- Microsoft/Google/IBM and other Rumors/News
* Microsoft released local and worldwide employment figures for January, showing that it brought hiring to a near-halt last month as it announced companywide layoffs for the first time.
Worldwide, Microsoft added 115 employees in January, bringing its global full-time work force to 95,943. That’s an increase of about one-tenth of a percent from Dec. 31.
* The world’s largest software company is making a lot of boneheaded moves lately.
Big companies are going to make big mistakes from time to time. It’s inevitable. However, when a big company is making too many small mistakes, it makes one wonder.
Let’s go into just a few of my beefs with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) these days. Let me know if you agree.
* The meandering Internet portal is rolling out Rich Ads in Search, a product to help advertisers get noticed before the lucrative search engine audience. The ads are called “rich” because we’re talking about rich media here. Sponsors will be able to insert graphical, interactive, and even video ads into Yahoo!’s query result pages.
Unfortunately, they’re not called “rich” because they will make Yahoo! shareholders rich.
via Try Again, Yahoo! .
* Bigger and longer unemployment benefits. –
The stimulus bill also increases weekly unemployment benefits by $25 through 2009. The amount of your unemployment benefits continues to vary based on your previous income and your state, but everyone will receive an extra $25 per week. This increase is automatic — people who are receiving benefits won’t need to take any special steps to boost their benefits. But it may take a few weeks for the state unemployment offices to reprogram their software programs and add the extra money, says Rich Hobbie, executive director of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.
Plus, people collecting unemployment benefits get a tax break. Unemployment benefits are usually subject to federal income tax. But people receiving unemployment benefits in 2009 will be able to exclude the first $2,400. Any benefits you receive beyond that in 2009 will be subject to federal income tax.
* WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s task force on the auto industry met for the first time Friday to start reviewing requests from General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC for $7 billion in loans before the end of March and up to $21.6 billion over the next couple of years.
The White House said that the panel’s leaders — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council director Lawrence Summers — “emphasized the urgency of the issues affecting the American auto industry and the need for fundamental restructuring.”
* While the tech industry has announced thousands of layoffs in recent months, as the global recession spread through Silicon Valley, some local companies are also starting to trim employee pay and benefits to reduce costs.
The moves, once considered unusual, are a way to “share the pain” that might save some jobs, according to executives and economists, although the cuts don’t sit well with some workers.
* Eighty-two of Napa Valley Unified School District’s nearly 2,000 full-time employees won’t be returning for the 2009-10 school year.
* Four people in the city-county Planning Department were told Thursday that their last day of work will be March 31.
* Kaiser will freeze the pay of top executives, hold staffing at 2008 levels, slash travel budgets by at least 25 percent, reduce the use of consultants and temporary employees, cut an unspecified number of jobs and hold capital spending to 2008 levels, giving priority to “projects needed to improve care, maintain our facilities, and position us for future growth.”
* AK Steel Corp. President and CEO Jim Wainscott painted a gloomy picture of the steel maker’s job prospects this year, in a Thursday interview with the Hamilton Journal-News.
Wainscott said about 1,000 of the company’s 6,500 workers have been laid off, and that number “will probably double before things get better,” according to the story.
* * HNTB Corp. made job cuts on Thursday because of the weak economy.
That equates to about 240 employees. Prem confirmed that the layoffs included Kansas City-area employees, but did not disclose how many.
* Stroh Die Casting, Wauwatosa, and Construction Forms Inc., Port Washington, notified the state Friday that it plans to conduct mass layoffs.
Stroh, 11123 W. Burleigh St., plans to lay off 60 workers, according to a notice filed with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. The layoffs, which will be permanent, are expected to occur by April 27.
Construction Forms plans to cut 68 jobs, or about 25 percent of its work force, at its facility. However, the company indicated that the number and timing of the layoffs would be determined by business conditions over the next two months.
* California electronics firm that announced layoffs at its Rapid City plant last month has now announced it will close the plant.
On Thursday morning, Sanmina-SCI told the 275 employees of its Rapid City facility that the plant, located at 222 Disk Drive, will close by the end of June. Some workers will remain until the plant closes while others will depart once jobs they were working on are finished.
* Its blast furnaces cold since October, ArcelorMittal’s Cleveland facility could be at least three to six months away from producing steel again, the plant’s general manager said today.
A third of the plant’s salaried employees soon will receive temporary assignments at ArcelorMittal plants in other states, the company said. Separately, a union official said perhaps hundreds more hourly workers could be laid off within a month.
* KERNERSVILLE – Deere-Hitachi Construction Machinery Corp. said today that it will shut down its Kernersville operations for two one-week periods during March.
The shutdown will affect primarily its 550 production employees, which represent about 85 percent of the company’s local work force.
* Accuride Corp., a maker of commercial vehicle components based in Evansville, Ind,, plans to close a Cuyahoga Falls plant that makes aluminum wheels, eliminating 132 jobs.
* Sixteen administrative staff were laid off at the University of Vermont on Friday and two varsity sports were eliminated to help balance the budget.
No faculty were laid off, but the administration says contracts will not be renewed for a number of lecturers next year.
* ELLENSBURG, Wash. The Daily Record newspaper is shutting down its press and laying off six people next month after reaching a deal to be printed by the Yakima Herald-Republic.
* VANSCOY, Sask. — Roughly 300 workers at the potash mine in Vanscoy, Sask. are being laid off next month for four weeks because their employer is choked with product and running out of warehouse space.
* Managers of the Fayetteville-based location contacted local police Friday morning to request extra patrols. The call was prompted by the impending layoff announcement, which affected both production and salaried employees.
Marshalltown President Joe Carter wouldn’t say how many workforce members were affected, but that the layoffs were permanent.
* The British bank announced the shuttering of EquiFirst on Tuesday, citing “market conditions.” According to the filing, 275 employees will be let go on April 18, with the remaining 273 being laid off between April 20 and Dec. 31. After June 13, there will be 117 employees remaining at the unit.
* When Faegre & Benson — the law firm employing more Minnesota lawyers than any other — announced that it was letting 29 of those lawyers go, the message was clear: Nobody is untouchable in an environment that one lawyer called an “economic tsunami.”
At about the same time, other local law firms cut staff and attorneys, including: Merchant & Gould, which eliminated 33 jobs, including seven attorneys; Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand, which cut five administrative positions, and Halleland Lewis Nilan & Johnson, which cut about six jobs, including two lawyers.
via Finance and Commerce.
* Glendo Corp. President D.J. Glaser said the layoffs started in January and continued for a couple of weeks.
Glaser said a couple of the positions were part-time and a couple were full-time.
* ProBuild, a lumber and hardware chain, said reports of 12 layoffs in Butte are inaccurate. However, due to company privacy, it refused to release the exact number of layoffs.
* NMS Lay-Offs Claim Approx. 5% of Staff
As you well know, news media isn’t the only industry feeling the economic burn. FBDC has confirmed that New Media Strategies; the company that employs/has employed heavy hitters and ex-media folk such as Howard Mortman, John Henke and Soren Dayton experienced a round of layoffs on Wednesday.
* Loparex LLC has announced layoffs for more than 50 employees at the company’s 115,000 square-foot Cullman plant, according to a letter sent from Loparex to the City of Cullman which was recently obtained by The Times.
* DeVilbiss Healthcare is laying off 46 hourly employees as the company relocates manufacturing positions to China.
* Salem Electric Co. said yesterday that it has temporarily laid off about 30 employees, or 10 percent of its local work force, since the first of the year.
* Facing a global economic downturn and a depressed forest products market, Millar Western announced layoffs and cuts in production affecting employees at two Whitecourt mills last week.
Effective Monday, the Whitecourt sawmill reduced a daily shift from three to two shifts resulting in temporary layoffs affecting 50 people. The Whitecourt pulp mill also reduced production resulting in the permanent termination of 16 positions.
* Clifford Chance has accepted the voluntary redundancy of around 50 fee earners over and above the 80 lawyers facing compulsory redundancy.
While the formal redundancy process had only looked to cut 80 fee-earners, lawyers were invited at the same time to come forward to discuss voluntary redundancies if they were interested.
* A HAULAGE firm is set to close its Larkhall operations amid a bitter row over severance pay.
–Stobart Chilled in Strutherhill Industrial Estate will shut for good on Sunday with the loss of 95 jobs.
* One company ready to fill positions is Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp., the nation’s largest weapons maker. It has more than 2,300 openings in the region, most involving engineering and information technology.
The Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a $78.6 million contract Feb. 11 to produce hardware for the Aegis modernization and Aegis ballistic missile defense programs.
Mike: More news as the weekend continues…………
Mike: I hope you all are having a fine weekend so far.
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