Mike: I hope you all had a fine weekend. I wasn’t able to publish a full weekend post, but I’ll publish this a little early and update as the day moves along.
Mike: The following reminds me of the AIG fiasco. Here you have the state of Nevada, which has one of the fastest growing unemployment rates and leads the country in foreclosuers, finding a way to give its executives larger salaries. In AIG’s case it’s a case of rewarding employees for driving the company into the ground and then having to exist solely on the backs of the taxpayer. In Nevada, and I’m sure other states, you have executives that oversaw the current financial crises in employment and housing. While they may not have been able to do a great deal about the employment situation, they could have at least raised some of the many housing debacle issues, such as over development, consumer protection with mortgage writing, and properly overseeing the housing appraisal, mortgage broker and real estate sectors. They have proved to be poor stewards yet they still think they deserve increased salaries and benefits. The AIG’ method of rewarding failure is unfortunately becoming more the rule than the exception.
* CARSON CITY, Nev. — Gov. Jim Gibbons’s chief of staff is continuing to defend salary increases in the governor’s office, saying that overall payroll costs have been cut by 11 percent.
Some employees in the governor’s office have seen significant pay boosts but only because they were promoted to new jobs with added duties, Josh Hicks said.
Mike: New York holds firm its reputation for having the most dysfunctional legislative body in the country asit continues to swindle the public that it serves. Say one thing and do another. Mr. Patterson and the Democrat controlled legislature were a breath of fresh air – for about two weeks………
ALBANY — Gov. David A. Paterson, with much fanfare, last year ordered a “hard” hiring freeze to help contain costs for the deficit-plagued state budget.
But since October, more than 8,000 people have been added to the state’s payroll.
The new state workers — from college professors and snowplow operators to state troopers and even a ski school instructor — are on top of the more than 31,000 people hired during a previous three-month hiring period examined last fall by The Buffalo News during the freeze period, which began last July 30.
- Boeing handing out another 900 layoff notices
- Postal service to slash more than 3,000 jobs
- Santa Cruz County unemployment hits 13 percent
- February existing home sales rise by 5.1 percent
- Superferry Lays Off 240 Employees –
- Playboy Enterprises Closing NYC Offices, 100 Laid-Off
- Corning to close Va. plant, put 200 out of jobs
- General Economic News
– Microsoft/Google/IBM and other Rumors & News –
* The number of workers that IBM Corp. employs in the U.S. declined by about 5% last year, but the company’s overall headcount is increasing because of overseas hiring.
IBM finished 2008 with 115,000 U.S. employees, down from the 121,000 it reported at the end of 2007, according to its most recent annual report released this month. Overall, IBM finished 2008 with 398,455 employees worldwide, an increase of nearly 12,000 or about 3%.
* In a letter leaked to Microscope, Dell told its employees that it was beginning a 90-day consultation period with staff, with compulsory job losses anticipated across the board as it places priority on maintaining margins.
Existing Home Sales
10:00 AM ET
Mike: These housing clowns make a small seasonal jump in housing seem like a reincarnation of the bubble years. They don’t mention that sales are down 3.6% from February 2008. Also, home sales are being driven by foreclosure sales, which is bound to keep the lid on any home price increases. While an increase in housing sales is better than a decrease, it’s the numbers behind the numbers that make the difference. Take a look at the following blog if you want the real housing story: http://thehousingbubbleblog.com/index.html. Don’t listen to the real estate mantra that demands “buy now, or be priced out forever!”
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of previously occupied homes jumped unexpectedly in February by the largest amount in nearly six years as first-time buyers took advantage of deep discounts on foreclosures and other distressed properties.
Economists said sales, while still at levels not seen since 1997, may finally be coming back to life after declining sharply following the stock market plunge last autumn.
* Single family homes sales rose 4.4% in February, but are still 3.6% below year-ago levels. Prices for single family homes fell 15.0% in the year ending in February. Sales of condos in February rose 11.4%, but are still down 13.1% over the year. Prices of condos fell 18.7%.
Mike: The following echos my March 13 post “Grandstanding TX gov. rejects unemployment Stimulus money,” where I discussed the bizarre actions of TX governor Perry and his refusal to accept stimulus money for the unemployed of his state. Here the NY Times puts it into perspective:
* Republican governors who have been threatening to refuse federal aid rather than sensibly expand state unemployment insurance programs are putting ideology ahead of the needs of their constituents.
The two most prominent grandstanders — Rick Perry of Texas and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana — should listen to lawmakers and taxpayers in their own states who are demanding that they do what’s best for their most vulnerable citizens.
*WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is hoping it has finally come up with the right formula to resolve the nation’s worst banking crisis in 70 years. The program Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will unveil Monday seeks to tap the resources of the government’s $700 billion bailout fund, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as well as private investors.
The goal is to buy as much as $1 trillion in bad assets that are weighing on banks’ balance sheets, stifling their ability to resume more normal lending to families and businesses. The loan crunch is depressing economic activity and making the current recession more prolonged and severe.
Mike: The unemployment numbers are getting to the startling stage. And these numbers are on the light side of the government estimate, since discouraged workers are not included. For if they were, the unemployment rate would likely near 20%.
* SANTA CRUZ – For the past three years, the percentage of local jobless workers in February was about the same as in January. This year, the numbers are growing – unemployment in Santa Cruz County rose from 12.6 percent to 13.1 percent.
* WASHINGTON, March 20 (Reuters) – U.S. employers stepped up mass layoff actions in February, government data showed on Friday, hurt by the severe economic downturn.
The Labor Department said the number of mass layoffs — defined as job cuts involving at least 50 people from a single employer — rose by 542 in February from January to a seasonally adjusted 2,769.
Mike: Instead of those tourist bus trips to the famous digs of movie and TV stars, we now gawk at the lavishness of the corrupt banking thieves. I guess it’s not much different than taking a home tour of money criminals past, such as Bonnie & Clyde, Al Capone, Michael Milken and Ken Lay.
* The bus pulled to a stop, and a pastor whose sister-in-law was facing foreclosure, a laid-off steelworker with a wife and five children, and a few of their colleagues nervously stepped out, like sightseers in some exotic land, The New York Times’s Manny Fernandez reported from Fairfield, Conn.
The exotic land was a residential neighborhood here in one of the wealthiest places in America, Fairfield County, where, at the end of a cul-de-sac a short walk away, an executive at the American International Group lived.
* WASHINGTON (CNN) — The U.S. Postal Service will be cutting more than 3,000 jobs and offering nearly a quarter of its work force early retirement as part of its efforts to streamline operations amid the worsening economy, the agency said Friday.
The Postal Service said work force cutbacks will save the agency $100 million annually.
Among the job cuts are 1,400 district administrative staff positions and another 1,400 mail processing and management jobs nationwide. More than 500 employees will be out of a job with the closure of six district offices that house only administrative functions, the agency said.
* The U.S. Postal Service said Friday it will cut jobs, offer early retirement to tens of thousands of employees and close administrative offices, the latest round of cutbacks in the last year.
The Postal Service plans to close six of its 80 district offices this year, and reduce administrative staff positions at the district level by 15 percent, including 1,400 mail processing supervisor and management positions at nearly 400 facilities around the country.
Mike: With state, county and city budgets coming into focus, the potential layoff numbers are being announced. Many of these layoffs might not materialize because of stimulus money going to localities, but the layoff numbers could nonetheless be quite large as the stories below indicate:
* D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty Friday unveiled a fiscal 2010 budget that calls for eliminating more than 1,600 jobs, freezing tax exemptions and imposing new fees to help the city close a roughly $800 million shortfall.
* County Executive Steve Levy sent out layoff notices to 2,200 county employees Friday and agreed to use $30 million from the county’s rainy day fund to equal what he is seeking in union concessions.
The 60-day warnings, which went out by letter, are sent to a far larger number than the 386 positions on the layoff list because the county also must notify those who would move to lower job titles under the county’s bump and retreat system.
*OSHKOSH, Wis. – An Oshkosh school district official says more than 40 teachers will receive initial layoff notices Monday.
* FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Fort Wayne Community Schools will eliminate 49 teaching positions from next school year’s district payroll as part of a plan to cut $4 million from its budget, school officials said.
* The Collingswood Board of Education has unveiled a spending plan that calls for the elimination of 10 positions.
* Boeing’s third round of layoffs this year will affect 710 workers in the Puget Sound area starting May 22, according to a WARN notice received by the state.
Of the workers, 458 of them are in the Machinists union, three are in the International Union of Operating Engineers, 13 are in the Society of Professional Engineering Employees and 236 are not in a bargaining unit.
* Boeing Co. is handing out another 900 layoff notices, 650 of those to Commercial Airplane workers in the Puget Sound area.
Spokesman Tim Healy says the 60-day warnings sent out Friday will take effect May 22 or later. He says they are part of the planned 10,000 job cuts this year that Boeing announced in January.
* As a result, Poniard will cut eight employees, or 12 percent of its staff. It will evaluate “strategic alternatives” for the preclinical programs it’s cutting. The company did not say how much the cuts would extend its cash runway.
* After Friday night, close to 130 workers will be without a job in Chambers County.
* Otherwise production has stopped at the plant, which is scheduled to close today leaving about 75 employees jobless.
* Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. this week began laying off up to 10 percent of its corporate workforce, cuts that could lead to roughly 100 lost jobs in Chicago.
* An employee with the company tells Indiana’s NewsCenter that the company is cutting 6-percent of it’s workforce company wide.
* Right now, the company is asking for volunteers to accept buyout offers; That would include severance pay and extended insurance benefits. Aisin officials say, if that doesn’t work, they may have to implement involuntary layoffs; That would include limited benefits, but the potential to be rehired.
* The regional trucking arm of YRC Worldwide Inc. told customers it will shutter 11 service centers operated by its Holland brand.
The centers mostly are in the northeast but include a center in Wichita. The closings will affect 350 employees, including 20 in Wichita but none in the Kansas City area.
* The Denver Post’s business arm laid off 40 employees Friday as the first phase of a planned 200-worker reduction of its 1,050-person staff over the next few weeks.
* According to an article published Friday, those leaving the company include Editor Don Nelson. Also leaving are a news assistant and two reporters who previously wrote for the Courier-Times and The Argus.
* In addition to the 82 companywide layoffs — 60 full-time and 22 part-time employees — the Observer also plans to reduce the hours of some employees. The company’s plan to save costs also includes a one-week furlough for employees later this year if economic conditions don’t improve.
* LEXINGTON, KY — The Lexington Herald-Leader has cut 15 percent of its workforce as 49 full-time and 4 part-time employees were laid-off Monday morning.
* Fort Smith – Another 30 to 35 workers will be laid off at the Trane Air-Conditioning Plant in Fort Smith on Monday.
* Hanesbrands Inc. spokesman Matt Hall says 46 workers are being laid off from its Virginia Service Center. Separately, CPFilms says it’s axing 45 jobs. Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Hanesbrands employs about 300 people in Martinsville.
* Advance Engineered Products intends to lay off 96 employees and reduce operations to a single shift.
* FRISCO, Colo. (AP) ―The Henderson mine west of Denver has laid off 50 workers as parent company Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. struggles with a decrease in global demand for molybdenum and falling metals prices.
* Southwest Windpower laid off 14 workers at its Flagstaff manufacturing plant on Friday. Chief executive Frank Greco says lower-than-expected revenues over the last few months forced the company to make the move.
* WEST BRANCH, IOWA: Acciona Windpower plans to cut employment by 58 at its one-year-old West Branch factory in response to slackening demand for wind turbines.
* About 100 positions will be lost when Air Labrador discontinues its Dash 8 regional service at the end of April.
* Troutman Sanders said Friday that the firm will lay off associates and offer staff a voluntary buyout, which is likely to be followed by a layoff. The 778-lawyer firm also has pushed back the start date for its 2009 first-year associates to January and shaved two weeks off its summer associate program.
* Law firm Saul Ewing said Monday it has laid off seven lawyers and seven staff members.
* Cost-cutting measures in the new budget include the reorganization of the Congregational Services staff group, the elimination of several staff positions, reduced travel budgets, and electronic delivery of several UUA publications.
* Bristow Group Inc (BRS.N), which provides helicopter services to the offshore energy industry, said it would reduce work force by less than 10 percent, citing challenging market conditions.
* East Providence, RI — Victoria & Co., the East Providence firm that designs, markets and distributes wholesale fashion jewelry and other products for its owner, the Jones Apparel Group, Inc., is cutting about 70 jobs in Rhode Island.
* LDS Test & Measurement LLC has decided to close its operations in Middleton, resulting in the loss of 51 jobs.
* HONOLULU — The Hawaii Superferry Saturday laid off 240 employees as it prepares to shut down operations in Hawaii for the time being.
* ABP Induction LLC, a Brookfield provider of induction heat treating, forging and other metal treating services, has informed the state of Wisconsin that because of various order cancellations and postponements by customers, it has laid off 31 workers at its Brookfield site.
* NEW YORK (AP) — Playboy Enterprises is closing its Manhattan office and laying off employees as it struggles with falling advertising revenue and a gloomy economic climate.
* Newseum spokeswoman Susan Bennett said Monday the museum laid off 13 people last week. Combined with an earlier round of cuts in November, the museum staff has been reduced by 31 positions to 219 jobs from 250 jobs.
* Corning Inc. will close its Danville plant by the end of the year, putting about 200 people out of jobs.
* Trucking company USF Holland Inc. will layoff 39 employees at its Glenmont plant on April 3, according to a notice filed with the state Labor Department today.
* “What’s happening now in retail is you’re having a dominoes effect as one goes out they’re all starting to fall,” says Sofos.
A trend not happening only in Waikiki – but across town, to both big and small businesses.
* TOKYO (AFP) — Japan’s biggest bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, struggling to return to profit, said Monday that it would cut 1,000 jobs and close 50 branches over three years in a bid to cut costs.
The megabank will shed the jobs through retirement and reducing hiring, said a company spokesman who declined to be named.
* Daewoo Electronics said it would slash 40 percent of its workforce, or 1,000 to 1,200 employees, and shed its unprofitable TV and air-conditioner businesses.
* LONDON: The Daily Mail and General Trust said Monday it expects to shed a thousand jobs in its Northcliffe Media unit, which produces more than 110 local publications.
The trust said advertising revenues at Northcliffe Media were expected to be down 37 percent in the current quarter, worse than the group’s overall drop of 24 percent.
* Electrical retailer Apollo 2000 and gas appliance supplier Arrow Distributors have gone into administration, making 50 drivers redundant.
* Levi Strauss said it has agreed with trade unions on a severance package for the 549 people who will lose their jobs by the end of June, when the factory in the southern city of Kiskunhalas is scheduled to close.
* Berks County-based Carpenter Technology is closing a plant in Europe as sales and operating margins fall below estimates. Carpenter says the plant in Crawley, U.K. is a metal strip manufacturing facility, and it employs 33 people.
* SIXTEEN workers at Gippsland Aeronautics have been made redundant.
The job cuts follow weeks of uncertainty for many of the company’s 100 employees, who were stood down five weeks ago because of a lack of work.
* Qantas, the Australian flag carrier, will this week make public a restructuring plan that includes a second wave of redundancies after an examination of the airline’s business under Alan Joyce, its new chief executive.
Staff and unions will be told the job losses are needed to match reduced capacity requirements as passenger revenues have deteriorated.
* Following speculation around the city during the weekend, DTZ Otago branch manager Stephen Cairns was contacted yesterday and confirmed the six full-time and one part-time jobs would cease on April 17 when DTZ closed its doors.
* Mayer Brown has revealed that is set to restructure its London office, a move which could see the loss of 55 jobs.
The firm is expecting to lose up to 23 associates and 32 support staff, including secretaries, as a result of the restructuring, which is likely to hit transactional areas such as corporate and real estate the hardest.
* Renew’s specialist building division which downsized by 14 per cent last autumn is to be trimmed back by a further 23 per cent.
* South African leasing and capital equipment firm Eqstra Holdings plans to cut 7 percent of its workforce as it freezes expansion plans owing to weak demand for its products and services, it chief said.
* Renew’s Specialist Building division – already downsized by 14% last autumn – is to suffer a further trimming back so that total capacity will be down by 37% in total.
* It is reported that Gibraltar Industries has made significant cuts in its headquarters staff as it reels from the deep slumps in its main construction and automotive markets. As per report, Gibraltar is making the cuts to stem what company officials have predicted will be further losses during the current quarter.
* LONDON (AFP) — Aircraft maker Airbus is to cut some 250 jobs in Britain, as struggling airlines cut their order books in response to the global economic downturn, unions and the company said.
* UBS, the world’s biggest wealth manager, has laid off a team of six private bankers in Singapore who were managing wealth for Turkish clients, sources told Reuters on Monday.
* Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. will cut workforce by 70 employees. It is understood that all employees which will go on early retirement are over the age of 50.
* Plastics processing machinery producer Krauss-Maffei is looking to lay off 10% of its 2,000 staff, with negotiations already underway with the works council in Munich.
* Vodafone has become the latest major British employer to impose a pay freeze on its workforce.
In a telling sign of the recessionary times, the mobile giant has shelved pay rises and forbidden bonuses for its 10,000 staff in the UK.
* AROUND 80 people are expected to be made redundant from a company that makes windows and conservatories.
* With the unemployment rate in California now into double digits, the state Employment Development Department is stepping up its efforts to provide unemployment insurance benefit assistance by opening its call center phone lines from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, beginning March 21 — and by hiring 400 additional staff to keep up with demand.
* The mutual fund company, in the midst of laying off at least 3,000 employees including analysts at its investment unit, is also hiring. The company is adding new analysts and other investment professionals, and says it plans to expand research offices in Hong Kong and Tokyo this year.
* The city of Albuquerque is hiring 100 people for lifeguard positions.
* Most of the returning workers are on the production side, though there’s no word on exactly how many will return to work.
* Scheduled for the next two years, the new program is expected to help about 300 low-income young people by tacking a work component onto existing career camps.
Mike: A fairly active layoff announcement day, but at least the stock market reacted favorably to the Obama toxic asset feast that will make taxpayers the owner of more bank garbage. At least Spring Break is upon us, so who cares about those trivial matters. It’s time to party in in warm weather, as the following Daily Show video highlights. Enjoy your evening and till tomorrow………….