Mike: The job news has quickly deteriorated this morning. New unemployment claims keep running ahead of the estimates of so called economists by a wide margin. Again, I don’t know why these numbers are unexpected or surprising. All those economists need to do is read a newspaper or talk to someone outside academia and they would realize that things are bad out in job land. I especially like this description of an economist: “An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.” On to today’s job news:

WASHINGTON (AP) — New claims for unemployment benefits reached their highest level in 26 years last week, as companies cut workers at a rapid pace.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that initial applications for jobless benefits in the week ending Dec. 6 rose to a seasonally adjusted 573,000 from an upwardly revised figure of 515,000 in the previous week. That was far more than the 525,000 claims Wall Street economists expected.

via New unemployment claims reach 26-year high: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance


SUNNYVALE, CA (KFSN) — Silicon Valley giant Yahoo! is cutting jobs just two weeks before Christmas. Up to 1,500 employees are being called in by their managers to be told this will be their last day at Yahoo! It’s all part of Yahoo!’s plan to slash its expenses by $400 million a year.

Mike: at least one area of the economy may be doing better in the job front than much of the rest:

Hospitals throughout Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati increased total employment 12 percent from 2002 to 2007, to 51,802 workers. As a group, they still have about 2,500 jobs available, more than half of them full time and most in nursing or technical services.

via Hospital jobs healthy | Cincinnati Enquirer | Cincinnati.Com

Mike: The cities that need the greatest number of law enforcement personnel will fire the most due to budget constraints, the citizenry be damned.

STOCKTON, CA – Budget issues in the city of Stockton are threatening five officer positions in the police department.

Assistant Chief Blair Ulring recently told five trainees that police work in Stockton is not guaranteed after they graduate from a Sacramento County police academy in February.

via Cutbacks Aimed at Law Enforcement | News10.net | Sacramento, California | Local News

Mike: It looks like Atlanta has had the common sense to so far not dismiss protective personnel from its ranks as its budget tightens:

The city just laid off 222 employees, the third round of layoffs this year. The cuts come from most departments except Corrections, Police, and Fire

via More details on the latest City of Atlanta cutbacks.

Faced with a sharp decline in revenue, National Public Radio said Wednesday it will pare back its programming and institute its first organization-wide layoffs in 25 years.

via Economy Forces Staffing Cuts at NPR – washingtonpost.com.

Mike: Health insurance for those working is getting more expensivre and to some, too expensive to keep. I pay my own health insurance and the premium is increasing $50 a month, or 25% for next year. 

Across the country, the loss of nearly 2 million jobs in the past year is stirring anxieties about how to find and pay for health insurance on your own. The price is steep with nearly any option, but pales in comparison to the financial calamities that await the uninsured.

via Recession Survival: Health coverage after a layoff – Forbes.com

Mike: I congratulate the workers who sat down for their rights at Republic Windows & Door for getting some satisfaction. Although they lost their jobs, they will be given their due respect with this agreement.

CHICAGO — Workers at a closing window and door factory have approved a $1.75 million agreement that will give them two months salary and benefits, ending a sit-in protest that lasted six days.

The 240 displaced workers and their protest grabbed national attention as a symbol of the plight of employees put out of work at a time when banks and financial institutions have been receiving federal bailouts.

Workers in sit-in win $1.75M deal

OWENSBORO, Ky. – Three-hundred employees in western Kentucky and northern Illinois will be looking for work soon.

Employees of West Irving Die Casting were told Tuesday that the company would close its two plants by the end of the year.

via West Irving closing plants in Ill., Ky. — chicagotribune.com.

Mike: Our Canadian neighbors are increasingly feeling the pinch of American company cutbacks:

Georgia Gulf Corp. is permanently closing a resin plant in Sarnia, Ontario, in response to the housing downturn.

The Atlanta-based company said it will take a non-cash charge of $50 million in the fourth quarter and expects cash restructuring charges of about $12 million in the third and fourth quarters related to the closure of the Canadian facility.

via Georgia Gulf closing resin plant | ajc.com

A major Fremont employer plans to close its factory, costing the town 114 jobs.

Rittal Corp. last week notified Fremont Town Manager Chris Snyder that it will begin the shutdown in January and complete it by Aug. 1.

via Fremont closure to idle 114 | The Journal Gazette.

Macedonia — The decline in the automotive industry may have a bittersweet twist for the city — a plant closing in Pennsylvania could bring a few dozen new jobs to town.

IER Fujikura, a manufacturer of rubber parts for valves, fuel pumps, solenoids and other equipment, announced it would close its manufacturing plant in Liverpool, Pa., and shift an undetermined number of jobs this summer to its Bavaria Road facility in Macedonia.

via The-News-Leader.com – Macedonia firm to close plant in Pennsylvania, expand in city.

GREENWOOD, Miss. — Officials say Friction Holdings, formerly Raybestos, will decide in the next few weeks whether to close its Greenwood factory.

via Fort Mill Times | FortMillTimes.com – Friction Holdings considers closing plant – Fort Mill, SC.

Officials in cash-strapped Orange County have ordered the deepest cuts in staffing in years, saying they’ll lay off 210 social services workers and force 4,000 other employees to take two weeks off without pay.

via Orange County cuts 210 workers – Los Angeles Times.

Minnesota-based Hutchinson Technology Inc., which maintains a manufacturing facility in Eau Claire, announced Tuesday it is reducing its workforce 20 to 25 percent — by more than 1,000 jobs — and is implementing a 5 percent pay reduction for all remaining employees.

via HTCH HTI announces January layoffs

Suffering from sharply lower copper prices the past several months, Kennecott Utah Copper is preparing to reduce its Utah work force as part of a plan by its London-based parent company to eliminate 14,000 positions worldwide.

The giant mining conglomerate Rio Tinto, which counts Kennecott as one of the shining stars of its worldwide minerals empire, employs 2,400 people in Utah, including about 1,800 people at the Bingham Canyon Mine on the eastern slope of the Oquirrh Mountains in Salt Lake County.

via Kennecott eyes layoffs as copper prices falter – Salt Lake Tribune.


Car dealerships warn of layoffs without federal bailout

via Car dealerships warn of layoffs without federal bailout – JSOnline.

Waynesboro’s largest employer, Invista, is laying off hundreds of workers and shutting down part of its plant. Invista gave the news in a series of meetings starting late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. When added with contractors laid off last week, more than 400 workers could be without a job.

via NBC29-Invista Layoffs.

Tortilla manufacturer Mission Foods plans to close its Fort Worth plant and lay off 187 employees, the company said in a recent warn letter to the Texas Workforce Commission.

via Mission Foods to close Fort Worth plant – Dallas Business Journal: .

FOND DU LAC, Wis. (AP) – A decline in boat sales has Mercury Marine cutting deeper into its Fond du Lac workforce.

About 160 jobs will be eliminated by the end of January as the company reduces engine production levels to match demand.

via WKBT La Crosse, WI-NewsChannel 8-Mercury Marine cuts deeper into workforce.

ATLANTA – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will reduce its circulation area to 27 counties around metro Atlanta and cut 156 jobs in its third cost-cutting move since early 2007. And, the City of Atlanta has announced more layoffs.

via More layoffs, circulation reductions at AJC | AccessNorthGa

“While these actions are difficult … we feel it is imperative to move decisively to manage through the steep global economic decline we are currently experiencing,” said Stanley Chairman and Chief Executive John Lundgren in a Thursday statement.

The New Britain, Conn., toolmaker said it would lay off 2,000 people, or about 10% of its workforce, because of the “rapidly deteriorating business conditions” in its construction and industrial segments. The move is expected to save the company about $170 million in costs next year.

via Stanley Works, Cummins slash jobs and reduce forecasts – MarketWatch .

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) – The company that owns the South Burlington GE Healthhcare facility is facing layoffs because of the weak economy.\

GE Healthcare CEO John Dineen sent an e-mail to company employees on Wednesday that says the company is poised to “initiate restructuring,” possibly as soon as this month.

via GE Healthcare in South Burlington facing layoffs: Times Argus Online.

Mike: I don’t have an argument with people making a decent wage, but isn’t $35 an hour plus sweet government bennies a bit high for making change? I know the working conditions suck, but that’s still a heady salary for that kind of  job. The skill set isn’t much different from the convenience store employee who makes minimum. No wonder property taxes are so stiff.

BOSTON— The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority is taking steps to lay off 20 toll-takers amid a financial belt-tightening.

Executive Director Alan LeBovidge says layoff notices have been sent to the workers, each of whom makes roughly $65,000 to $70,000 annually.

via Worcester Telegram & Gazette AP State News.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Hospitals in Brookhaven and Jackson have laid off workers in the past week due to a decrease in the number of patients which in turn reduced revenue.

In Brookhaven, King’s Daughters Medical Center eliminated 15 positions through attrition and layoffs.

via WDAM.com Laurel-Hattiesburg, MS The Pinebelt’s Choice For News, Sports and Weather | Brookhaven, Jackson hospitals lay off workers.

Mike: Plenty of rumors and job cuts in the pharma industry of late:

Rumor mill: Pfizer making big R&D changes

via Rumor mill: Pfizer making big R&D changes – FierceBiotech.

Mike: FierceBiotech.com has updated announcements of biotech job cuts: New round of layoffs, cost-cutting at biotechs

Nearly 70 Nebraska workers have been laid off in Nebraska City, Norfolk and Lincoln by three different companies.

Kris Howe, regional manager for Nebraska Workforce Development in Beatrice, says Elster American Meter Co. in Nebraska City is laying off 42 workers.

via Omaha.com Money Section.

A month after employees went to the media with concerns over planned layoffs, Boca Raton Community Hospital said it has cut 39 employees and 28 vacant positions.

via Boca Raton Community Hospital lays off 39 – South Florida Business Journal: .

Mike: When techies go bad:

Impoverished techies and IT workers who have been made redundant will go rogue in 2009, selling corporate data and using crimeware, reports predict.

The credit crunch will drive IT workers to increasingly use their skills to steal credit card data using phishing attacks and to abuse their privileged corporate computer access to sell off valuable financial and intellectual information, forensic experts have warned.

via Jobless techies turning to crime – Financial Services – Breaking Business and Technology News at silicon.com.

COLUMBIA — State agencies face more than $350 million in new budget cuts after the state’s economists slashed their revenue projections again and predicted an unemployment rate of 14 percent by next summer.

via Unemployment here may hit 14 percent | GreenvilleOnline.com | The Greenville News.

Mike: Maybe government should bail itself out of its self-created ineptitude before it lavishes billions on poorly run and corrupt private companies:

Sal Buzzanca lost his job at a printing plant more than a month ago, but even after spending hours on the phone, he hasn’t seen a dime of unemployment.

Buzzanca said, “The message you receive is that they are too busy, and they are flooded with calls, and they are busy with other customers, to please call back.”

Sal is among thousands of New Yorkers whose unemployment claims are getting held up, for one reason or another, because the state’s call centers are overwhelmed.

Unemployment calls more than doubled in November.

via Volume of unemployment calls doubles | WIVB.com.

There were three times as many people seeking work in October than jobs available, according to a report released Wednesday by the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C.

via Report: Three times more job seekers than jobs – Sacramento Business Journal: .

Crown Group closing plant

Company plans to keep facility, hopes to reopen

via Crown Group closing plant | thetimesherald.com | The Times Herald.

Defense contractor Textron Inc. is laying off more than 120 employees, primarily from its corporate offices in Rhode Island, Michigan and Texas.

via Layoffs at RI-based defense contractor Textron – Forbes.com.

RENO, Nev. (AP) Reno city officials say up to 500 workers could lose their jobs under worse-case budget projections.

Finance director Andrew Green says hundreds of workers could be laid off if the city has to cut another $17 million from its budget.

via cbs5.com – California Wire .

Canada’s Gildan said today it is phasing out its U.S. sock finishing operations in Fort Payne, eliminating 220 jobs and dealing another blow to a town that calls itself the “Sock Capital of the World.” Gildan closing Fort Payne sock plant with 220 jobs.

As state governors warn of significant shortfalls in their budgets, many schools districts are facing the biggest cutbacks they’ve seen in decades. And in some cases, they’re already slashing.

via K-12 Schools Slashing Costs – WSJ.com.

Volvo to cut output of truck motors in Maryland

via Volvo to cut output of truck motors in Maryland – Examiner.com.


HAGERSTOWN, Maryland: Swedish truck and bus maker Volvo AB said Thursday it is laying off some U.S. workers, furloughing others and throttling back on engine and transmission production due to slow sales.

via Volvo to cut output of truck motors in US – International Herald Tribune.


Sara Lee Corp. (SLE) announced plans Thursday to outsource some additional back-office operations in an effort intended to save up to $250 million a year as the company continues its turnaround effort.

The consumer packaged-goods firm, which has been hit of late with high commodity prices, said some 700 jobs would be cut, some of which are held by contractors. Sara Lee has about 44,000 employees.

via Sara Lee To Outsource More Operations, Expects 700 Job Cuts.

Atlanta officials cut 97 jobs this week, the fourth wave of layoffs since May. The city is having to work with a $50 million budget shortfall from the Watershed Management Department. The city also froze 175 vacant positions. Last week the city laid off 222 city workers, most of them in the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department.

via STATE.

Mike: Another government reward for a failed program. This happens often in upstate NY where companies are given tax breaks and grants for promising jobs and then the companies renege on those promises while still keeping the taxpayer loot. Another form of bail out that  goes up in smoke. The continued failure of the trickle down theory.

DAYTON — When the Ohio Third Frontier Commission awarded UltraCell Corp.’s Old Springfield Road manufacturing operation $1 million in March to ramp up production of fuel cells, Frank Beafore, the company’s vice president of operations, said then that the money would help him add 25 to 30 jobs by the end of this year.

Instead, hard times are forcing UltraCell to lay off local workers, just days before the company this week announced another grant, this one from the U.S. Department of Energy.

via Tough times force UltraCell to lay off workers.

Mike: The Carolinas are taking as much of a beating as the midwest these past weeks in the job loss category:

ERWIN (AP) — NN Ball and Roller, a company that makes balls and rollers for industrial use, has laid off 30 workers in Erwin.

via The Greeneville Sun – News Story – 30 Erwin Workers Laid Off.

COLUMBUS — Without a big federal bailout, a swift economic turnaround or hefty tax increases, Ohio will have to hack as much as 25 percent from state agencies’ budgets. The results may be massive layoffs, fewer inspections, and closed prisons, and higher college tuition, according to a 13-page document released by the Strickland administration on Thursday, Dec. 11.

via State agencies face 25 percent budget cut.

Mike: It might be time to start a walking sign business or begin wearing one when out and about:

A laid-off financial engineer who got worldwide press attention after he walked around midtown Manhattan wearing a sign that said “MIT Graduate for Hire” has landed a job.

via Sign stunt pays off for laid-off NYC man – International Business Times – .

OTSEGO, MI — Parker Hannifin Corp. laid off 45 workers this week from its Brass Products plant in Otsego.

The 12 percent decline in employment leaves the factory with 332 workers, Parker spokesman Jim Cartwright said.

via Parker Hannifin factory in Otsego, MI, laying off workers – The Kalamazoo Gazette Online – Michigan Newspaper – MLive.com .

PASCAGOULA — Signal International has laid off 200 to 250 employees in its Pascagoula shipyards over the past month as work winds down as rigs are completed.

via The Picayune Item – Signal issues round of layoffs.

Angus Palm, a Florence manufacturing facility specializing in tractor parts, has confirmed plans to cut nearly 80 jobs.

via Angus Palm to cut nearly 80 jobs in Florence | SCNow.

GE Healthcare announced today plans to reduce costs by eliminating jobs throughout its global platform.

GE Healthcare is based in London, but its U.S. headquarters and its diagnostic imaging business are based in Waukesha. The company has about 7,000 employees in Wisconsin.

via GE Healthcare to eliminate jobs – BizTimes.

An employee at Zeledyne Glass Company in east Tulsa tells 2news today that the company will lay off 120 people temporarily. Those employees will lose wages for three weeks.

via East Tulsa glass company temporarily lays off workers – KJRH.com .

Mike: As people lose health care they aren’t as likely to visit a hospital for certain conditions. Self-medicating in times of trouble.

Brookville hospital lays off seven due to declining admissions. 

Oak Hill Hospital Lays Off 7 Workers

The Blade is laying off 25 workers due to declining ad revenue and the newspaper’s ties to the auto industry, Assistant Managing Editor LuAnn Sharp said.

via Blade newspaper in Ohio to lay off 25 workers – Forbes.com.


Stahler - Dec. 11

Stahler - Dec. 11


Gary Hardy Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Holton is liquidating its inventory and going out of business, a company manager said this morning.

via CJOnline / The Topeka Capital-Journal – Gary Hardy Dodge plans closure.

Pike officials sent out pink slips to 20 toll takers today in the first batch of a 100-person purge, Pike Executive Director Alan LeBovidge announced.

The cuts, first reported in the Herald in September, are part of Gov. Deval Patrick’s plan to save $10 million at the debt-plagued Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.

via Pike makes first cut with 20 layoffs – BostonHerald.com.

Milpitas – More than 300 people could be losing their jobs at SanDisk.


Dec. 11–Lower-than-expected revenue has forced Savannah-Chatham public school officials to cut $3.4 million in jobs and spending from this year’s budget.

School officials, acting at Wednesday’s school board meeting, unanimously approved a hiring freeze and the elimination of several vacant positions to offset a $3.4 million budget shortfall.

via Savannah-Chatham school board cuts jobs.

Panacos Pharmaceuticals is the latest small biotech company to bring out the axe as it battles a cash crunch. Panacos is laying off 18 of 33 workers as it undergoes a ritual ‘strategic review,’ which includes a potential sale of all or part of the company.

via Cash-hungry Panacos slashes staff, looks for buyer – FierceBiotech.

CBS Interactive is making an undisclosed number of staff cuts this week across all divisions as it continues the integration of CNET, acquired in a $1.8 billion deal in May.

via CBS Interactive cuts staff – Crain’s New York Business.

Appomattox Co., VA – We have heard of reported layoffs at Thomasville furniture in Appomattox. We’ve had several calls from employees telling us they’ve been laid off from certain divisions within the company.

The company will only tell us, if they were having layoffs, they wouldn’t say anything publicly until all employees were notified. We have a reporter at the plant and she says she is seeing employees leaving with boxes.

via Layoffs Reported at Furniture Maker|ABC 13.

Mike: While it’s not a layoff – yet, it shows the dire straights of a once proud company. At least there is a little justice with the big dogs not receiving pay increases or bonuses, as hard as that may be for them to stomach. After all, they would normally layoff a couple hundred and then raise their own salaries for kicks:

Yet with all of the talk about the auto bailout, in spite of high executive pay and other perks, Kodak says its plan spreads the pain from workers to top management officials.

For 2009 at least, the company will no longer match employee contributions to 401(k) retirement accounts.

Executives will not receive pay increases – -their wages will be frozen.

Top executives will not receive stock bonus payouts in ‘09.

via Kodak Not Matching Employee Contributions to 401(k)s – 13WHAM.com .

Mike: I’m not sure whether to laugh or scream at the following bailout request from our clueless congresscritters. What’s next, do we bailout recreational activites like bowling alleys, ski resorts, brothels, casino operators, cruise lines, dog breeders, baseball card manufacturers and circuses

Some of the billions of taxpayer dollars used to help the banking industry should be set aside to help people buy recreational vehicles, according to two northern Indiana members of Congress.

via Donnelly, Souder seek bailout funds for RV industry | WSBT South Bend – Your Local News Leader | Local News .

A Sand Springs steel mill is expected to lay off about half of its 375 employees as prices and demand for the metal have dropped during the worldwide recession.

via Tulsa World: Sand Springs mill laying off .

Mike: A fine mag is going to produce a lesser product in hopes of surviving. Let’s see, we have fewer subscribers, so we’ll see if we can increase the subscription base by giving them more pics and less meaningful content. Sounds like a winner.

Newsweek magazine is planning staff cuts as part of a major makeover that is likely to result in a slimmer publication with fewer subscribers and more photos and opinion inside its pages, according to people close to the magazine.

The Washington Post Co. business is expected to outline the cuts Thursday in two companywide meetings. They will come from an extension of voluntary buyouts offered in the spring, when Newsweek shed 111 jobs.

via Newsweek to Cut Back Staff, Slim Magazine in Makeover – WSJ.com.

Mike: Looks like we are ending the day on a sour note for the markets and also for many BOA employees:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bank of America Corp said on Thursday it plans to eliminate 30,000 to 35,000 jobs over three years after it completes its purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co.

The cuts could affect about 11 percent of the combined companies’ roughly 308,000-person workforce. Bank of America employs about 247,000 people and Merrill about 61,000.

via Bank of America to cut up to 35,000 jobs – Yahoo! Finance.

Mike: Even the pretty face talking heads are going to have to get real in a hurry:

Morning and noon co-anchor Jeff Eliasoph was among the estimated 13 on-air and behind-the-scenes staffers let go. Catherine Bosley sat next to morning co-anchor Tiffani Tucker on the day after Eliasoph’s departure.

via Shannon O’Brien among recent TV-station cuts – TV news, reviews & listings with The Plain Dealer – cleveland.com .

Mike: Looks like a fine Midwest company town will be sacrificing a little more this holiday:

MIDDLE AMANA, Iowa (AP) – Officials with Whirlpool Corp. have announced that they are seeking voluntary layoffs at its refrigeration plant in Middle Amana.

The company told KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids that employees were told this week that the company is looking for 150 voluntary layoffs by Jan. 5.

via Whirlpool announces more layoffs at Iowa plant

Furniture Brands International Inc. said Thursday it will cut 1,400 jobs, or 15 percent of its U.S. work force, as it grapples with a continuing soft retail market

via Furniture Brands cutting 1,400 jobs .

Mike: Even the big dogs of education are facing stark realities and this is at a 40k per year institution:

TROY — Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, one of Troy’s largest employers, is the latest local institution to announce job cuts.

It isn’t clear how many employees will lose their jobs or how the staff reductions will be carried out.

via RPI announces job cuts — Page 1 — Times Union – Albany NY.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts has laid off five managerial positions from its call center on President Avenue, but a spokeswoman for the company said the call center, with about 230 full- and part-time employees, “is still quite vital” for the company.

via Starwood call center lays off five – Fall River, MA – The Herald News.

Mike: On those serious job loss announcements, let me end today’s post with a little humor:


Rogers - Dec. 11

Rogers - Dec. 11




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