Mike: Today brought us increasing unemployment claims and record continuing claims, but improved factory orders. Consumer loan delinquencies increased, but accounting rules were changed to protect banks and other financial institutions. As a result, the stock market shot higher, but hundreds of thousands lost their jobs. It wasn’t be a few months ago that increased jobless numbers would have crashed the markets, but the market has become less concerned about jobs and more concerned about accounting tricks. If accounting tricks lead to more jobs then the changes are positive from that standpoint, but if they merely gloss over earnings and allow for CEOs to collect larger bonuses, then those changes have accomplished little. Time will tell.

Tomorrow brings us another important employment indicator; the Employment Situation. The consensus is a loss of 651,000 jobs for the month of March, but with today’s increased jobless claims number, the Employment Situation may also spike higher. Till tomorrow……….
Mike: Today’s Jobless Claims number will be the unemployment story of the day. The consensus is for another 655,000 claims, but with the euphoria in the stock market believing that the worst is behind us, this number may be expected to improve. When Jobless Claims is released at 8:30, we’ll know where things stand.

First-time claims for state unemployment benefits rose a seasonally adjusted 12,000 in the week ended March 28, hitting the highest level since October 1982, the Labor Department reported Thursday. These initial claims totaled 669,000, a level that is up 72% from the same period in the prior year.

via Initial jobless claims rise to highest level since 1982 – MarketWatch

Mike: It looks like yesterday’s higher ADP number correlated to the higher jobless claims number today. The Challenger, Gray & Christmas number looks at potential future layoffs, but if weekly jobless claims increase then the future layoff numbers are also to likely increase. In fact, the Challenger, Gray & Christmas number showed improvement last month, but jobless claims numbers continued to increase.

For some odd reason, the 669,000 jobless claims number was higher than expected. Did these economic experts think that companies wouldn’t continue to shed jobs at a record rate? Just because a few more homes were built and a few more cars were sold isn’t reason to think that employment is improving. I’m not surprised that the continuing claims number keeps increasing at record levels, since unemployment benefits are continually extended. Once those extensions expire, the continuing claims number will likely decrease, so that number isn’t as good an indicator as it was when unemployment benefits were capped at 26 weeks. However, the ongoing increase in continuing claims does indicate that jobs remain difficult to find.

Here are yesterday’s job cuts announcements to see if there is any correlation between the jobs cut number from Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. who said the number of planned job cuts announced by U.S. employers fell for the second straight month in March by 19.3 percent to 150,411 (Number of planned job cuts dips), and the ADP report which showed “private sector employers cut 742,000 jobs from payrolls in March,” ( ADP: Economy lost 742,000 jobs in March), which was 80,000 more than expected. One report shows improvement, while the other shows worsening. One of them will be a better indicator when compared to today’s Jobless Claims number. Update: Looks like the ADP number is the better indicator.
* Larger layoff announcements and important economic reports:



Microsoft/Google/IBM and other Rumors & News


msft– April 1 (Bloomberg) — Microsoft Corp., facing criticism for recruiting foreigners while making job cuts, is seeking fewer guest-worker visas this year as the pace of hiring slows.

– Last week we saw IBM (IBM) publish an open call to big cloud computing players to make their components work together… and Microsoft (MSFT) retort that IBM has no basis to speak on behalf of the industry.

But the two rivals are both in New York and under the same roof at the Cloud Computing Expo, and together they’re making peace over the issue, or at least agreeing to a cease-fire.

via IBM And Microsoft Bury The Hatchet On ‘Open Cloud’... Sort Of (IBM, MSFT).


google– Mountain View, Calif. – Confirming rumors, Google (NASD: GOOG) on Tuesday announced the launch of Google Ventures, a new $100 million venture capital fund that it will be used to invest in early-stage companies.

via Google Launches $100 Million Venture Capital Fund | Digital Media Wire.


Mike: The following isn’t quite to the point of European workers protest, but it’s a start.

ibm– A Somers resident and 40-year IBM veteran laid off earlier this year from the Armonk-based computer giant will be outside Big Blue’s Somers campus at 11:30 a.m. today to protest what he calls age discrimination in the medical insurance packages offered terminated workers.

General Economic News


Jobless Claims
8:30 AM ET
– April 2 (Bloomberg) — The number of Americans filing unemployment claims unexpectedly rose to the highest level since 1982 last week and those staying on benefit rolls jumped to a record as companies kept cutting jobs to trim costs.

Initial jobless claims swelled by 12,000 to 669,000 in the week ended March 28, topping 600,000 for a ninth straight time, after a revised 657,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The number of people staying on benefit rolls soared in the prior week to 5.73 million.

via U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Rose by 12,000 to 669,000 Last Week – Bloomberg.com .


Factory Orders
10:00 AM ET
– The 1.8 percent increase in new orders reported by the Commerce Department followed a 3.5 percent decline in January — an indication that orders were falling more slowly. New orders for durable goods such as appliances and autos were up slightly more than previously reported.
– NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Monster Employment Index fell 4 points in March, and is now down 29% year-over-year, indicating a continued deceleration in online recruitment activity at the end of the first quarter.
Mike: It’s nice to know that we are ruled by government organizations and agencies that just make up and change accounting rules as they go along. If I ever get audited by the IRS, I will say that there really isn’t any problem with the way I value assets because I changed the rules to make it more beneficial to my tax return.
– WASHINGTON (AP) — The board that sets U.S. accounting standards on Thursday gave companies more leeway when valuing assets and reporting losses, providing a potential boost to battered banks’ balance sheets.

The independent Financial Accounting Standards Board voted to adopt new guidelines under the so-called mark-to-market accounting rules, which require companies to value assets at prices reflecting current market conditions. The board was meeting at its headquarters in Norwalk, Conn.

via FASB gives firms more leeway in valuing assets – Yahoo! Finance.


Mike Luckovich - Apr 1

Mike Luckovich - Apr 1

– The delinquency rate during the fourth quarter across multiple types of closed-end consumer loans increased to 3.22 percent, according to the ABA’s consumer credit delinquency bulletin. The delinquency rate is the highest ever recorded since the ABA began tracking the rate in the mid 1970s.

Delinquencies increased from 2.65 percent during the fourth quarter in 2007 and 2.90 percent during the third quarter of 2008.

The ABA also noted that credit card delinquencies, which aren’t included in its composite delinquency rate because they are not closed-end loans, increased to 4.52 percent during the fourth quarter. The delinquency rate for credit cards was 4.38 percent during the final quarter in 2007 and 4.20 percent during the third quarter of 2008.

via Consumer loan delinquencies rise in 4th quarter – Yahoo! Finance.


Government Layoff News


usps– CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The U.S. Postal Service says it’s closing three mail processing centers and eliminating about 1,490 jobs in West Virginia, Indiana and Arizona.

– Hours after Portland police unions rejected a proposal to freeze wages for a year, city officials announced that they will lay off an undisclosed number of police officers.

via Portland Announces Police Layoffs After Unions Reject Wage Freeze – 4/01/09 11:17 AM EST.


– STOCKTON – At the end of a specially called meeting before an audience of about 300 at Franklin High School, the Stockton Unified school board voted 4-3 Wednesday night to eliminate 163 classified positions, 62 of which are vacant.

via Recordnet.com: SUSD axes 163 support staff jobs.


– FLINT, Michigan — The Flint School District will lay off 257 teachers at the end of the school year.

via Flint schools to lay off 257 teachers at end of school year – Flint News – The Latest News, Blogs, Photos & Videos – MLive.com .


– The town is eliminating a total of six full-time positions plus part-time spots, and the staff cuts will affect every department — from parks and recreation to streets maintenance and planning.

via Telluride Daily Planet > Archives > News > Town cuts staff, services as tax revenues drop.


– The Clayton County school board eliminated 19 administrators this week — saving the district about $900,000.

US and some Canada Layoff News


bombardier– MONTREAL — Bombardier Inc. is slashing 10 per cent of its workforce, or about 3,000 jobs, as it adjusts to the impact of the global economic crisis.

The Montreal-based company said today it will have to slow down production rates of its aircraft, particularly its business jets, in order to cope with slowing demand.

via reportonbusiness.com: Bombardier to cut 3,000 jobs.


ak-steel– ZANESVILLE – Layoffs and reduced schedules are expected to continue at AK Steel’s Coshocton and Zanesville plants.

Alan McCoy, vice president of government and public relations, said there were 150 employees on a layoff last week -75 from each plant. This week there were a total of 145 on a layoff at both plants -60 from Zanesville and 75 from Coshocton.

via More layoffs, reduced schedules at AK Steel | coshoctontribune.com | Coshocton Tribune.


– PLEASANT PRAIRIE – Permacel, which manufactures industrial tape, is to close by Sept. 30, putting some 100 employees out of work.

via Kenosha News | Pleasant Prairie factory to close by Sept. 30.


international-paper1– International Paper will close its lumber mill near Franklin and reduce employment in other departments, laying off nearly 160 workers, the company announced Wednesday.

via Franklin lumber mill to close; nearly 160 to be laid off | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com.


goodrich– TUSCALOOSA | BFGoodrich plans to lay off 50 hourly workers at its Tuscaloosa plant effective Monday.

via BFGoodrich to lay off 50 in city | TuscaloosaNews.com | The Tuscaloosa News | Tuscaloosa, AL.


kohler– Kohler Company announced a workforce reduction of 455 positions at its corporate headquarters in the Village of Kohler Thursday. The cuts include 357 production and 98 administrative positions.

– WHARTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) — Sixty five workers are out of a job after a coal mine shutdown in Boone County.

The general manager of Long Branch Energy, Greg Patterson, tells WSAZ.com that the company has ceased operations at its number 25 mine in Wharton.

via Boone County Coal Mine Shut Down, 65 Jobs Lost.


schnitzer-steel– Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc. on Thursday said it has cut more than 500 jobs and another 350 contractors as it reduced production to meet ever-dwindling demand.

– Celebrity blogging company Buzz Media has cut 20% of its workforce.

The cuts amount to around 15 employees, leaving a total of 75, and come only weeks after the company (previously known as Buzznet) raised a round of $12.5 million.

via Buzz Media cuts 20% of workforce.


– Internap Network Services Corp. said late Tuesday that it will cut 45 jobs, or 10 percent of its work force, to bring down its operating costs.

via Internap to trim 45 employees, 10 percent of total – Forbes.com.


boaJobs Cut at B of A/Merrill Muni Groups – 04.02.2009 – Bond Buyer Article.


autodesk – The company said it would announce details of the new cost-cutting plan next month. Autodesk also reiterated its fiscal first-quarter outlook Thursday.

via Autodesk names finance chief, plans to cut more jobs – MarketWatch .


rite-aid– Rite Aid will shut down its distribution center in Newnan, Ga., and cut 297 jobs by the end of September to “improve operational efficiency.”

via Rite Aid closing Newnan facility, to cut 297 jobs – Atlanta Business Chronicle: .


– A total of 50 employees would be permanently laid off by Sept. 11.

via Tekonsha plant to cut 50 jobs | battlecreekenquirer.com | The Enquirer.


– The layoffs will affect around 20 employees of the Owings Mills-based technology company’s work force of 200. The first round of job cuts were made in January, the company said.

via Avatech Solutions sheds jobs, cuts salaries – Baltimore Business Journal: .


– The downturn in the economy and, presumably, cutbacks in spending levels by clients, led Havas’s MPG to lay off 10% of its 460-strong U.S. workforce today (Thursday). Most of the cuts took place at the agency’s headquarters in New York, though Boston and Chicago were also affected.

via Havas’s MPG Cuts U.S. Workforce 10% – Media Buyer Planner.


– As part of a company-wide restructuring in North America, Europe and Asia, Dorel Industries will reduce its workforce at its Cannondale bicycle factory in Pennsylvania by two-thirds this year.

– A local company that makes plastic components for a variety of industries laid off nearly 40 workers last week, though the company president said he hopes the move is temporary.

via Layoffs hit home in Verona.


gavel2– Mayer Brown has announced that it is cutting 45 attorneys and 90 administrative staffers across its US offices.

via BREAKING: Mayer Brown Cuts 135 Lawyers, Staff Across U.S..


cornell1– ITHACA – Layoffs at Cornell University have been proceeding piecemeal over the past several months, with a total of 121 non-faculty, non-union employees laid off or receiving notice of a layoff to take effect before the end of the fiscal year.

via Cornell non-faculty and non-union layoffs total 121 | ithacajournal.com | The Ithaca Journal.


– Residential building product maker Ply Gem Industries Inc. will cut around 160 jobs and trim expenses by $6 million, the company’s latest cutbacks to deal with the slumping housing market.

via Ply Gem to cut 160 jobs, shift others – Triangle Business Journal: .


– According to a Twitter post from Evan Hansen, the Web site’s editor-in-chief, the company laid off 3 out of 25 full-time staffers or 12 percent of its workforce.

via Wired.com lays off 12 percent of staff | Digital Media – CNET News.


newspaper2– RICHMOND – The Richmond Times-Dispatch has laid off 59 workers and cut 31 vacant positions in response to declines in advertising revenue.

via Richmond newspaper eliminates 90 jobs – WTKR.


smurfit-stone– Packaging giant Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. is closing a corrugated container plant in Mansfield in May as it works to stay afloat under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

via Smurfit-Stone closing Mansfield plant, cutting 91 – Business First of Columbus: .


-Findlay Industries Inc., a Pulaski County maker of truck cab interior components for Volvo Trucks North America, will close by May 1, putting more than 100 people out of work.

via Volvo partmaker Findlay to close plant in Pulaski Co. – Roanoke.com.


– Chances are, you don’t subscribe to magazines like you used to. As more people do that, it’s killing companies that print many national magazines. Now, 347 local jobs are about to go at the Quebecor World plant off Highway 51

International Layoff News


bombardier1– A slump in demand for corporate jets has forced plane maker Bombardier to slash 3,000 jobs, including almost 1,000 in Northern Ireland.

Canadian-owned Bombardier, best known for its Learjet executive plane, confirmed this morning it was reducing its global workforce by 10%. This is on top of 1,360 job cuts announced in February, including 300 in Belfast.

via Corporate jet taboo forces Bombardier to shed 3,000 jobs | Business | guardian.co.uk .


swiss-re– Reinsurance giant Swiss Re said it planned to cut 10% of its workforce – equivalent to around 1,150 jobs – as part of an efficiency drive.

The Zurich-based company, which has its main UK office at the “Gherkin” tower in the City of London, did not disclose where the jobs will go or how many staff were employed in the UK. It also has an office at Folkestone, Kent.

via The Press Association: Insurance company to cut 1,150 jobs.


aviva1– UK insurer Aviva, which owns Norwich Union, is to cut 1,100 jobs during 2009 as part of an efficiency drive, it has said in a statement.

beneteau– Shares in Beneteau fall as much 5.1 percent after daily Le Figaro reports the French boat maker may cut between 700 and 800 jobs to adjust to a 50 percent fall in orders since January.

– Former workers at the UK arm of US car parts firm Visteon have occupied a factory in Enfield, north London, the Unite union says.

They are also protesting at a plant in Essex, while 80 workers are still taking part in a sit-in at a factory in Belfast which began on Tuesday.

via BBC NEWS | Business | Car plant workers occupy factory.


– Prime Minister Karim Masimov said the state holding company Samruk-Kazyna will reduce its workforce by half, cut pay by an average 30 percent and that its subsidiary companies will slash their payrolls by 15 percent.

– Another 95 redundancies are to be sought at engineering firm FG Wilson’s three plants in Co Antrim.

via NI engineering firm seeks 95 further redundancies – The Irish Times – Wed, Apr 01, 2009.


– STAFF AT both Shaws and Haddens, Carlow have been left reeling with the news this week that ten of the stores’ longest serving staff will lose their jobs.

via Employees shocked as Shaws and Haddens demand redundancies .


– Julius Baer Holding said Wednesday it plans to lower overall operating expenses by up to 15% with measures that include job cuts at its flagship private bank.

via Julius Baer eyes job cuts in bid to slash costs.


– Filtrona Filters in Bedesway, Jarrow, which employs 365 staff, is blaming a worldwide decline in the tobacco market for axing 233 workers.

via BBC NEWS | UK | England | Tyne | Cigarette filter maker axes jobs.


– JOBS are being axed at Merseytravel – including nearly half its tunnels police force and the potential loss of a Mersey ferry.

via Liverpool Echo.co.uk – News – Liverpool Local News – Merseytravel announces plans to axe jobs in reorganisation.


– British home shopping and education supplies firm Findel (FDL.L) is closing its loss-making Cotswold Company and Letterbox brands as part of a streamlining that will lead to about 60 job losses.

via UPDATE 2-Findel cuts 60 jobs as closes Cotswold, Letterbox | Global Industries | Autos & Transport | Reuters .


– Salzburg window- and door-fitting manufacturer MACO announced today (Weds) that 440 of its 700 employees would begin six months of part-time work effective immediately.

via Austrian Times – Home > Business > Maco cuts half workforce to part-time.


– National Australia Bank Ltd will cut more than 50 personal banking staff from branches around the country, most of them in NSW, while adding a net 60 jobs to its business banking operations.

via Business Spectator – NAB sacks more than 50 personal banking staff.


– Johnstons of Elgin are to cut 40 jobs at their textiles mill, which employs more than 250 workers, in the town’s Mansfield Road.

Hiring News and News You Can Use


– The U.S. Department of Energy says it will hire as many as 3,000 workers to clean up the Savannah River Site, a nuclear weapons complex with a legacy of radioactive contamination.

– WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. – Wisconsin Rapids is getting a new factory that is expected to create about 400 jobs.

Mayor Mary Jo Carson said Energy Composites Corp. plans to begin construction on the 350,000 square foot plant as soon as this spring.

via Wisconsin Rapids plant to create 400 jobs — chicagotribune.com.


– Consumers would shop more if they weren’t so worried about losing their jobs.

Or so goes the thinking behind an increase in marketing campaigns aimed at taking the risk out of spending.

From cars to suits, airline tickets to gym memberships, companies are gearing their advertisements toward people who have been recently laid off or fear they may soon be in the unemployment line.

via Businesses offer security to make the sale –– chicagotribune.com.


– Walgreens is offering free health care services through its Take Care Clinics for routine illnesses suffered by certain laid off workers and their families who don’t have health insurance. However there are some catches.

via Walgreens clinics offering free service to certain laid off workers | Health Matters | STLtoday.


– Speaking at Ivy Tech Community College today, Gov. Mitch Daniels said seven companies will invest more than $22.6 million to add over 500 jobs to the area.

Mike: One blog reader left the following in the comments area, but I’ll post it here, too:

Join us on May 6, 2009, from 8am-3pm at the Chase Center on the Riverfront for The Delaware Job Hunters Education and Networking Event. This important and timely event is being held to provide education to Delaware job seekers to improve their job search skills and gain a competitive edge in today’s job market. The event will also provide attendees the opportunity to meet with local companies to learn about job opportunities. This is a FREE event.

To register for the event call Joyce Dungee Proctor at 302-504-9922 or visit http://www.integritycareertransitions.com and click on seminars and choose the Delaware Job Hunters event to register.


Mike: Tomorrow brings us another important employment indicator; the Employment Situation. The consensus is a loss of 651,000 jobs for the month of March, but with today’s increased jobless claims number, the Employment Situation may also spike higher. Tilltomorrow………………………


French workers kidnap CEO. From the Colbert Report:

Jeff Stahler - Apr 2

Jeff Stahler - Apr 2


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