Mike: Wednesday should be a relatively light layoff day as companies prepare for the upcoming holiday. Once the new year begins, the layoff news will likely be more active

The important unemployment number is the number of laid-off workers continuing to draw unemployment benefits increasing by 140,000. This indicates that it’s more difficult to find new work once you are released from a job.  The reduced unemployment claims (-94,000) have to be attributed to a holiday shortened work week and the desire of some employers to keep workers on the payroll through the holidays. And for some companies, it’s just bad PR to layoff during the holidays. 

What I don’t understand is why both the continuing claims increasing by 140,000 and the new claims dropping by 94,000 were both unexpected. 



* WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of laid-off workers continuing to draw unemployment benefits has surged again, as finding new jobs becomes even more difficult amid a deepening recession.

The Labor Department reported Wednesday that people continuing to draw unemployment benefits increased by a larger-than-expected 140,000 to 4.5 million for the week ending Dec. 20, the most recent period for which that information is available. That was the most since early December 1982, when the country was emerging from a deep recession, though the labor force has grown by about half since then.

via Continuing jobless claims rise sharply in December: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance.


– Jobless claims drop by much more than expected –  

* WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits slumped 94,000 last week, government data on Wednesday showed, but seasonal factors were likely behind this unexpectedly large decline with the labor market remaining very soft.


Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits fell to a seasonally adjusted 492,000 in the week ended Dec 27 from an unrevised 586,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said. It was the lowest reading for initial claims since the week ended November 1, 2008 and the steepest decline since 1992.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast 565,000 new claims as the country’s year-long recession continued to chill employment, and a separate reading on so-called continued claims hit a 26-year high.

A Labor Department official said the timing of the year-end holidays and volatility in seasonal factors was likely to blame for the large decline in initial weekly claims and warned this situation could persist for several more weeks.

via Jobless claims drop by much more than expected: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance.


Microsoft News/Rumors


* SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Speculation has surfaced that Microsoft Corp. might have to move beyond its current hiring slowdown and even cut jobs, as Wall Street analysts pare their outlook for the company amid the economic gloom.

Rumors of layoffs at Microsoft emerged last week on a Web site published by an anonymous, self-described employee who writes as “Mini-Microsoft.” A number of comments from posters describing themselves as fellow employees pegged mid-January as a timeframe for as much as 10% of Microsoft’s roughly 95,000 jobs to be cut.

via Speculation about Microsoft cutbacks heats up – MarketWatch .


* If the rumored layoffs do go down, will it be the price Microsoft pays for the over-hiring during the past few years that has led to 94,286 employees worldwide? Mini-Microsoft thinks so.

“Let’s say we are having intensive cutbacks and/or RIFs and layoffs. It is absolutely essential that Microsoft steps back and asks, ‘Whoa, how did we get here and who was leading us?’ How did we go on a drunken hiring binge and continue it even though a year ago most of us realized we were dropping into a recession? It’s irresponsible leadership.”

via Microsoft Layoffs: A Fire or Just Blowing Smoke? – CIO – Blogs and Discussion.


* Reportedly, Microsoft has already started the internal drill of informing employees that the company is readying major layoffs to its worldwide operations and it’s not a small cut either. As per the various blogs, insiders feel that things are looking grim while a few managers have leaked information about substantial workforce reductions on January 15, 2009.

So effectively, the company seems to be toying with the idea of pruning about 10 per cent of its 90,000 strong workforce to tide over the downturn which, according to net reports, could go up to 15,000 or 17 per cent of the total workforce.

via MS in mess: Is Microsoft headed for layoffs?– Jobs-News By Industry-News-The Economic Times.


Microsoft getting ready to lay off 17% of staff *

via Fudzilla.


Mass Microsoft Layoffs Confirmed? *

General Economic News


Mike: While a furlough is preferable to a layoff, it still strains household budgets that depend on a steady income. This is a tactic that will be used more often in the new year.  Companies that take the furlough route must believe that their ecnomic fortunes will soon change and that keeping their employees is better than laying them off and possibly losing them.


* NEW YORK (AP) — Here’s the vacation no one wants, courtesy of the recession: Forced time off without pay.

Financially struggling universities, factories and even hospitals are requiring employees to take unpaid “furloughs” — temporary layoffs that amount to one-time pay cuts for workers and a cost savings for employers. This year, the number of temporarily laid off workers hit a 17-year high.

“If they do it once, I think it’s easier for them to try to do it again,” said Carrie Swartout, who researches traumatic brain injuries at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Maryland is requiring unpaid time off for 67,000 of its 80,000 employees as it struggles with a budget crisis. The state says the furloughs will save an estimated $34 million during the fiscal year.

State governments, facing lower revenues but stymied by the long process required to cut public sector jobs, are using furloughs as a quick way to trim payrolls. Private-sector businesses — from automakers to small businesses — are shutting down factories and offices as sales drop.

via The Associated Press: Companies force workers to take unpaid vacation.


Mike: I shouldn’t be surprised that a politician is willing to stop unemployment payments to 77,000 for a demand that has little to do with the people who are due their payment. I saw this same tactic back in the 90s when the senate Republicans held back their support for extending unemployment because they were concerned that people take advantage of the program. While some certainly do, the vast majority would rather be working than collecting a couple hundred dollars a week.  While an audit request is the governor’s right, it shouldn’t be used to threaten unemployment benefits.


* AIKEN, S.C. – Time is running out for the 77,000 people who collect unemployment benefits in South Carolina.

On Thursday the state must stop printing checks unless Governor Mark Sanford requests a $146-million federal loan to bail out the state’s unemployment agency.

Governor Mark Sanford says he will not request that $146- million federal loan until he has it in writing that the Employment Security Commission will agree to an audit by the state’s watchdog agency.

via South Carolina could be running out of unemployment money | Breaking News, Weather, Sports and Entertainment for Georgia and South Carolina | Local News .


Mike: Some yearly layoff tracking of high tech jobs in Oregon:


* Tallying tech layoffs at year’s end

Categories: Job cuts

Through November, Oregon’s high-tech employment was down 2,400 jobs from a year earlier. That decline, 4.1 percent, is the sector’s steepest fall since February 2004.

via Tallying tech layoffs at year’s end – Silicon Forest – The Oregonian – OregonLive.com.


* Computer maker Dell Inc. said Wednesday that Michael Cannon, president of global operations, and Mark Jarvis, chief marketing officer, will leave the company as part of a global restructuring.


Municipal News


* Major layoffs are coming to the city of Toledo. Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner’s office sent the letters out today. According to the president of local-seven, city employees with local-seven and AFSCME Local 2058, which represent more than 1,000 union workers, received notice today from the mayor’s office that they’ll be laid off beginning Friday, February 13th.

via City layoffs – 12/30/08 – Toledo News – 13abc.com.


* The Finkbeiner administration sent out more than 1,000 layoff notices yesterday to city employees for a citywide shutdown that could last for up to a week of all nonsafety service employees.

“The number of days has yet to be determined, but the first workday [of the layoff] would be Tuesday, Feb. 17, since that Monday is a holiday,” said Robert Reinbolt, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner’s chief of staff. “It will certainly be through that week. Whether it extends into the next week is yet to be determined.”

via toledoblade.com — 1,000 city employees get notice of layoffs.


* WOONSOCKET — With officials raising the possibility of laying off as many as a third of the community’s police officers and firefighters, the City Council and representatives of Mayor Susan D. Menard met in closed session for about three hours Monday night to ponder a response to the expected loss of $3.2 million in non-school state aid.

via In Woonsocket, layoffs loom | projo.com | The Providence Journal Woonsocket | .


BRIDGEPORT — Another 51 city employees are being laid off as officials continue cutting costs to plug a $20 million deficit and avoid a possible state takeover of city finances.

via Bridgeport lays off 51 workers – The Connecticut Post Online.


* BEAVER COUNTY, Pa. – Commissioners in Beaver County have approved the 2009 budget, but it requires hardships in the form of layoffs to cover a deficit of more than $1 million.

Department heads and row offices were delivered a mandate to cut budgets by 10 percent with layoffs expected.

via 2009 Beaver Co. Budget Considers Layoffs – News- msnbc.com.







US and some Canada News


Motorola (MOT) will fire another 400 employees to cut costs, the struggling cellphone maker said today in a SEC filing. That’ll be another $25 million in Q4 severance charges.

That’s in addition to the roughly 1,500 employees Motorola decided to fire in October. So since the beginning of last year, Motorola has announced some 12,000 job cuts.

via Motorola Firing 400 More Workers (MOT).


* Schaumburg-based Motorola Inc. said late Tuesday that it approved cost reductions that would include 400 layoffs, according to a federal filing.

Motorola said the action was approved Dec. 23 to cut the 400 workers, which would result in a pretax charge, or write-off, of about $25 million during its fourth quarter, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

via Daily Herald | Motorola outlines layoffs in SEC document.


Distributor Baker & Taylor has laid off 60 of 3000 staffers in a restructuring aimed to emphasize its library and education outreach and to reduce resources directed to home entertainment retailers.

via Baker & Taylor Layoffs Target Retail, Not Libraries – 12/30/2008 – Library Journal.


* Dec 30 (Reuters) – Modular carpet manufacturer Interface Inc (IFSIA.O) said it will cut 14 percent of its global workforce, or 530 jobs, and cease manufacturing operations at its facility in Belleville, Canada, to reduce costs amid softening demand.

via UPDATE 1-Interface to cut 530 jobs; sees Q4 charges | Industries | Financial Services & Real Estate | Reuters .


* Actavis Totowa announced today that it has agreed to temporarily close its Falls River, New Jersey manufacturing facility, as well as another in Riverview and a packaging plant in Taft as part of a Consent Decree it has reached with federal regulators.  The Falls River Actavis plant made several generic drugs, including Digitek, that were subject to recalls this year.

via Actavis Agrees to Close Digitek Plant.


* The only good news Tuesday for about 257 Sealed Air Cryovac employees is that they might have a job for another ten months.

Sealed Air Corp. sent letters to Cedar Rapids employees indicating that the company will be closing the food packaging plant at 1125 Wilson Ave. SW in six to 10 months.

via Sealed Air to close C.R. plant in 2009 | GazetteOnline.com – Cedar Rapids, Iowa City.


* Several NewsChannel 9 news department staffers have opted for retirement or have been given layoff notices.

They include some some producers and assignment editors, including several with long tenures at the local TV station.

via 12/30/2008 – NewsChannel 9 Has Layoffs, Retirements In News Department – Happenings – Chattanoogan.com.


* GREENSBORO — Roadway Express and Yellow Transportation in Kernersville expect 200 to 500 employees to be affected by layoffs and the closing of a trucking terminal in March, a company official said Tuesday.

via Trucking layoffs expected : News-Record.com : Greensboro, North Carolina.


AOM Healthcare Solutions of Deerfield Beach, a licensed pharmacy and diabetes products supplier, filed notice Tuesday with Florida’s Agency for Workforce Innovation that it planned to lay off 353 employees effective Jan. 16.

via AOM Healthcare Solutions: Sale forces 353 layoffs — South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com.


* SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency announced Monday that it will close its North Shore office, issue mandatory unpaid furlough days, and might cut staff in the early part of 2009 to help close a more than $500,000 budget deficit.

via TRPA eyes layoffs to close budget gap | TahoeDailyTribune.com.


* WHEELING — Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino and Racetrack has undergone a position consolidation.

The end result is 30 less management, supervisory, director and front line staff.

via – Layoffs at Wheeling Island, Hotel, Casino and Racetrack– 


* A local automotive supplier is laying off more than a hundred workers. Magna Exteriors and Interiors will slash jobs after the first of the year. Three years ago the company announced a collaboration with Chrysler, operating its paint shop at Toledo’s south assembly plant. Now Magna Exteriors and Interiors is cutting its workforce.

via Local automotive supplier layoffs – 12/30/08 – Toledo News – 13abc.com.


MADISON, Wis. – A Wisconsin company that designs and builds health care facilities has informed the state it will lay off more than 100 workers.

via Erdman Company to lay off more than 100 — chicagotribune.com.


* In an internal restructure of some departments within our TV station, CBS 2 has laid off six people this week. The decision is directly related to these challenging economic times.

via CBS 2 announces staff layoffs | KBCI CBS 2 – News, Weather and Sports – Boise, ID Boise, Idaho | News .


* (Source: The Roanoke Times)By Duncan Adams, The Roanoke Times, Va.

Dec. 30–Andrew Kelderhouse, president of Fralin & Waldron, said that he recalls no other double-digit layoff during his 31 years with the construction and real estate development company.

In late October and early November, the Roanoke County-based company laid off 11 employees.

via Builder Says 11 Layoffs Were Necessary: Fralin & Waldron of Roanoke County Idled Some of Its Construction Workers Earlier in the Fall. .


* The group that owns the Grand Junction Free Press and newspapers in Glenwood Springs and Aspen is cutting several positions at those papers and has shut down more of its weekly publications.

The Grand Junction Free Press has laid off two of its five reporters, in addition to at least two more staffers in recent weeks.

via Owner cutting staff at several newspapers, including Free Press.


* HARRISONBURG, Va. – Tyson Foods will lay off 45 workers at its Harrisonburg plant on Friday.

The company says the layoffs will reduce the number of employees at the plant to 375.

via Tyson to lay off 45 at Virginia plant — dailypress.com.


* The sale of Troyer Farms to Bickel’s Snack Foods Inc. was completed on Monday, and the new owners did not hire 32 workers — mainly part-time employees.

via GoErie.com: Jobs cut in Troyer sale.


Allina Hospitals & Clinics is closing its Center for Outpatient Surgery at Abbott Northwestern’s Sartell Outpatient Center.

The Minneapolis-based health provider said Monday the surgery center outside St. Cloud will close on Jan. 23. The closing means 22 employees, including 10 nurses, are losing their jobs.

via Allina closing Sartell surgery center, 22 jobs cut – Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal: .


Thirty more ABX Air workers have been given permanent layoff notices, the company said Tuesday, as operations at the DHL Air Park continue to spiral down.

via 30 more laid off at ABX.


* FAIRBORN, Ohio — A local company in Fairborn said it has temporarily laid off 20 employees.

About two weeks ago, Cemex had a little more than 100 employees working for the company. However, on Dec. 18, 20 employees were laid off.

via 20 Cemex Employees Laid Off – News Story – WHIO Dayton.


* North Sky Communications, a telecommunications contractor, has permanently laid off 57 employees in Woodinville, according to a notice filed with the state Employment Security Department.

via Business & Technology | Telecom contractor lays off 57 | Seattle Times Newspaper.


* The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has laid off 17 employees, three of whom worked in the local area.

via Diocese Of Wheeling-Charleston Lays Off 17 Employees – News Story – WTOV Steubenville.


* MIDLAND, Pa. (AP) — A Pittsburgh-area stainless steel manufacturer has laid off more than 200 people since October.

President of the USW Local 1212 at Midland Steve Clutter says only about 10 of the 230 people who had worked at the plant still have jobs.

via Pittsburgh-area stainless steel plant lays off 200 – NewsFlash – PennLive.com.


* Thurston County has eliminated more than 80 full-time-equivalent jobs to cut costs, and today is the last day of work for 28 employees.

One other employee, who works in the treasurer’s office, will stay on until March 31. The remaining reductions stem from jobs being left unfilled.

via Today is final day of work for 28 county employees – South Sound – The Olympian – Olympia, Washington.


VANDALIA, Ohio — Employees at two local companies found out on Tuesday that they have lost their jobs.

The Mazer Corp. in Vandalia closed its doors on Tuesday and notified 200 employees by letters and e-mail that they were out of a job.

Company officials said it simply ran out of money and was forced to close the facility.

In Butler Township, the EFTEC company notified 45 employees that it was closing. Company officials said it was consolidating operations with a facility in Michigan.

via 2 Local Companies Announce Job Losses – News Story – WHIO Dayton.


* CALHOUN, GA. — It’s a familiar story in Georgia and across the South. Another textile mill is shutting down its operations.


Mohawk Industries is closing its spun yarn operations in Calhoun, resulting in the loss of 160 jobs. Workers were informed Tuesday.

via – Mohawk to shutter Calhoun spun yarn plant


* A Barnwell County textile plant is closing after more than 50 years of operation – a move that will affect 125 workers.

Milliken & Co. has announced it will start cutting operations in January and closing its doors for good by mid-2009.

via Biz bits 123108 – The Augusta Chronicle.


* It wasn’t the New Years greeting that nearly 90 employees at a Belleville plant were wishing for this afternoon.  Workers at Interface Flooring on Lahr Drive in the Northeast Industrial Park were informed, late this afternoon, before leaving for their New Year’s break that the facility will be closing at the end of February leaving all of them without a job.

via Mix 97 | News Team » Blog Archive » Belleville Plant Closing in New Year.


* CEDAR RAPIDS – The Sealed Air Cryovac Plant in Cedar Rapids is closing. About a month ago, Cryovac warned employees the plant might shut down.

Now, more than 250 workers know they will lose their jobs sometime within the next six to ten months.

via Cryovac Closing Cedar Rapids Plant | KCRG-TV9 Cedar Rapids, Iowa | Local News .


Mike: A little humor from “This Hour Has 22 Minutes”



International News


* Australia – UNEMPLOYMENT is tipped to near one million with 400,000 losing their livelihoods through 2009, despite expected dramatic interest rate cuts.

In a gloomy new year outlook, economists are predicting unemployment could rise through 2009 from its current 4.4 per cent level towards 8 per cent, costing a further 400,000 people their jobs and pushing the number of unemployed to more than 900,000 – the worst level in a decade.

via Jobless headed for one million in 2009 | PerthNow.


* BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia’s unemployment rate rose to 10.8 percent in November as the world financial crisis slowed economic growth.

The national statistics office says joblessness increased from 10.1 percent in October, and from 9.4 percent in the same period of 2007.

via The Associated Press: Unemployment climbs to 10.8 percent in Colombia.


THE country is facing the bleakest three months since the mid-1980s, as opposition politicians warned it could be worse if the Government does not take action to halt the downward spiral.

The country’s main body for personnel managers, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), predicted yesterday that redundancies will soar to about 2,270 a week in the period between New Year and Easter, sending unemployment above the 10pc mark.

via Jobless rate ‘will rise to 10pc in next three months’ – Irish – Independent.ie.


* PARIS, Dec 30 (Reuters) – French unemployment jumped sharply in November as companies laid off large numbers of short-term and fixed contract workers in response to the growing economic slowdown, data on Tuesday showed.

Figures from the Economy Ministry showed headline unemployment rose by 64,000 to 2,068,500 in November, the largest rise since at least 1993.

via Business Feed Article | Business | guardian.co.uk .


* Security will be foremost on voters’ minds when elections in Israel take place in February, following the military assault on the Gaza Strip, but the importance of the economy should not be ignored. After a mostly crisis-free 2008, new forecasts from the Bank of Israel on Wednesday showed that Israel’s economy is set to run out of steam in 2009, with expected annual growth of 1.5%, down from a preliminary 4.1% in 2008.

via Grim Outlook For Israel’s Economy – Forbes.com.


Mike: Happy New Year Australia and a Happy New Year to all!




Hiring News – 


* Hiring for an early census office that will eventually need about 1,000 workers in Cedar Rapids will begin in earnest next month.

The office based at 221 Second Ave. SE, Suite 240, will “lay the ground work” across Eastern Iowa for local census offices that will do most of the counting for the 2010 census, according to Jerry Young, a partnership coordinator for the Census Bureau.

via Census to hire 1,000 temporary workers in Cedar Rapids | GazetteOnline.com – Cedar Rapids, Iowa City.



Mike: Today’s layoff news should be quieting for the New Year holiday, but if there are any dramatic announcements, I’ll post them for you. All the best for you and yours this upcoming New Year.………..


Lalo Alcaraz - Dec. 28

Lalo Alcaraz - Dec. 28




One Comment to “Dec 31, 2008 – Motorola Hangs Up on 400 – Interface Rolls 530 (out the door) – MSFT Rumors Still Floating – Toledo Ends 1000 Jobs – Jobless Claims Drop 94,000”

  1. This is insane! I’ve been hearing rumors of Microsoft gearing up for massive layoffs in 2009, we’ll wait and see…

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