Mike: Good day to all. Tuesday is shaping up as a busy day in the layoff announcements department. Today we can also see the state of retail sales Store Sales and Housing Starts.

Mike: As you can see from the stories below, there is little reason to not understand why a university education now costs upwards of $40,000 per year. These types of actions are not reserved for Clemson alone and likely happen throughout the country in the salary bloated halls of university administrations.

When the higher ups of these universities chop job benefits and salaries (furloughs) at the lower levels and then raise their own pay at the same time, you know that the corruption once reserved for the like of banks, investment banks, insurance companies and other major corporations has now made it’s presence felt in the major university. Some of the yearly raises mentioned are enough to have covered the entire salary of two or three full-time employees. And I love the headline: Top Clemson administrators defend pay hikes amid cutbacks. What are these people expected to do, admit their pay hikes are a mistake during times when others are losing their jobs or having their benefits cut? These administrators will certainly eat their own to receive a salary increase and they aren’t ashamed to justify their feast:

* The raises for top administrators at Clemson who got double-digit pay increases ranged from 12.1 percent to 32.8 percent. None of the administrators receiving the raises earned less than $150,373 in 2006.

One, vice president and provost Dori Helms, saw her pay jump over the past two years by $66,791, an increase of 32.8 percent. Clemson records show that Helms was earning $270,389 on Oct. 1, 2008.

Several top officials at USC also received double-digit raises between Oct. 1, 2006, and Oct. 1, 2008. But fewer top administrators at USC got large pay increases during that time……

Margaret Lamb, director of media relations at USC, said the raises “reflect a variety of personnel actions,” which include paying for outstanding performances, re-tention and salary adjustments for those who have taken on multiple jobs or those with increased re-sponsibility.

Mike: I also find the following statement amusing. It reminds me of the AIG debacle that is currently in the headlies. AIG feels they are obligated give bonuses to their employees even though the company has lost billions of taxpayer dollars, but they will cut bonuses in the coming year. Why not cut bonuses now, or in the case of Clemson, whynot cut those outrageous salary increases in the face of a dramatic economic downturn?


Going forward, all expenditures are being and will be scrutinized,” she said. “Salaries certainly will be a part of that.”

via The Beaufort Gazette: Top Clemson administrators defend pay hikes amid cutbacks.


Mike: Clemson is faced with cutting costs to meet a reduced state budget, yet it still has the money for those top-tier raises:

Clemson is one of a number of state higher education institutions that has seen its budget cut in the 2008-2009 fiscal year. The state, facing a decline of $1 billion in its original $7 billion budget, has ordered cuts totaling $38 million to Clemson’s budget, Barker said.

via Clemson president tries to sell legislators on school’s worth to state : Local News : Anderson Independent-Mail.


Mike: And the cuts demanded include five days of unpaid furlough. So there you have it. Clemson administrators are receiving large salary increases at the same time that the state is cutting support and these same administrators are demanding furloughs of underlings. Quite the gig if you can get it:

Employees in full-time or part-time full-time equivalent (FTE) positions are eligible for the Voluntary Furlough Program. It will allow any employee to request up to 90 calendar days of leave without pay — in addition to the five-day mandatory furlough — by June 30. Approval is required.

via Clemson University budget-reduction measures include three employment options.


Marshall Ramsey - Mar 17

Marshall Ramsey - Mar 17

* Larger layoff announcements and important economic reports:


Microsoft/Google/IBM and other Rumors & News

msft2* Members of the Service Employees International Union Local 6 demonstrated at Microsoft’s Redmond campus for a second day Monday. Their gripe is not with the software giant but with a subcontractor, SBM Site Services of Sacramento, Calif., which was awarded the custodial contract in December to clean buildings at the corporate campus.

msft3* Microsoft Corp. will deliver a release candidate of Windows 7 to the public in late May, according to a report from a noted Windows Web site.

Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC), the next slated major milestone for the under-development operating system, will be made available to the public the last week of May, said Neowin.net today.

via Report: Microsoft plans May public Windows 7 release candidate.


* Pali Research analyst Rich Greenfield says “sizable layoffs” are coming to Fox Interactive. Mostly this has to do with Google being unlikely to renew its search deal with the News Corp. (NWS) property when it expires in 2010.

General Economic News


ICSC-Goldman Store Sales
7:45 AM ET

* U.S. retailers had a rough time in the week ending March 14, according to a survey from ICSC, which pointed to less spending compared to the previous week.

The ICSC-Goldman Sachs survey reported that chain store sales fell by an annual pace of 1.4%, compared to the previous week’s 0.9% contraction. On a weekly basis, sales fell 0.1%, partially reversing the previous week’s 0.2% increase.

via Two Key U.S. Weekly Retail Reports Show Spending Down | CEP News.


* Housing Starts

[Report][Star]8:30 AM ET
* WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of new housing projects that builders broke ground on in February rose sharply, defying economists’ forecasts for yet another drop in activity.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that construction of new homes and apartments jumped 22.2 percent from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 583,000 units. Economists were expecting construction to drop to a pace of around 450,000 units.


February’s pickup was led by a big increase in apartment construction.

By region, all parts of the country reported an increase in overall housing construction, except for the West, which led the housing boom and has been hard hit by the bust.

via New-home construction logs unexpected gain: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance.


* While gains in starts are certainly more encouraging than declines, today’s numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. Seasonal factors are large during winter months and it does not take much to jack up the adjusted numbers. And this likely was the case-especially with the volatile multifamily component taking the lead. January was not as weak as many believed and February is not as strong as suggested by the headline.

Bloomberg.com: Economic Calendar.


Jerry Holbert - Mar 17

Jerry Holbert - Mar 17

* March 17 (Bloomberg) — Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Federal Reserve policy makers may have to ramp up their purchases of mortgage securities and other assets after the economy and job market deteriorated further since they last met.

The Federal Open Market Committee, gathering today and tomorrow in Washington, needs to redouble its efforts after the central bank’s balance sheet shrank 17 percent from a $2.3 trillion December peak, Fed watchers said. The retreat came even as Bernanke acknowledged the chance that the unemployment rate will exceed 10 percent for the first time in a quarter century.

via Bernanke May Need to Ramp Up Fed’s Asset Purchases (Update1) – Bloomberg.com .


Municipal News


* NEW HANOVER COUNY, NC (WECT) – More than two dozen people in New Hanover County will lose their jobs Tuesday in an effort to save the county $1.6 million.

via WECT TV6 – WECT.com – Wilmington, NC news and weather – More than two dozen will face layoffs in New Hanover County.


* Declining tax revenue caused by the recession was cited as the main reason for eliminating 29 positions at Grayslake Elementary District 46 for the 2009-10 academic year.

via Daily Herald | 29 jobs cut at Grayslake elementary schools.


* Of those employees, 106 are teachers, librarians and other certified personnel. Cutting them will save the district $6 million in salaries and benefits, according to Vickie Nissen, assistant superintendent for finance. The rest are office workers, custodians, aides and the like.

US and some Canada News


cat2* PITTSBURGH (AP) — Caterpillar Inc. announced a fresh round of job cuts Tuesday, laying off more than 2,400 employees at five plants in Illinois, Indiana and Georgia as the heavy equipment maker continues to cut costs amid the global economic downturn.

In the latest cuts, the Peoria, Ill.-based company said 2,365 support and management workers had been laid off for at least six months and 89 workers had been let go permanently. Some 245 of the 2,365 layoffs had been announced previously.

Among the affected workers are 1,726 people at plants in East Peoria and Aurora, Ill.; 439 at a plant in Lafayette, Ind., and 289 in Jefferson and Griffin, Ga.

via Caterpillar lays off 2,454 workers in 3 states: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance.


cat3* Caterpillar Inc., gearing down production even further in response to still-eroding global demand, disclosed plans Tuesday to idle an additional 2,454 U.S. workers, including 1,726 in Illinois.

via Caterpillar layoffs”: Caterpillar to lay off another 2,500 workers — chicagotribune.com.


cat4* LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Caterpillar Inc. is laying off more than 400 employees at an Indiana engine plant for at least six months.

via Caterpillar laying off 439 from Indiana plant — chicagotribune.com.


cat1* PONTIAC, Ill. – Caterpillar Inc. has instituted rolling layoffs at its Pontiac plant. The move allows the heavy equipment maker to furlough the entire work force for a time while remaining in operation.

united-technologies5* Connecticut could lose between 2,000 and 3,000 jobs, mostly at United Technologies Corp., if the Pentagon cancels production of the F-22 fighter jet, UTC said Monday.

via UTC: 2,000 To 3,000 Conn. Jobs At Risk If Pentagon Cancels F-22s — Courant.com.


dana* Slumping auto output in North America, where Dana gets almost 50% of its revenue, dragged the company to a fourth loss since its bankruptcy exit on Feb. 1, 2008. Dana will eliminate more than 5,800 jobs by the end of this year, up from 5,000 announced Nov. 6, the company said in a slide presentation.

kaiser* Update: But the agreement with IBM puts 700 Kaiser jobs in jeopardy at data centers in California and Maryland. Phil Fasano, chief information officer for Kaiser Permanente, said a good portion of those workers could become IBM employees. “Forty percent of those will find jobs in IBM during a transition period of six months,” Fasano said.

In a separate action, Kaiser is eliminating an additional 160 information technology jobs scattered across 30 locations as it pares back spending due to the impact of the economic downturn.

via Kaiser to cut 860 information technology jobs.


kaiser1* The Oakland-based health maintenance organization says it will eliminate 275 jobs locally as part of a nationwide move to have IBM Corp. manage some of its data centers.

weyerh3* Weyerhaeuser Co (WY.N) said on Tuesday it would close two lumber mills, cutting 307 jobs, in the latest in a series of plant shutdowns in the wood products industry due to the weak housing market.

* In a wide-ranging interview with Sun Media, Heritage Minister James Moore also said CBC layoffs were nearly certain and expected 600 to 1,200 people across the country would lose their jobs.

via CBC layoffs nearly certain | Canada | News | Winnipeg Sun.


* SASKATOON — Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. has issued 940 temporary layoff notices to employees at its Lanigan, Allan and Rocanville operations, the result of a new cutback in potash production.

* Publisher Mi-Ai Parrish tells NewsChannel 7 the paper will cut ten percent of its workforce – or 25 jobs.

via Statesman to layoff 25, cut pay for others | KTVB.COM | Idaho Business | Boise, Idaho News, Weather, Sports & Traffic.


* The United Way for Southeastern Michigan is cutting 43 positions and trimming aid to the nonprofit agencies it supports due to a dramatic drop in revenue.

via Southeastern Michigan United Way to cut 43 jobs | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press.


* Faced with reduced state funding in the upcoming two-year budget, the Ohio Historical Society is eliminating 25 full- and part-time employees and reducing hours at a number of its sites.

via Ohio Historical Society cutting 25 jobs, trimming hours – Business First of Columbus: .


* Merkle Inc. laid off 34 workers Monday, resulting from its banking and financial services clients scaling back on marketing.

via Merkle Inc. cuts 36 jobs – Baltimore Business Journal: .


* SPENCER, Iowa – The RR Donnelley printing plant in Spencer has closed, eliminating 160 jobs.

The plant shut down on Friday, about 2 months after the Chicago-based company announced the closing because of the economic downturn.

via RR Donnelley closes Spencer plant — chicagotribune.com.


* WINONA, Minn. – TRW Automotive plants in southeastern Minnesota and southwestern Wisconsin are announcing more layoffs.

TRW spokesman John Wilkerson says a total of 42 salaried employees at plants in Winona, Minn. and Ettrick, Wis., and Galesville, Wis., were let go last Thursday.

via Layoffs announced at TRW Automotive in SE Minn. — chicagotribune.com.


* More bad news in the newspaper industry: The Tacoma and Olympia newspapers both announced layoffs Monday.

The News Tribune of Tacoma is reducing its staff by 30. The Olympian is cutting 15 positions. Jobs will be lost in all areas of the newspapers, including the newsroom. The two newspapers are owned by The McClatchy Co.

via Local News | Tacoma, Olympia newspapers announce layoffs | Seattle Times Newspaper.


* Turner Broadcasting System has laid off about 60 employees, a company spokeswoman said Monday.

The cuts were made sporadically over the past few months in various departments, including CNN, Cartoon Network, TNT, human resources, corporate communications, research, information technology and advertising sales, spokeswoman Shirley Powell said. They represent less than 1 percent of Turner’s 10,000-person work force.

via Turner has laid off 60, but is still hiring | ajc.com.


* Facing a decline in investments and donations, the American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties said today it will lay off employees.

Ten employees from the chapter’s 35-member staff are losing their jobs, effective today.

via Ohio.com – Red Cross to lay off workers in area .


* Two employees were laid off from KTVB Channel 7 on Monday as part of a company-wide staff reduction announced last week by the Belo Corporation, said KTVB General Manager Doug Armstrong.

via KTVB lays off 2 employees | Business | Idaho Statesman .


beech* Airplane maker Hawker Beechcraft’s promised layoffs struck Salina Friday as 41 workers were notified that they were losing their jobs.

via salina.com – an online service of the Salina Journal.


* Because of the two closings, about 23 teachers, four administrators and principals and six school workers were be laid off at the end of the school year.

via INFORUM | Fargo, ND .


* Timken Canada’s St. Thomas plant is shutting down for two weeks and worries are escalating more downtime may loom.

via Two-week Timken shutdown idles 355.


* Lexington Precision Corp. will shut down its facility here, putting 150 out of work. The closure is expected to start at the end of May and take several weeks, according to a notice filed with the state of Ohio.

via Lexington Precision and Other Manufacturers Announce Layoffs in Ohio – Manufacturing & Technology eJournal.


* Yet an unexpected thing happened: so few people applied for the Minot jobs that the Tampa-headquartered company will have to close the call center on May 10 — a cutback by Sykes that will result in 200 people losing their jobs.

via US firm to close branch due to lack of employees.


* Confronted with a larger-than-anticipated deficit, the Writers Guild of America, West plans to cut as many as 20 positions from its payroll by the end of the month.

via Writers Guild of America, West plans job cuts | Company Town | Los Angeles Times.


* The Port of Portland, a big employer that runs the port and the airport, expects layoffs as the global economic crunch clobbers transportation.

via Port of Portland is looking at some layoffs Pay cuts and furloughs will help reduce some costs – OregonLive.com.


newspaper19* The Belleville News Group is eliminating 30 jobs and reducing salaries at the News-Democrat and its weeklies, President and Publisher Jay Tebbe announced Monday.

* CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Several employees at Clarksville Gas and Water have been told they would lose their jobs at the ends of month.

Fifty-five people who have worked for the utility and watched the economy fall apart around them, are now part of that collapse.

via NewsChannel 5.com – Nashville, Tennessee – Layoffs Announced For Clarksville Gas & Water.


* Corning Cable Systems will permanently close its production facility at 1928 Main Ave. in Hickory. The move will affect 208 workers, according to a company filing with the N.C. Department of Commerce.

via Corning Cable to shut Hickory facility – Charlotte Business Journal:


Mike: Below is another company that refuses to give layoff totals. They should be forced to disclose layoff numbers:

* Mike Infante, a bank spokesman in Blairsville, said United Community reduced its work force company-wide, including at the corporate level. He declined to say how many employees were let go. The workers were told of the layoffs last week.

via United Community Bank announces layoffs.


* The company laid off about 16 percent of its U.S. work force — roughly 90 people — on Thursday as part of a restructuring. These layoffs come on the heels of a 12 percent cut, or 78 workers, who were let go over several weeks in late 2008 as the company vacated some of its leased space at Corporate Woods in Brighton.

via Harris Interactive lays off 90 | democratandchronicle.com | Democrat and Chronicle.


aig* AIG last week laid off six information technology employees in its Amarillo offices, a company spokesman confirmed Monday.

via AIG lays off six information technology employees at Amarillo offices | MORRIS NEWS SERVICE.


newspaper20* BRADENTON — The Bradenton Herald will eliminate 15 full-time positions, and most of the remaining staff will see their salaries reduced as part of the company’s expense reduction plan.

via Herald announces staff cuts – Business – Bradenton.com.


* Universal Brixius Inc., a Milwaukee contract manufacturer, permanently laid off 14 employees on March 13 after a reduction in orders by a major customer.

via Universal Brixius announces job cuts – The Business Journal of Milwaukee: .


* MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) One of the largest private employers in Mitchell is making another round of job cuts.

Trail King Industries announced Monday it will lay off 75 workers.

via Trail King in Mitchell lays off another 75 | KXNet.com North Dakota News.


* New Britain-based Stanley Works is cutting 36 jobs at its hand tools manufacturing facility in New Britain, the company announced Tuesday.

International News


* Dutch insurer Eureko [EUREK.UL] said on Tuesday it would cut 2,500 jobs by 2011 in order to reduce its cost base by 300 million euros after confirming a net loss of 2.1 billion euros ($2.7 billion) over 2008.

via UPDATE 1-Dutch Eureko to cut 2,500 jobs by 2011 | Industries | Financial Services & Real Estate | Reuters .


nokia* Nokia Corp. (NOK: News ) announced further actions it is taking in Devices and Markets units and also in its Corporate Development Office and global support functions. The company said it expects these plans to affect nearly 1,700 employees globally. Further, Nokia stated that it continues to seek savings in operational expenses.

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


nokia1* HELSINKI (Reuters) – The world’s top cellphone maker Nokia Oyj said on Tuesday it would slash 1,700 jobs globally across several units over the coming few months as part of its major cost cut drive.

via Nokia to cut 1,700 jobs – washingtonpost.com.


* Konkola Copper Mines, Zambia’s largest copper mine, is planning to cut 1,321 jobs next month as a cost cutting measure as it continues to suffer the effects of the global economic downturn, the president of Mines Union of Zambia told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday.

* According to data by the Labor Inspection in the district city, 300 workers from the wagon repairs factory in Septemvri will be laid off by the end of April, while 196 employees will be discharged by the Panagyurishte company “Asarel-Medet” by May 20.

via News.bg – 700 employees from the Pazardzhik region to be laid off.


* Some 330 employees of Sauer-Danfoss are to be laid off, according to JydskeVestkysten in a report that has not yet been confirmed by the company.

* Its demise follows news the Clifton Wool Scour plant near Invercargill will close, leaving up to 40 people out of work, while 56 workers have been axed from their jobs at West Otago sawmill Blue Mountain Lumber.

via City business to close | Stuff.co.nz.


gavel15* Denton Wilde Sapte has finalised the details of its redundancy programme, with the firm confirming the loss of 76 jobs, including 37 fee earners.

via Dentons finalises job cuts with 76 staff laid off – Legal Week, legal news, comment, events and legal jobs.


* AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) is considering cutting 120 jobs in Germany, or just over 9 percent of its staff in the country, the drugmaker’s German unit said on Tuesday.

Hiring News


* In fact, DECC officials said Monday that the project will put about 300 local, union construction people back to work over the next 19 months. Pykkonen said many construction workers’ outlook are grim but he is optimistic with projects like these.

via WDIO.com – DECC’s New Arena Promises 300 Jobs .


* A contract manufacturing company has moved offices to Durham from Morrisville and plans to double in size by adding 25 workers in the coming years, according to the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce.

Mike: More news as the day develops……………….

Jeff Stahler - Mar 17

Jeff Stahler - Mar 17


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