those currently employed in high-tech brace themselves for budget cuts, possible pay cuts and of course, layoffs (view a slide show of the largest IT layoffs in 2008).


Traditionally, they are the best positioned to bear the brunt during an economic slump.

But some discounters, including Harbor Freight Tools, are looking leaner, reducing work force and trimming hours.

About 20 people have left the privately held Camarillo-based discount tool retailer in the past three months, because of performance, a mismatch of skills and job elimination as a result of changed processes or implementation of automated tools, said Pete Roberts, vice president of human resources.


National Gypsum announced earlier this week that the Gold Bond Building Products factory on Riverside Avenue Extension will shut down in January, leaving about 73 workers jobless. 


Mike: The following is a reminder that unemployment benefits are taxable. Unfortunately, the benefits are taxable at your normal earnings rate, but our clueless government leaders allow hedge fund managers to pay only the capital gains rate for many of their earnings. So if you make millions as a hedge fund manager, you could easily pay a lower tax rate than that imposed on unemployment benefits. 

Downing: Remember, unemployment benefits are taxable

What to do?

You can simply have tax withheld from your unemployment benefit payments, said Bob D. Scharin, senior tax analyst from the Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters.

There are other ways to deal with the issue, such as making quarterly estimated tax payments. But withholding is the most convenient method for many beneficiaries, Scharin said.

By choosing to have tax withheld, “It means you will not have to come up with a chunk of cash” during tax season to cover a balance due, he said. It could help you avoid any potential penalty for underpayment of tax, he said.


In the Peoria metropolitan area the jobless rate was 5.9 percent in October, well above the 4.3 percent rate posted in October 2007. That was in spite of the fact there were 1,500 more people listed as working in the area than a year earlier.


BOSTON— A surge in layoffs has led to lines as long as two hours at state unemployment centers and lengthy waits for those filing by phone.


State officials say New Mexico’s over-the-year job growth – representing just 1,000 jobs – has not been so low in 17 years.


 — Electric Boat Corp. will layoff 14 employees at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory Kesselring Site next week.


EATON, Ohio — Six employees of the Preble County Sheriff’s Department will get layoff notices next week.


Mike: Here’s a short newscast about the the unemployment conditions in Ohio: 

Ohio jobless rate stabilizes for short time

Ohio’s official unemployment is hoolding fairly steady, but the people who track the numbers say they don’t expect that to last.


JPMorgan retains WaMu branch staff, cuts office jobs


Forest Park considering job cuts

With local residents, businesses and even county government feeling the economic pinch, Forest Park is considering eliminating five positions in 2009.


Mike: Another reminder that there are an extra seven weeks of unemployment insurance benefits are available for many who need it:

Through federal legislation enacted Nov. 21, unemployed Pennsylvanians who have exhausted their state unemployment benefits can now apply for up to 20 weeks of emergency unemployment compensation. The average emergency unemployment benefit is $313 per week. So far this year, Pennsylvanians have received nearly $370 million in emergency unemployment benefits. 


The numbers from the Illinois Department of Employment Security are significantly higher than those from October of last year. The rates range from 1.6 percent higher in Henry County to 3.4 percent in the city of Galesburg.


ASHLAND — Archway Cookies said climbing costs and business failures led to closing its plant in papers filed last month with a Delaware bankruptcy judge.


About 180 former employees of Erie Plastics have taken temporary jobs with Berry Plastics Corp., which recently bought the company’s assets at a bankruptcy auction.

Those temporary jobs are expected to end when the plant closes in 60 to 90 days.

Together with the 192 people Erie Plastics laid off earlier in the year, the losses add up to a sizable hit for this city of 6,300 people.


Mike: With the energy sector taking a beating due to collapsing prices, the TX job market is likely to get worse before it gets better. Oil prices will again rebound once the economy stabilizes and then green jobs will get back some of its shine, but the process could take a couple years or longer:


Eric Nielsen, managing director of the Houston office of recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International, says Houston is holding its breath. The energy job scene could see substantial layoffs or simply a plateau depending on whether the mercurial debt and equity markets stabilize or stay volatile into 2009.

“If we’re going to have a serious global recession, there will be significant demand destruction for oil and gas, and this sector will be under duress,” Nielsen says, adding he doesn’t expect clarity on worldwide energy demand or the labor market until the second quarter of next year.

“The anxiety level is extremely high,” he says.


Mike: Unemployment insurance benefits will need to be extended for at least another 13 weeks, or there could be many more homeless or at best, many will move in with friends and relatives:

Coker and many other former Wolverine employees who have not managed to find another job will lose their $840-per-month unemployment compensation in the next few weeks, and they don’t know what they will do.

“We were told there were 3,000 jobs out there, that we wouldn’t have any trouble finding jobs,” Coker said. “I’d like to know where those 3,000 jobs are at.”



This Thanksgiving, Samuel Lopez didn’t have to make the trip to his cousin’s house for dinner.

He already lives there.


Mike: The repo man is going to be working overtime and maybe doing some hiring in the months to come:


“Eighty percent of them are people whose life got the better hand of them, and they just can’t pay their bills,” Castro said as he prepared to repossess a Honda SUV from an upscale neighborhood near Stone Oak.

In this battered economy — with unemployment at a 14-year high, a rate that threatens to climb even higher — car repossessions are on the rise.


Mike: A relatively quite couple of days for job loss news, but Monday is likely to start the busy season for job loss announcements. Let’s hope that it remains quiet and the economic news starts to improve. We can hope:

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