– Microsoft News/Rumors –
Mike: The comments are still in the air, but have subsided over the last couple days. Here’s what is making the rounds today:
* Despite hiring at a rapid clip for the last few years, even Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) may not be immune to the rounds of layoffs hitting the technology industry recently.
Though unsubstantiated, dozens of comments at Mini-Microsoft, a blog popular with Microsoft employees, point toward the possibility of big job cuts at the company. And now, at least one financial analyst has signed onto the idea. That would be quite the turnaround for a company that’s grown its workforce by roughly a third since 2005.
Mike: The Indian press is busy with the Microsoft news. I find it amusing that they mention that Microsoft has been “asked” to remove 10% of its workforce. Asked?
* Software giant Microsoft has been asked to lay off around 9,100 employees (around 10%) to tell the market that profits are more significant than revenue growth in difficult times.
In a report on Microsoft, Brokerage firm Oppenheimer & Co’s analyst Brad Reback stated that such layoff exercise would be a profitable move for the company.
* Bangalore: Adding more to the employee woes, software giant Microsoft has been asked to slash 10 percent of its workforce, which amounts to around 9,100 employees. The firm had close to 91,000 employees on its payrolls at the end of July-September quarter.
* Catching up: Microsoft layoff rumors
Posted by Benjamin J. Romano
Mini-Microsoft has drawn an ominous red circle on his calendar around Jan. 15. That day, the anonymous, unsanctioned company blogger suspects, could bring news of a substantial round of layoffs at Microsoft. While his post of last week (just after I stepped out for vacation) is clearly labeled as rumor, even the thought of cuts at one of the region’s biggest (and heretofore most stable) employers can only send shivers down the spine of Seattle’s cold and wet economy.
– General Employment News –
Mike: A massive surge in municipal bankruptcies will result in massive layoffs for non-vital personnel unless the feds start pumping money into the hands of these entities:
*The federal average weekly benefit is $293 a week, and about 38% of the jobless receive payments, but state by state the numbers vary wildly. Mississippi joins Puerto Rico on the low end of the spectrum. Its weekly maximum is $210, with weekly payments averaging $180.77 going to about a quarter of that state’s jobless. In South Dakota and Texas, just 18% and 20% of the unemployed receive benefits, respectively. That compares with Massachusetts’ average weekly benefit of $383.77 to 57% of its jobless workers, or Hawaii’s $414.17 average weekly payment and 42% recipient rate.
* (Source: The Dallas Morning News)By Sheryl Jean, The Dallas Morning News
Dec. 29–Texas’ factory output worsened in December, and manufacturers’ six-month outlook remains weak, according to a survey released Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
Most of the 109 companies surveyed from Dec. 16 to 23 reported a decline in capital expenditures planned for 2009 as the national economy is expected to remain weak. The company outlook index dropped to its lowest level since the monthly survey began in June 2004.
* Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) — Micron Technology Inc., the U.S. maker of computer-memory chips, will have to raise money soon because the company is running low on cash, according to Wachovia Corp.
The company’s net cash declined by $474 million during the November quarter as memory-chip prices plunged, Wachovia analyst David Wong said today in a report. While prices have improved lately, they’re still so low that most memory makers will post “significant losses for many quarters yet,” he said.
* In moves that will surprise no one who has followed the barrage of grim economic news, architecture firms across the country are laying off workers at unprecedented levels.
Over the past few months, Perkins Eastman, one of the country’s largest firms, has let go 10 percent of its staff, or about 80 of 800 employees, according to Bradford Perkins, FAIA, firm chairman. “It’s very unfortunate when this happens,” says Perkins, adding that the cuts are the deepest in the firm’s 24-year history.
– International News –
* LONDON (SHARECAST) – At least 600,000 people could be out of a job in 2009 and others will face pay freezes, according to a report published today.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said that the time between New Year and Easter will be the worst since 1991. It predicts in the first quarter of the year, there could be as many as 300,000 job losses.
* LONDON (AP) — More than 600,000 people in Britain will be laid off in 2009, making next the worst year for job losses in 18 years, a leading personnel group forecast on Monday.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s annual report predicted that, including people who lose their jobs for other reasons such as contracts ending, the country’s economic slowdown will push 1 million more people into unemployment by the end of next year than were out of work in October of this year.
* Dec 29, 2008 (DVB)–More than 5000 workers lost their jobs when clothing factories in Hlaingtharyar industrial zone in Rangoon closed down recently, while others are facing salary cuts.
The closures come not long after the Burmese regime said the world economic crisis would not affect Burma.
* MANILA, Philippines – Toledo Mining Corp. said it had laid off some 600 workers and contractors while some directors took pay cuts as dampened demand took its toll on nickel operations in the Philippines.
* The global economic crisis is forcing Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX) to make more layoffs in Israel, and it will fire an additional 200 employees in January. The billing and CRM software house is facing a difficult 2009 after several years of growth. The company expects zero growth as telecommunications carriers, its primary customers, cut spending.
* With the economy in recession — it’s the 12th month of recession, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research — and with no sign of improvement on the horizon, carriers are in survival mode. With load factors deteriorating and freight rates at historic lows, they are seizing on every option they can to staunch the bleeding. They are cutting capacity by eliminating at least one of their Asia-Europe or trans-Pacific loops and combining others in vessel-sharing agreements with erstwhile competitors. New World Alliance partners APL Ltd., MOL and Hyundai Merchant Marine are laying up 40 vessels, and APL has announced 1,000 layoffs worldwide.
via Gulf Shipper Online.
– US and some Canada Layoff News –
* The Bloomberg administration may be considering a buyout plan for veteran city workers.
A spokesman Saturday said Mayor Michael Bloomberg has not ruled out any options in an effort to try and close the city’s looming budget gap.
* Citing the economic downturn and reduced demand for fuel, construction firm Cianbro Corp. of Pittsfield will reduce both its total workforce and employee hours at a new manufacturing facility in Brewer……
Under the plan, about 50 workers will lose jobs at the Brewer facility, which employs about 700. Also, employees hours will be reduced from 50 to 70 hours per week down to a typical 40-hour workweek.
* NEW YORK, Dec 29 (Reuters) – DHP Holdings II Corp, parent of fireplace and heater maker Desa Heating, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday and said it would pursue an orderly wind down of its businesses, citing the sagging economy and credit crunch………
After layoffs in December, the company employed 292 people, who will help wind down remaining business operations.
* Ashford Hospitality Trust, a real estate investment trust specializing in the hotel and hospitality sector, says the company is maneuvering to maintain its strong liquidity position.
In a statement, the Dallas-based REIT indicated that future cost-cutting measures would include job cuts, salary freezes and benefit reductions.
Ashford (NYSE: AHT) did not elaborate on how many positions would be impacted or when the changes would take place.
* The AT&T Business Solutions Customer Service unit in Richardson could be laying off up to 78 employees in the new year, according to a letter filed with the Texas Workforce Commission.
In a filing, AT&T Business Solutions, a unit of AT&T that is located at 2270 Lakeside Blvd. in Richardson, says it will not know for sure how many reductions will be made until the Richardson division determines how many employees will enter into voluntary severance agreements, retire or move into other positions.
* Cambridge Health Alliance will soon announce a plan to make cuts including layoffs and closures. CHA officials had already planned to make significant cuts to absorb an anticipated loss of $95 million in state and federal money next year, due to a transfer of funding to expand health care coverage through the state’s health care reform law.
* (Bristol, Indiana) – RV Parts supplier Odyssey Group has shut its doors here and put about 170 out of work. The company broke the news in a notice to the state.
According to old news reports, Odyssey was riding strong sales in 2006 when it broke ground on a 200,000-square-foot warehouse complex in Elkhart. Apparently, it couldn’t survive the recent plummet of the RV market.
* Walter Industries Inc. plans to close its Kodiak Mine in Shelby County, Ala., due to high operational costs, difficult operating conditions and a challenging pricing environment for Kodiak’s product.
Walter Industries, based in Tampa, expects to recognize a pre-tax charge of about $20 million in this quarter, mostly related to the non-cash impairment of mining facilities and equipment.
About 90 contract miners will be displaced by the closure, but the company will offer most of them positions at other mining operations, a statement from Walter Industries says.
– Hiring News –
It’s no easy task to recruit people with proclivities for science into schools – and to keep them long enough to nurture a talent for teaching. But over the next decade, schools will need 200,000 or more new teachers in science and math, according to estimates by such groups as the Business-Higher Education Forum in Washington. Already, many districts face shortages: In at least 10 states, fewer than 6 out of 10 middle-school science teachers were certified when the Council of Chief School Officers compiled a report last year.
* North Dakota lawmakers and businesses are working on ways to lure more high-tech employees like Meadows.
As of Dec. 1, the state had an estimated 165 applicants for 261 jobs in computer and math fields, Job Service North Dakota figures show.
Gov. John Hoeven is proposing a $40 million needs-based tuition assistance program for North Dakota students.
State Sen. Tony Grindberg, R-Fargo, headed the interim Workforce Committee that will introduce a bill to help pay college tuition for North Dakota students who meet certain academic requirements or enroll in a two-year career or technical program in fields with high job demand. The bill would also give state income tax breaks for qualifying residents.
Mike: We should all be thrilled that we can employ the convict and shelh the librarian: So sad…..
* Self-help books, best-sellers, graphic novels and history — these are among the popular books with inmates at the King County Jail.
But beginning in January, it won’t be a librarian making the deliveries. Instead inmates, working under the supervision of a corrections officer, will be handing out the books.
The county’s Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention will save about $240,000 annually by ending its contract with the King County Library System, which historically has provided librarians and a collection of books for the jail’s inmates.
* Erdman, a Madison-based health-care facilities design company, will be hit with a staff cut, effective in early January.
Parent company Cogdell Spencer said Monday about 115 jobs will be eliminated as part of an effort to cut costs by $17 million a year. The impact of the job cut will be felt “companywide” throughout Cogdell Spencer, Erdman chief executive Scott Ransom said.
* WILSON, OK ― Another round of layoffs hit Texoma on Monday, and the company had to call in security. Energy company High Sierra laid off more than 20 workers and closed down their operations at Hull’s Oil Field.
Mike: More as the announcements are made, but this is likely to be a rather quiet week. If you have any suggestions on the type of stories you would like to see, pass them along and I’ll see they are made available………..
Mike: More on Tuesday………..