Mike: I hope you are all having a fine day. Looks like a very busy day ahead for unemployment news. 

Some companies are releasing earnings numbers, with their associated job cut notices, but today’s most important economic report is the Jobless Claims,  which is reported at a record 667,000,  followed by the New Home Sales,  and Durable Goods Orders numbers. Durable Goods Orders declined for a record sixth month in a row. 
Mike: The headlines read that 667,000 new jobless claims were filed last week, but within those headlines are misstatements such as the following from CNN Money:

He noted that weekly filings, adjusted for population growth, would have to exceed the 1 million mark in order to break the jobless claims reported from the mid-1970s and early 1980s.

via Jobless claims spike to 667,000 – Feb. 26, 2009 .


Mike: I notice that this story seems to be fine with accounting for population growth to give a better picture of the job loss numbers. After all there are millions more in the workforce now than there were 30 years ago, but these same outlets don’t account for the change in unemployment reporting that occurred during the Clinton administration, which increases the unemployment rate. It would be nice if our trusted news organizations were a little more truthful in their reporting.


Larger layoff announcements and job related economic reports:


Robert Ariail - Feb 26

Robert Ariail - Feb 26



Microsoft/Google/IBM and other Rumors & News


apple* Apple’s annual shareholder meeting was dominated, as usual, by groups using the event as a soapbox for furthering their political agenda. Apple COO Tim Cook only answered a couple real questions from individuals, and the crowd sang out happy birthday to Steve Jobs, who was away on medical leave.

The hour long meeting was consumed by four largely symbolic shareholder proposals that failed to pass in a preliminary tally of votes, each of which was rallied against by Shelton Urlick, a staunch conservative who grew increasingly upset as he voiced his opinions on various measures.

via AppleInsider | Apple shareholder meeting dominated by politics.


msft5* A chief executive has to work pretty hard to push his shares lower on a day when the market overall is surging.

Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer managed that feat Tuesday: The software titan’s stock was the only one of the 30 issues in the Dow Jones industrial average to decline.

Microsoft slipped 4 cents to close at $17.17. It traded at midday at a new 11-year low of $16.36.

via Microsoft warns of a long workout after economic ‘reset’ | Money & Company | Los Angeles Times.


msft6*The thousands of contractors who work at Microsoft through third-party agencies are facing pay cuts beginning Monday, as Microsoft continues to look for ways to cut costs.

Microsoft and its contracting agencies agreed to a 10 percent cut in the bill rate, impacting all temporary worker assignments. Several contract employees have said the reduction is being passed on to them in the form of a pay cut. One person said some agencies are seeking to pass deeper pay cuts onto their workers. Several contractors contacted The Seattle Times, asking for anonymity for fear that speaking out would jeopardize their jobs.

via Microsoft Pri0 | Microsoft temps face 10 percent pay cut | Seattle Times Newspaper Blog.


apple1* Regardless of what Apple honchos said at today’s shareholder meeting, I have come to the sad conclusion that Steve Jobs will never return to the helm at Apple. This is another of those “I hope of am wrong, but . . .” posts that I hate to write. But, skipping the shareholder meeting is a more than subtle hint that Jobs won’t be back in the active role he’s enjoyed, if at all.


General Economic News


* Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) — Orders for U.S. durable goods fell for a record sixth consecutive month in January, signaling companies are cutting back on spending as customers worldwide retrench.

The 5.2 percent drop was more than twice as large as projected and followed a 4.6 percent decrease the prior month, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Comparable data began in 1992. Excluding transportation equipment, orders fell 2.5 percent.

via Bloomberg.com: Worldwide.

Jobless Claims
8:30 AM ET

* Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) — First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week and total benefit rolls soared to a record high, a sign companies may keep shedding jobs as the recession worsens.

First-time unemployment applications increased by 36,000 to 667,000, the highest since 1982, in the week that ended on Feb. 21 from a revised 631,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The number of people staying on benefit rolls rose in the previous week by 114,000 to 5.112 million.

Job losses are crippling the consumer spending that makes up about 70 percent of the economy, threatening to prolong what may be the worst recession in the postwar era. President Barack Obama is counting on his $787 billion stimulus, to help stop the slide by creating 3.5 million jobs, and a separate plan to keep Americans struggling with mortgage costs from losing their homes.

via Bloomberg.com: Worldwide.




Mike: I wonder if these Republicans still think that giving the unemployed a few extra bucks is still a bad idea? There’s a constant Republican cry to cut taxes on businesses, but when times are tough and these same businesses shed jobs by the millions, shouldn’t those that were left jobless by these companies get at least enough money to survive until the next job comes along? There is no better way to show how these Republicans think more of big business than they do of the struggling person looking for work

* Jefferson City — Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and Republican legislative leaders want Missouri to reject millions in federal stimulus dollars for increased unemployment insurance, saying the legislation would burden businesses with new taxes in future years.

New Home Sales
10:00 AM ET
* WASHINGTON (AP) — New-home sales tumbled to a record-low annual pace in January and there’s no relief in sight as mounting damage from the collapsed housing market pushes the country deeper into recession.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that sales fell 10.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 309,000, the worst showing on records going back to 1963. It was a weaker showing than the pace of 330,000 that economists expected, and shattered the previous all-time monthly low set in September 1981.

via New-home sales tumble to record low pace in Jan. – Yahoo! Finance.

Jeff Stahler - Feb 26

Jeff Stahler - Feb 26


Mike: For those of you who want to see the BLS ten-page PDF on the January Mass Layoff numbers, here you go (the link is a PDF).

* Employers took 2,227 mass layoff actions in January that resulted in the separation of 237,902 workers, seasonally adjusted, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single employer. The number of mass layoff events in January decreased by 48 from the prior month, while the number of associated initial claims increased by11,785. Over the year, the number of mass layoff events increased by 751, and the number of associated initial claims increased by 88,834. In January, 738 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 102,577 initial claims. Over the month, mass layoff events in manufacturing decreased by 133, and initial claims decreased by 2,825.

via – http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/mmls.pdf


Municipal News


* On the heels of layoff announcements at area sawmills and other industries, the Clarke County Commission announced Tuesday that it will cut its 36- person road and bridge department by 15 employees.

via Clarke cuts 15 jobs | www.southalabamian.com | The South Alabamian.



Guilford County has cut 35 positions, including 10 active employees, as it works to create a budget that doesn’t include a property tax increase.


* A lack of funding at the Huron County Sheriff’s Office has cost four corrections officers and a dispatcher their jobs.

via Norwalk Reflector | Front | 5 sheriff’s workers laid off.


* SOUTH ZANESVILLE – The Village of South Zanesville has had to lay off a police officer and a custodian and won’t be opening the pool due to budget restraints, according to the South Zanesville mayor.



US and some Canada News


jpmorgan-chase* NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM – News) said it is cutting up to 14,000 jobs, more than previously disclosed, as it tries to reduce costs in the face of a slumping economy and higher credit losses.

The second-largest U.S. bank on Thursday said it now expects to shed as many 12,000 jobs from integrating the former Washington Mutual Inc (Other OTC:WAMUQ.PK – News), up from 9,200 announced in December. It also expects to cut up to 2,000 investment banking jobs.

via JPMorgan now cutting up to 14,000 jobs – Yahoo! Finance.


cisco2Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO: News ) eliminated about 250 jobs at its San Jose, California, headquarters, according to reports.

The company has laid off a number of positions in the U.S. and abroad as part of its realignment and restructuring initiative that will chop $1 billion out of its operating budget throughout fiscal year 2009.

via RTTNews – Quick facts Articles, Positive EPS Surprises, News Analysis, Earnings, Audio News…. .


cisco3* Cisco Systems released 250 of its employees from its Milpitas office Wednesday in an effort to “realign and restructure” in order to avoid a larger-scale layoff, according to company executives.

via 250 Bay Area Cisco Systems Employees Get Laid-Off – cbs5.com .


* Eclipse Aviation Corp. said it will not contest a motion by senior secured creditors to convert Eclipse’s bankruptcy proceedings to a Chapter 7 liquidation.


* OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) – According to a local official Toyotetsu is laying off 135 production workers, about a quarter of their workforce.

Employees that say they found out shortly after 1:00 Wednesday afternoon that beginning Thursday they no longer need come to work.

via 14 News, The Tri-State’s News and Weather Leader-Workers say jobs cut at Owensboro’s Toyotetsu plant.


de-beers-canada* YELLOWKNIFE – De Beers Canada is laying off workers and suspending work with contractors at its Northwest Territories Snap Lake diamond mine.

The company says 128 workers will be let go and another 90 contract employees could join the unemployment rolls.

via De Beers announces 128 layoffs at N.W.T.’s Snap Lake mine | 610 CKTB.


* RAWLINS, Wyo. (AP) – Memorial Hospital of Carbon County has laid off seven workers in the past month.

via LocalNews8.com Idaho Falls, Pocatello – Weather, News, Sports – Rawlins hospital lays off 7.


sabic* Sabic says it will have to lay off 100-to-125 employees at its Mt. Vernon facility.

via SABIC Layoffs.


* WITF already announced a round of layoffs and cutbacks this week following similar cuts in November, reductions that total $687,000. In this latest round, three people were laid off, a fourth position will not be filled, and senior staff members took a second pay cut.

via WITF cites economy in layoffs, cutbacks – PennLive.com.


* NORMAN, Okla. (AP) – The Norman Regional Health Care system plans to lay off nearly 200 employees this week amid declining revenue and lower patient volume, company officials said.

via Norman Regional Hospital to lay off nearly 200 – FOX23 News .


abitibibowaterAbitibiBowater announced late Tuesday it was temporarily laying off 650 employees from its Fort Frances mill. It was the company’s second round of layoffs at the mill within three months.

via Abitibi lays off 650 in Fort Frances – Kenora Daily Miner and News – Ontario, CA .


* However, those were temporary jobs. P&G often hires contract employees who work certain lengths of time at the plant.

via WALB.com News, Weather and Sports for Albany, Valdosta and Thomasville.  | P&G cuts 150 contract jobs.


macerich1* The company said it would cut 142 employees from its total workforce of of 2,845, as it realigns its strategic priorities, including expectations for reduced development, the company said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing after the close of the market on Wednesday.

via UPDATE 2-Macerich to cut 142 jobs, take charge | Industries | Financial Services & Real Estate | Reuters .


interfaceInterface Inc. reported a deeper loss for 2008 and said it will cut another 290 employees.

The Atlanta-based modular carpet company (NASDAQ: IFSIA) had a net loss of $41 million and a loss per share of 67 cents. This compares with a net loss of $10.8 million and a loss per share of 18 cents in 2007.

via Interface to slash jobs amid deeper annual loss – Atlanta Business Chronicle: .


* EL PASO, Texas — Fifty-eight jobs at Air Systems Components in Horizon City will be lost in early April, Lauren Macias-Cervantes of Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande said.

She also said that 55 jobs will be lost at Stored Value Solutions, a call center located at 20 Founders Lane.

via KVIA.com El Paso, Las Cruces – Weather, News, Sports – Over 100 jobs to be cut in El Paso area.


Keller said 20 to 30 jobs will be cut at the office on Breezewood in the Town of Vinland.

Keller blames a “terrible business climate” and said he won’t rule out the possibility of more cuts if the economy doesn’t get better.

via WBAY-TV Green Bay-Fox Cities-Northeast Wisconsin News: JJ Keller Lays Off Office Workers.


* High-profile metro Phoenix mall developer Westcor laid off an unspecified number of Valley employees Wednesday as it hunkered down to weather the worst economic recession in decades.

The company declined to say how many jobs were cut, but the number is believed to be about 15 percent, or around 50, at its Phoenix headquarters.

via Economy prompts layoffs at developer Westcor.


spansion4* Chipmaker Spansion Inc. has informed the Texas Workforce Commission that it cut 163 jobs in Austin this week, roughly 14 percent of its workforce

via Spansion lists 163 Austin job cuts | Statesman Business Blog.


elan-corp* Elan Corp. said it will cut about 230 jobs — including 115 in South San Francisco — as it awaits the results of Phase III trials with its potential Alzheimer’s Disease drug bapineuzumab.

via Elan to cut 115 jobs in South S.F. – San Francisco Business Times: .


* Westamerica Bancorporation laid off 38 former County Bank employees Wednesday, beginning its downsizing of the failed Merced financial institution.

via 38 former County Bank workers laid off – Breaking News – Merced Sun-Star.


* Coyote Springs says they are laying off some construction workers because of the economy. A spokesman for the massive housing development 55 miles north of Las Vegas says they are doing some downsizing.

via Las Vegas Now | Workers Laid Off at Coyote Springs.


* The firm confirmed that 10 staff attorneys have been let go for economic reasons. As of Wednesday afternoon (25 February), there were 76 people listed on the firm’s website under the ‘staff attorney’ category, with some being referred to as senior staff attorneys.

via Dechert lays off 10 more lawyers in the US – Legal Week, legal news, comment, events and legal jobs.


A financial services staffing firm has laid off 80 employees at its Hanover headquarters, part of 1,000 jobs the company cut nationwide.

Allegis Group, which recruits workers for accounting and finance, banking, human resources and sales and marketing firms, is the latest victim of a stagnant economy, said Neil Mann, the company’s executive vice president.

via Hanover firm lays off 80 workers (www.HometownGlenBurnie.com – The Maryland Gazette).


* The company said the newly announced job cuts, which include 49 workers and 36 open positions that won’t be filled, are in addition to the 150 positions it cut last summer in rebranding its higher-priced Limited Too stores to focus exclusively on its Justice chain. Tween runs 914 stores, 632 of which now display the Justice name. Before the company began the rebranding, it had nearly 600 Limited Too stores.

via Tween reports loss, cuts jobs – Business First of Columbus: .


arvinmeritor* TILBURY — The ArvinMeritor plant in Tilbury, which makes brakes for trucks, is shutting down. The Canadian Auto Workers union says it was informed yesterday morning of the decision to close June 3.

via London Free Press – Business – In Brief.


farmland-foods* Farmland Foods, Inc. has announced that it will shift spiral ham production to other facilities and close its New Riegel plant in April of this year.

The plant closure will affect approximately 230 hourly and salaried employees. The company will offer transfers to other facilities to some salaried employees.

via The Progressor Times.


xerox1* “When you’re in an economy that’s shedding millions of jobs, there’s not a lot of demand for incremental new copier capacity,” said Chris Whitmore, an analyst at Deutsche Bank AG. The slump also means more job cuts are likely at Xerox, he said. The company employed 57,100 people worldwide as of Dec. 31.

via Bloomberg.com: U.S..


pioneer-drilling* Pioneer Drilling Co (PDC.A) posted a quarterly loss, hurt by charges and weakness in its drilling and production services units, and said it would cut its workforce by 37 percent.

via UPDATE 1-Pioneer Drilling posts Q4 loss, cuts 37 pct jobs | Deals | Mergers & Acquisitions | Reuters .


amn-healthcare* SAN DIEGO — San Diego-based AMN Healthcare plans to eliminate nearly 190 positions in California and three other states, including about 40 jobs at the company’s Carmel Valley headquarters, it was reported Thursday.

via AMN Healthcare Plans To Cut 40 Local Jobs – San Diego News Story – KGTV San Diego.


* New media studio ManiaTV has laid off 15 of its 33 employees as the company preps itself for a sale, reports TheDeal.com.

via ManiaTV Lays Off Nearly Half of its Staff « NewTeeVee.


* The Commmercial Appeal has laid off 18 more employees, effective March 12, according to industry sources. Sources also report another round of layoffs could come in June.

via More layoffs at The Commercial Appeal – Memphis Business Journal: .


miami-univer* Miami University, in an effort to cut $22 million from its budget, will lay off 73 employees at its Oxford and Middletown campuse

via Miami University to lay off 73 – Business Courier of Cincinnati: .


longaberger-basket-company* NEWARK, Ohio (AP) — The Longaberger basket company is laying off 295 employees and reducing the wages of salaried workers, including the company president.

via The Associated Press: Ohio basket company lays off almost 300.


* Jeweler Finlay Enterprises (FNLY.OB), hurt by liquidity woes, is shutting its department store outlets over the near-term to concentrate on specialty jewelry stores, 40 of which it also earmarked for closure.

via UPDATE 1-Finlay to exit department stores, cut jobs | Reuters .


* CTVglobemedia Inc. yesterday joined the parade of media companies across North America who have chopped staff amid an industry downturn.

The company laid off 105 employees across its television operations, a company spokespman said.

via CTVglobemedia lays off 105 staffers from TV operations .


* Nautilus Inc. laid off 50 employees from its Vancouver headquarters on Wednesday in an attempt to cut costs at the shaky fitness company

via Nautilus lays off 50 Vancouver workers – Columbian.com.


hd1* Home Depot Inc. is laying off more than 100 local employees at its closing Expo Design Center store in Fairfax.

via Expo Center lays off 103 Fairfax employees – Washington Business Journal: .


* Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has laid off 50 employees, 7 in Rochester, Thursday in what the company is calling a re-organization of the company.

via 50 Workers Laid Off from Excellus BCBS.


* Lower-than-expected holiday sales have led Limited Brands to lay off 400 workers, 230 of them at  its Columbus headquarters, it said this morning.

via The Columbus Dispatch : Limited Brands lays off 400 as sales fall.


* SAN JOSE, Calif. — Hit hard by the dowturn, IC-assembly equipment maker, Kulicke & Soffa Industries Inc. has cut 215 more jobs, according to a filing.

via EETimes.com – K&S cuts 215 more jobs.


* Chesapeake Energy Corp. said Thursday that it will move or eliminate about 215 positions from its Charleston, W. Va., office in an attempt to cut costs amid tightening credit markets and falling energy prices.

via Chesapeake Energy to move, eliminate 215 jobs – Forbes.com.


* Jeffboat parent American Commercial Lines plans to close its downtown Houston office and move some work to its Jeffersonville headquarters.

Spokeswoman Kim Durbin said she didn’t know how many jobs will be added in Jeffersonville, but the number will be less than 100.

via American Commercial Lines plans to shift jobs to Indiana | courier-journal | The Courier-Journal.


* DENVER (AP) — The Rocky Mountain News will publish its last edition Friday.


Owner E.W. Scripps Co. announced on the newspaper’s Web site Thursday that its search for a buyer for the paper was unsuccessful…..


Boehne said the Rocky Mountain News’ 230 editorial employees would be paid through April 28.

via Rocky Mountain News closing after Friday edition – Yahoo! Finance.



International News



nissan4* MADRID (AFP) — Japanese automaker Nissan reached an agreement Wednesday with union officials at its plant in Barcelona to slash 1,400 jobs due to slumping global demand, Spanish media reported.

via AFP: Nissan to cut 1,400 jobs in Spain: reports.


basf* FRANKFURT (ICIS news)–BASF will shrink in 2009 as the company faces up to a year of “unprecedented challenges,” its CEO said on Thursday as the German chemical giant reported heavy fourth quarter losses and announced at least 1,500 worldwide job cuts.


town-hall-uk* At least 40,000 council jobs are expected to be lost this year, with two thirds of local authorities admitting that they are cutting posts to cope with the recession.

via 40,000 jobs threatened as recession hits town halls – Times Online .


* LONDON: RSA Insurance Group PLC said Thursday that it plans to cut 1,200 jobs as it reported a 7 percent fall in its full-year profit.


legal-general-group* British insurer Legal & General Group (LGEN.L) is planning to cut between 250 and 450 jobs, or up to 5 percent of it workforce, in response in changing business demand, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

via Legal & General to cut up to 450 jobs-BBC | Industries | Financial Services & Real Estate | Reuters .


* RSA has revealed plans to cut 1,200 jobs in the UK by mid-2010, as part of a cost reduction strategy aimed at making savings of £70 million.


gkn* GKN, the British car and aircraft parts maker, has warned that it will axe a futher 2,400 jobs this year as the collapse in demand for new cars intensifies.

The cuts come on top of 3,450 jobs axed last year, including 2,800 in the last three months of the year.

via GKN to cut 2,400 more jobs as car gloom deepens – Telegraph.


tietoenator* HELSINKI, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Top Nordic IT services company TietoEnator (TIE1V.HE) plans to cut about 350 jobs in response to weakening demand, it said on Thursday.

via UPDATE 1-TietoEnator to cut jobs as market weakens | Industries | Technology, Media & Telecommunications | Reuters .


carphone-warehouse* LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) – British independent mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse (CPW.L) is set to announce about 400 job losses on Thursday in a bid to cut costs and improve efficiency, The Guardian newspaper reported without citing sources.

via Carphone Warehouse to announce 400 job cuts – paper | Markets | Markets News | Reuters .


* GLOBAL construction giant Lend Lease will cut 2000 jobs and sideline about $2 billion worth of projects globally to survive the worsening economic conditions after booking an interim after-tax loss of $596.4 million.



Hiring News


wind* Centrica, the British Gas owner, is set to create 1,500 new jobs ahead of plans to invest £15bn by 2020 to ramp up its presence in the ‘green energy’ market.

via Centrica to create 1,500 green energy jobs – Telegraph.


* Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will hire 400 workers in the Jacksonville area for its new super center on the Southside.

via Wal-Mart to hire 400 for new Jacksonville store – Jacksonville Business Journal: .


* The Massachusetts unemployment agency is hiring 60 workers to deal with growing demand for services amid widespread job losses.


Mike: More bad news on the job front today as we can see from the above stories. The most disturbing report is the rapid rise in unemployment claims over the last month. I’ll discuss that in tomorrow’s posting. Fridays are usually a little calmer than Thurdays, so at least we can hope that trend continues. Until tomorrow, a laugh or two……..…….


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Tom Toles - Feb 26

Tom Toles - Feb 26




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