Mike: Since today is Martin Luther King Day the markets are closed and the layoff announcements may be tame. Tuesday is Inauguration Day and the federal government is closed, so they may not be able to act financially irresponsible again until Wednesday. There are a few important economic numbers out this week and they are detailed in the General Economic News section of this post. Also, some highly anticipated earnings reports will be announced this week, including: Microsoft, Google and IBM.


Although the US has the benefit of Martin L uther King Day to hold back some layoff announcements, there will still be many announcements from other countries that are being greatly impacted by this worldwide recession. For a look at the international jobs picture, see the International News section of this post


See The Layoff List for January 16, 17, 18  for recent layoff announcements.


Mike: Since many readers may have the day off in remembrance of Martin Luther King, I urge you to take a few minutes to read Karl Denninger’s  Heh CONgress – Wake Up! Market-Ticker. His impassioned, well laid out, detailed description of how the spending of $1.2 trillion in bailout funds are not being accurately accounted for by the fed is rather informative and disturbing. The American public, at the hands of Congress, is being asked to fund the bailouts of banks, investment houses, failed government mortgage lenders, and insurance companies to name a few, but the American public is not being told who is getting what and for what purpose. Can you imagine going to a bank and telling them you want $100,000 to bailout your failed and corrupt business, but you won’t tell the bank how you will spend the money and if or when you will pay it back? I’m sure the banker would either have you escorted from the premises or call the nearest psychiatric hospital to see if you had escaped. Yet the taxpayer bails out these failing businesses and they won’t tell you were the money is going and even the fed isn’t willing to tell you where these funds are being sent and for what purpose.   Heh CONgress – Wake Up!  will walk you through this maze of deception.




Microsoft/Google/IBM News & Rumors


Mike: The only news from the group is that they all report earnings this week: IBM reports on Tuesday, and Microsoft and Google report on Thursday

* Microsoft ‘town hall’ meeting will cap week of layoff suspense

By Todd Bishop on January 19, 2009 at 9:43 PST

Microsoft has alerted employees to a “town hall” internal meeting with CEO Steve Ballmer “and other senior leaders” scheduled for Friday morning, following its Thursday afternoon earnings release. For the record, the company says it routinely holds these types of town hall meetings after it reports earnings.

via Microsoft ‘town hall’ meeting will cap week of layoff suspense – TechFlash: Seattle’s Technology News Source.



General Economic News


  • Wednesday –  ICSC-Goldman Store Sales  and Redbook . Both readings are related to retail sales and are an important guage to consumer spending, which accounts for about 2/3 of the US economy.
  • Thursday –   Housing Starts – Housing starts measure initial construction of residential units (single-family and multi-family) each month. 
  • Thursday –  Jobless Claims  – This is the week’s big job number. With the effect of the holiday shortened weeks behind, this number should better reflect current job losses. The consensus estimate is for job losses of 610,000.

(The economic calendar information is available from Bloomberg.com Economic Calendar)


* NEW YORK – Officials at state unemployment offices say they’ve never seen anything like it: Layoffs are happening so fast that those seeking unemployment benefits are overloading state computer systems, jamming phone lines, and making it necessary for administrators to hire temporary workers.

In some states, it’s so bad officials suspect that only half the calls are getting through. Frustrated, the unemployed are e-mailing anyone they can find at the state agencies or are just hitting redial on their phones, sometimes hundreds of times. The problem will get worse before it gets better, say some officials.

via Jobless Claims Overwhelm State Offices | Flathead Beacon.


* Unemployment is expected to top 10 percent in 70 areas, from already hard-hit cities like Detroit and Cleveland to places that had until recently been prosperous like the Riverside-San Bernardino area in California. Other big cities like Denver and St. Louis are expected to see unemployment rise above 9 percent.

Ithaca, N.Y.; Fairbanks, Alaska; and St. George, Utah, are among the handful of the nation’s 363 metropolitan areas expected to see employment remain flat or increase slightly.

via Report: New York to lead US cities in job losses – Yahoo! News.


* OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Billionaire investor Warren Buffett says the U.S. is engaged in an “economic Pearl Harbor.”

In an interview that aired Sunday on “Dateline NBC,” the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said the nation’s economic situation is not as bad at World War II or the Great Depression, but it’s still pretty severe.

via Buffett says US in ‘economic Pearl Harbor’ – Yahoo! Finance.


* Warren Buffett’s Dateline Interview with NBC’s Tom Brokaw: The Complete Transcript

via Warren Buffett’s Dateline Interview with NBC’s Tom Brokaw: The Complete Transcript – Warren Buffett Watch – CNBC.com.


* SANFORD — Gary Latham said it feels like Christmas in January as Circuit City pulls the plug on 567 stores, resulting in madhouse sales brought on by the bankruptcy.

“There were terrific deals,” Latham told News 13. “Got a printer, iPod, three-in-one. Couldn’t be beat. Even got little speakers for my laptop.”

“It’s kind of crazy. People are everywhere,” said Santino Lamancusa, also shopping at the Circuit City in Sanford. “Some of the stuff is kind of a deal, other stuff still expensive.”

via Shoppers Flock To Circuit City For Liquidation Deals – Central Florida News 13.


* Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) — The euro-area economy will contract this year for the first time since the currency was introduced a decade ago, the European Commission forecast, cutting its outlook for the region.

The economy of the 16 countries sharing the euro will shrink 1.9 percent in 2009, the Brussels-based commission said today, revising a November estimate for growth of 0.1 percent. The forecast is more pessimistic than the 0.5 percent contraction predicted by the European Central Bank last month.

via Bloomberg.com: Worldwide.


* If a new forecast is on the money, there will be pink slips a plenty in 2009 in some of the nation’s major cities.

According to an IHS Global report, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Miami area will lose 85 thousand jobs and have an unemployment rate of more than 8 percent by the end of 2009. More than 80 thousand jobs will be cut in Chicago and more than 164 thousand workers are expected to receive pink slips in Los Angeles 2009; in part because of the huge drop in home prices which has put a major hole in California’s economy.

via cbs4.com – 80 Thousand South Floridians To Lose Jobs In 2009 .


Mike: I admire the British because they seem to have a better grasp of economic reality than their American counterparts. You’re not likely to hear this kind of dour, yet truthful description of the US economic picture. As an example, Larry Summers, the new director of the National Economic Council, says that the unemployment rate will stay below 10%, (TheHill.com – Summers: Obama to keep jobless rate below 10%.) but the true unemployment number, after accounting for the discouraged worker , is already at 12%. Realism does not reside in Washington D.C., but there is a sense of realism in London

* THE number of jobless will soar to 3.4 million as the credit crunch deepens, experts warned yesterday.

Official figures out this week will show the scale of the growing financial crisis, with more than two million now out of work following redundancies across the country. Peter Spencer is quoted “Without additional Government intervention a deep recession could evolve into a depression.”

via Daily Express | UK News :: Jobless toll ‘will soar to 3.4 million’.


– Municipal News –


* MASHPEE — Because of the slumping economy, Albert Todino will not get a pay raise over the next three years — and he is fine with that.

Todino, Mashpee’s deputy police chief, agreed not to seek his annual raise after meeting with town officials during contract negotiations that wrapped up last week, Todino and town officials said.

The 30-year veteran police officer is one of a number of municipal workers on Cape Cod who will forgo pay raises as towns struggle to weather the current economic recession.

via CapeCodTimes.com – Municipal employees feel pay pinch.


* NANTUCKET — Faced with a ballooning budget deficit of nearly $4 million, the town administration has proposed laying off 17 municipal employees across all departments.

In addition town employees could be asked to forgo raises, contribute more to their health insurance and be subject to as many as three weeks of mandatory unpaid furloughs under the budget plan presented to the selectmen last week.

via CapeCodTimes.com – Nantucket considers laying off 17 workers.


* Clifton Springs, N.Y. — In trying to bridge a $2.1 million shortfall, the Midlakes Board of Education may cut 11 positions for the 2009-10 school year.


US and some Canada News –


* BOISE – Another round of cutbacks is affecting workers at the Boise Micron Technology plant.

At least 90 workers across a number of construction unions got word of the cutback Thursday.

Seventy-four members of Local 296 of the Plumber and Pipefitters union were let go, according to union spokesperson Rod Clay.  The laborers were doing subcontract construction work for Micron through another company.

via http://www.ktvb.com/news/nearyou/centralidaho/ktvbn-jan1809-micron_plumbers.9006437.html.


* Today is the first day of the temporary layoffs at the Potash Corporation. 

940 employees were given temporary layoff notices in December. 

PCS spokesperson Rhonda Speiss says not all of the 940 employees are off work for the full period through March 15th.  

There are more layoffs on the way in the mining industry.  Mosaic issued indefinite layoff notices to 1000 workers effective February 15th in Esterhazy and March 8th in Colonsay.

And Agrium Potash Mine in Vanscoy has issued precautionary notices to 380 staff, that if they go ahead, will happen March 11th.

via Saskatoon Homepage.ca – Its All About Your Community. – Potash Layoffs Start Today.


* COPENHAGEN, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Danish engineering group FLSmidth (FLS.CO) on Monday said it would reduce staff levels by 600 employees because the economic slump has meant declining investment levels in both the cement and minerals industries.

The reduction is expected to primarily affect project centres in Valby, Denmark, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

via FLSmidth says to cut 600 staff in Denmark, U.S. | Industries | Industrials, Materials & Utilities | Reuters .


* Azure Dynamics, a developer of hybrid electric and electric powertrains for commercial vehicles, has announced a restructuring and cost reduction plan designed to address the realities of the current economy and marketplace while meeting the demand for energy efficient commercial vehicles.

The Azure plan includes an approximate 25% reduction in its current workforce along with expected reductions in all discretionary expenses and a focus on actions to offset recent component cost increases.

via AZDDF Azure Dynamics announces restructuring plan.


* Leesville, La. -The country’s economic swoon has impacted at least one business in Leesville. Ameri-Tech Building Systems laid off approximately 50 percent of their workforce — equaling approximately 100 employees — by the end of business Friday afternoon.

via Ameri-Tech layoffs impact about 100 – Leesville, LA – Leesville Daily Leader.


* Excela Health has announced the furlough of 70 management and staff positions – the equivalent of 60 full-time jobs – as the region’s health care market shows signs of increasing stress.

The layoffs represent less than 2 percent of the network’s 5,000 employees, according to Excela, which announced the reduction late Friday, and employees have been offered severance based on length of service.

via Excela Health to lay off 70 – Pittsburgh Business Times: .


* State Street Corp. was hit with $800 million in charge-offs during the fourth quarter and warned in a regulatory filing Friday it had another $9.1 billion in unrealized losses tied to soured investment securities and commercial-paper obligations on its books.

The Boston-based financial services giant said nearly half — some $306 million in charge-offs during the quarter — are tied to a restructuring plan that will cut jobs and reduce other operating expenses. The cuts were not detailed in Friday’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, the company said it expected to be finished with the downsizing by the end of the first quarter.

via State Street: $9B in potential losses, layoffs to come – Boston Business Journal: .


* ZEELAND — Herman Miller Inc. will lay off 500 hourly employees this week, with most of the layoffs at plants Zeeland, Holland and Spring Lake.

The widespread chill in the office-furniture industry led the company to seek voluntary buyouts, layoffs and cuts to temporary jobs late last year.

The company had sought 600 job cuts in December, but got 1,000 workers willing to leave.

via Herman Miller Inc. ends up cutting 1,000 workers, with 500 hourly employees gone by week’s end – West Michigan Business News – MLive.com.


* Digital radio technology developer iBiquity has had to trim its workforce to conserve resources.

Company President/CEO Robert Struble announced to employees last Thursday there had been “necessary layoffs,” according to a statement in which he said: “We are saddened to see these good people go.”

The company declined to say how many positions were cut, whether they were technical positions or how many total employees it has now at its Columbia, Md., Detroit and New Jersey offices

via iBiquity Cuts Workforce .


* Update: Clear Channel Communications Inc. plans to lay off 7 percent of its workforce on Tuesday in an effort to save $400 million, according to The Wall Street Journal .

The company, which employs 20,000 people across the United States, will layoff 1,500 people, mostly in ad sales, and will also implement other cost-cutting measures, including replacing some locally-produced radio shows with syndicated content, the Journal reports.

via Report: Clear Channel to cut 1,500 jobs – Los Angeles Business from bizjournals: .


* Albertsons has notified the state that it will be closing its store at 2801 S. Orange Ave

The company also plans to close stores in Ocala, where 107 people will be let go; Tallahassee, where 110 employees will be laid off; and West Palm Beach, where 87 employees will lose their jobs, according to state records.

via Albertsons plans local layoffs – Orlando Business Journal: .


* Odawa Casino Resort is laying off employees for the second time in five months.

On Monday, the second-largest employer in the area announced that it would lay off 80 of its employees — 37 of those being voluntary.

via Petoskey News-Review – Breaking News – Update: Odawa Casino Resort lays off 80 of its workers.


* Opus Corp. issued layoff notices to eight employees in its Northern California office that includes Sacramento.

via Opus Corp. lays off eight in Northern California – Sacramento Business Journal: .


* A St. Louis Archdiocese official has confirmed that 25 part-time and full-time employees were laid off late last week.

All the layoffs came within the curia, the agencies and offices of the archdiocese that assist the archbishop in his pastoral and administrative duties. Those departments include the communications, human resources office and finance offices.

via Layoffs at the St. Louis Archdiocese | Civil Religion | STLtoday.


* Update: Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices will shed 1,100 more jobs and cut salaries as it tries to reduce costs in a tough economic environment, the company has said.

The company will lay off 900 at all levels of its product business, and will shed a further 200 positions through attrition and by divesting its handheld business, according to spokeswoman Hollis Krym. The cuts affect 9 percent of AMD’s work force of 12,000, and come on top of hundreds of job cuts the company announced last year.

via Reseller News > AMD to cut 1,100 jobs and slash salaries across company.


* A decline in business due to the dour economic climate prompted Dix & Eaton, the region’s largest public relations firm, to lay off staff last week.

Scott Chaikin, Dix & Eaton CEO, said in a phone interview this afternoon that the company had let go “less than 15” employees, but he declined to disclose the specific number of job cuts. He described most of those cut as administrative personnel and “less than a handful” as direct client services staff.

via Crain’s Cleveland Business: Dix & Eaton reduces staff due to dour economy .


* Dozens of Chicago-area Washington Mutual bank branches are closing. The brand is expected to disappear completely in the region by the end of the summer.

JP Morgan Chase bought WaMu in September, and found itself with more branches than it knew what to do with. Chase and WaMu branches stand cheek-by-jowl in many Chicago-area neighborhoods. Now Chase will shutter 57 WaMu locations by late March Chase spokesman Tom Kelly says the affected branches already have notices in their windows.

via City Room™ – Business – Chicago-Area WaMu Branches to Close .


* Update: General Electric aims to cut up to 11,000 jobs from its GE Capital unit, or 15 per cent of the division’s workforce, as the conglomerate reduces exposure to a stricken financial services industry.

The cutbacks are part of GE Capital’s plan to shed $2bn (€1.5bn, £1.4bn) in costs this year. Other GE divisions – from aviation to healthcare – are also cutting staff as GE seeks $5bn in total savings. The final job cut tally is expected to exceed 20,000, out of GE’s 315,000 people globally, including 75,000 at GE Capital.

via FT.com / UK – GE unit to shed up to 11,000 workers.


* TICONDEROGA — Inter-Lakes Health slashed 15 jobs and reduced six others to part time Monday morning as a reaction to a weak economy and rising costs.

The jobs cut were in the clerical and support/maintenance staffs at Moses-Ludington Hospital and Heritage Commons nursing home, owned by Inter-Lakes in Ticonderoga.

via The Press Republican – Article: Inter-Lakes Health cuts 15 jobs.


* John Laing is also deciding whether to halt sales on projects and shut down some of its U.S. offices, the company told Reuters.

Funding issues have reportedly put at least one area project on hold—a 180-unit condominium building in Hollywood called the Madrone.

The number of job cuts made was not disclosed. John Laing had close to 200 employees in Orange County.

via Orange County Business Journal Online.


* BOISE – Micron is cutting back on the use of 74 Boise subcontractors, according to the union representing plumbers and pipefitters.

A spokesperson for Union Local 296 says Micron met with contractors last week to deliver the news. The jobs involved installation and updating manufacturing tools at the Boise plant.

via Subcontractors cut from Micron plant | KBCI CBS 2 – News, Weather and Sports – Boise, ID Boise, Idaho | News .


* The Boston Globe is cutting up to 50 jobs from its newsroom.

In a memo to employees, Globe editor Marty Baron said buyouts would be offered to all newsroom and Boston.com employees by the end of the month. If too few people take buyouts, Baron said there would be layoffs.

via BUSINESS NEWS: Boston Globe to cut 50 jobs | CourierPostOnline.com | Courier-Post.


* RACINE, Wis. – Modine Manufacturing Co. says it will cut about 170 employees and contractors, or about 25 percent of the work force at its Racine headquarters.

Modine’s products include components for heating and cooling systems in the automotive and industrial markets.

via Modine to cut 170 jobs at Racine headquarters — chicagotribune.com.


* NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, owner of automaker Chrysler LLC, may cut nearly 10 percent of its worldwide staff, Financial News said citing people familiar with the situation.

“In today’s challenging economic environment, we, like many other private investment firms, are considering a variety of options,” a Cerberus spokesman told the online publication owned by Dow Jones. “Any action we take will, of course, be consistent with the best interests of our investors.”

via Cerberus may cut 10 percent of workforce: report | Deals | Reuters .


* Struggling Trans World Entertainment Corp. has laid off 25 people at its Albany headquarters, a company official said today.

via Trans World cuts 25 jobs in Albany — Page 1 — Times Union – Albany NY.


* MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Murfreesboro workers employed by an international boat company learned Monday they will need to look for a new job.

Genmar Stratos said they are laying off a portion of their 500 employees at the Murfreesboro facility.

via Murfreesboro Plant Lays Off 100 Workers – Nashville News Story – WSMV Nashville.


* OKLAHOMA CITY — A major Oklahoma employer is cutting its work force, company officials announced Monday.

Integris Health said the job cuts would come among support personnel and managers, not doctors and nurses.

via Major Okla. Employer Announces Layoffs – Oklahoma City News Story – KOCO Oklahoma City.


* The recession continues to take a heavy toll on the Kohler Co., where company officials confirmed Monday that 188 employees were laid off in the fourth round of job cuts to hit the company since October.

The affected workers, who are part of the company’s global power group and corporate operations, were let go Friday, according to company spokeswoman Kristine Cristina. They include 112 production employees and 76 administrative workers.

via Kohler lays off 188 | sheboyganpress.com | Sheboygan Press.


* Bose Corp., the audio giant known for its Wave radio, is slashing 1,000 jobs, the company announced today.

The Framingham-based company said the layoffs amount to about 10 percent of its total work force. The cuts will be made from “select areas, including manufacturing.”

via Audio giant Bose to cut 1,000 jobs – BostonHerald.com.



International News


* Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) — UBS AG will announce job cuts on Feb. 10 and the bank plans to reduce staff worldwide by 5,000 by the end of the year, Zurich-based Sonntag newspaper said, citing its own research.

“On Feb. 10 we’ll announce fourth-quarter results and, as always, update,” on human resources, UBS spokesman Serge Steiner said in a telephone interview today. “We cannot confirm what the Sonntag wrote.”

via Bloomberg.com: Europe.


* Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) –Stora Enso Oyj, the world’s second- largest papermaker, fell to the lowest level in 12 years after saying “significant” cuts will continue in the first half and announcing layoffs that may affect more than 5,000 workers.


* HELSINKI, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Engineer Metso Oyj (MEO1V.HE) said on Monday it would cut up to 1,400 jobs in its Finnish operations, with most job cuts planned at its forestry unit, which makes gear for the struggling paper makers.

via Bloomberg.com: Worldwide.


* Up to 40 jobs will be cut at a central Queensland coal mine in the latest case of downsizing in the industry.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) says contracting company Thiess will cut up to 40 jobs from the Burton Downs mine, west of Mackay.

via Up to 40 job losses expected at Qld mine | General | National News | thedaily.com.au.


* TAIPEI, Taiwan — Wintek Corp., the world’s second- biggest maker of flat panels for mobile phones, said it eliminated about 8 percent of its workforce and halted production at a factory in Taiwan after a decline in orders.

via Wintek cuts 8% of workforce, halts flat-panel factory in Taiwan – The China Post.


* The financial firm GE Money has announced plans to shed a further 100 jobs in Dublin and Shannon.

via GE Money to cut 100 jobs in Dublin and Shannon – Business, Ireland – Belfasttelegraph.co.uk.


* Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) — BASF SE, the world’s largest chemical company, reduced production at plants and said it may cut additional jobs after demand deteriorated “significantly.”

More than 1,800 workers face shorter days as factories are operating at less than 75 percent capacity, on average, the Ludwigshafen-based company said in a statement today. The shares slid 79 cents, or 3.3 percent, to 22.97 euros in Frankfurt trading as of 1:11 p.m. local time.

via Bloomberg.com: Germany.


* Finnish media house Sanoma said in a statement Monday it would cut up to 200 jobs in its newspaper division.

via NewsRoom Finland.


* London, Jan 19 – Administrators of a Findus frozen food factory in the UK said on Friday they had cut 359 jobs.

Administrator Zolfo Cooper said it had made all but 28 of the staff at the plant in north east England redundant after the factory was closed following a fire.

via Administrators of UK Findus Food Factory Cut 359 Jobs – Food Industry News .


Hiring News


* The tri-state area is poised to get some major relief from the effects of the national recession in one of the biggest economic development deals in Dubuque history.

IBM is coming.

International Business Machines Corp., a global force in the technological world, wants to locate in downtown’s Dubuque Building and bring 1,300 jobs with an average wage of $45,000 per year to the area in a matter of months.

via TH – Local News Article.


* The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District could help create more than 2,500 jobs this year in the local construction industry if the district receives a requested $180.4 million slice of the proposed federal $825 billion economic recovery spending plan, a district official said.

via MMSD envisions 2,500 new jobs – JSOnline.


Mike: This day was much quieter than most days the past two weeks, but there were still some substantail layoff announcements. Tomorrow the action should pick up as companies release earnings and layoff announcements if earnings aren’t what’s expected. Till tomorrow, I’ll leave you with a little humor…………


Jeff Stahler - Jan 18




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