Mike:  Today brings us the weekly Jobless Claims  number and  Existing Home Sales. Jobless claims rose  to 640,000. Last weeks revised drop to 613,000. The bit of good news in the report showed that the four-week moving average declined 4,250 to 646,750. A continued decrease in the four-week moving average is a better iindicator of job loss trends than the weekly reports.
As I have mentioned previously, the continuing claims number is somewhat misleading, since the feds and state have added additional weeks to those collecting unemployment. Some states allow unemployment benefits for up to 72 weeks. Once those extended benefits are exhausted, the continuing claims number will also decrease. It does indicate that jobs are difficult to find, but it’s more an indication of extended benefits policy.

April 23 (Bloomberg) — The number of Americans filing first- time applications for unemployment insurance rose last week to 640,000 as forecast, while total benefit rolls reached a new record, a sign companies remain in job-cutting mode.

Initial jobless claims increased by 27,000 in the week that ended April 18, from a revised 613,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The number of people staying on jobless benefit rose by 93,000 to 6.14 million, the 12th straight week the figure has set a record.

via U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Rose 27,000 to 640,000 Last Week – Bloomberg.com .


For the week ended April 11, the number of people collecting state unemployment benefits reached yet another new record, gaining 93,000 to hit 6.14 million – more than double the level in the prior year.

via Initial jobless claims rise; continuing claims hit – MarketWatch .


Mike: If you have been laid off or just want to plan for the possibility, you may want to visit www.SmartUnemployment.com and learn the ins and outs of the unemployment system

From the site: “The only book that will show you step-by-step what your former employer and the unemployment office won’t tell you.” From the authors:

“Smart Unemployment” provides independent, unbiased guidance and advice to help people maximize their unemployment benefits, and gives readers a framework for evaluating health insurance options. 


Mike: Existing home sales moved lower again, even with historically low interest rates and large inventory to choose from. Within the report shows an increase of home prices even while sales were down. That’s an oddity in the supply and demand theory, where prices usually decrease with lowered demand.

It may take a little more detail to extract why prices increased, but one thing that popped into my head immediately was the new government plan to give first time buyers (those who have not purchased a home in the past three years) an $8000 tax credit. I realize that buyers weren’t first-timers only, but it may have some correlation because sellers can increase their sales price knowing that buyers will be including the $8000 tax credit into the overall price of the home. One other item that may prove to be a cause of increased prices is that the lower the interest rate the more expensive homes become, since sellers can jack up the home prices because buyers are so enamored with lower interest rates. Higher interest rates actually are a drag on home prices, since sellers need to decrease prices to account for higher interest rates. Although lower mortgage rates seem better than lower home prices, you can usually refinance to a lower interest rate, but you can’t change the purchase price of the home

An example of what I described above can be seen at:

Lower mortgage rates will lead to lower housing prices as viewed by the buyer (in terms of monthly payments), but not by as much as lower home prices.

via The Case for Higher Interest Rates and Lower Home Prices — Seeking Alpha.

Existing Home Sales


– WASHINGTON (AP) — A real estate group says sales of previously occupied U.S. homes sank by an unexpectedly large amount from February to March, dashing hopes of a spring housing recovery.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that home sales fell 3 percent to an annual rate of 4.57 million last month, from a downwardly revised pace of 4.71 million units in February. Sales had been expected to fall to an annual pace of 4.7 million units, according to Thomson Reuters.

The median sales price plunged to $175,200, down 12.4 percent from $200,100 a year earlier, but up from $168,200 in February. While median sales prices typically rise slightly in early spring, the 4 percent monthly increase was larger than expected.

via March existing US home sales fall by 3 percent – Yahoo! Finance.



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Walt Handelsman - Apr 23

Walt Handelsman - Apr 23


* Larger layoff announcements and important economic reports:


Microsoft/Google/IBM and other Rumors & News

General Economic News


– WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans who moved declined sharply last year, reaching the lowest percentage in 60 years as people grappled with fewer jobs and tighter credit.

Roughly 11.9 percent of the nation’s population, or 35.2 million people, moved to a new home, down from 13.2 percent, or 38.7 million people, the previous year, according to census data released Wednesday. It was the sharpest percentage drop in U.S. mobility since the 2000 bursting of the tech bubble, which bankrupted many Internet startups and caused the dwindling of stock portfolios.

via The Associated Press: Number of Americans who move declined sharply.


– General Motors Corp.’s massive summer shutdown is expected to begin at some plants in mid-May, the Free Press was told Wednesday.



Mike: It’s so refreshing to see at least one government representative taking the high road. Why Cuomo? Who knows, but honesty is in very short supply these days, so I’ll just assume he’s a responsible and ethical person that respects the rule of law. I’ll write him a letter thanking him later today

– New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo also released details of testimony by Lewis to his office in February, which stemmed from a probe into the circumstances of $3.6 billion of bonuses paid to Merrill executives before the completion of the Bank of America takeover in January.

We have uncovered facts that raise questions about the transparency of the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) as well as about corporate governance and disclosure practices at Bank of America,” Cuomo wrote in the letter, dated Thursday.

via Cuomo questions TARP, pressure on BofA’s Lewis – Yahoo! Finance.


David Horsey - Apr 23

David Horsey - Apr 23


Government Layoff News


– Wrestling with the twin problems of declining enrollment and a reduction of state funding that could reach 7 percent for the 2009-10 school year, the Wadena-Deer Creek school board eliminated 13 staff positions at its Monday meeting.

via Wadena-Deer Creek school cuts 13 staff members |  Wadena Pioneer Journal  | Wadena, Minnesota .


– Road Commission Manager, Mary Gillis, estimates she will have to layoff about ten workers for six months in order to balance the budget.

via 9&10 News: Grand Traverse Co. Road Commission to layoff about ten workers.


– 39 positions in the school system will be eliminated for the 2009-10 school year.

via Massillon BOE reduces staff – Canton, OH – CantonRep.com.


– Thirty faculty and staff members at Fort Hays State University will be notified by the end of next week that their positions might not exist during the 2009-10 school year.

via The Hays Daily News.


– Multnomah County Chairman Ted Wheeler proposed a 2009-10 budget Thursday morning that would eliminate 5 percent of the county work force, make $24.6 million in program cuts and boost the tax on car rentals.

via County slashes jobs, services in new budget plan .


– MANSFIELD: Their chief says police in the north-central Ohio city of Mansfield will have to stop responding to some calls when 18 officers are laid off next month.

via Ohio.com – Mansfield to lay off 18 police officers .


– Hawthorn School District 73 officials announced April 22 that the district will lay off 23 staff members (mostly instructional assistants), effective at the end of this school year.

via School district to lay off 73 :: News :: PIONEER PRESS :: Vernon Hills Review .


Mike: Hmmm…….. Ten days off or lose job. Job loss must have been a better option

– LAWRENCE — Mayor Michael Sullivan laid off 19 workers yesterday, members of a laborers union who refused to voluntarily accept a 10-day unpaid work furlough.

via Lawrence lays off 19 workers who rebuffed furloughs – EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA.


– Sheriff James Beutler has laid off six employees, after the County Commissioners told him to shave a half-million dollars from the departmental budget.



US and some Canada Layoff News



danaher-“Given the (economic) environment, we are accelerating our cost reduction and restructuring activities, which now total $150 million to $170 million this year,” Larry Culp, Danaher president and CEO told financial analysts in a conference call, according to a transcript provided by www.seekingalpha.com “These initiatives will result in the elimination of 2,300 positions and 16 facilities and provide annual cost savings of approximately $140 million.


precision-drilling– CALGARY – In the latest measure of how deep the slump in drilling activity has become, Calgary-based Precision Drilling revealed Wednesday it cut 14 per cent of its staff – an estimated 1,000 employees in Canada and the United States – during the first quarter.

via Precision cuts 1,000 drilling employees.


freescale– Freescale Semiconductor Inc. said Wednesday that it has given up trying to sell its cell phone-related business to a single buyer and instead will attempt to sell it off in pieces, resulting in the elimination of 900 jobs, including 170 in Austin.

via Freescale to cut 170 jobs in Austin.


alcoa– One of the largest employers in the Quad Cities is cutting more jobs. Alcoa announced Thursday that it plans to reduce its workforce by 250-275 employees. The company says the cuts are necessary, due to the continued deterioration in business volume.


capital-one– Capital One Financial Corp. has told about 60 employees their jobs are being cut.

via Capital One cutting about 60 jobs in Va. – Forbes.com.


hospital4– It announced Wednesday that it is eliminating 200 positions on top of the 200 already cut, trimming managers’ salaries by three-percent, and imposing a pay freeze on all employees except those who earn less than 50,000 a year.

via California Pacific Medical Center makes big cuts across the board – 4/22/09 – San Francisco News – abc7news.com.


hospital5– MILWAUKEE – Layoff notices went out Wednesday to 60 employees of Ministry Health Care, which operates hospitals, clinics and other medical services in central and northern Wisconsin.

via Ministry Health Care cuts jobs in unstable economy — chicagotribune.com.


lennox Lennox International also expects a 12% salaried headcount reduction in 2009.

via RTTNews – Latest Earnings,Upcoming Earnings, Pos Pre Announcements, Pos Pre Announcements , Positive Surprises, Negative Surprises, Hot Stocks, Stock Split Calendar, Stock Buybacks, Dividends, Negative, Positive PreAnnouncements,Surprises …. .


– Vice-President of Human Relations Jack Krueger says the plant’s manufacturing operations were transferred to the parent company’s Wisconsin home base over the past few years. Airolite now employs 25 people, most of them office staff.

via Airolite Plant To Close .


agilent– Update: Agilent Technologies laid off 300 employees at its Santa Rosa division Wednesday — more than 20 percent of its work force — as the county’s largest tech employer attempts to ride out the worst downturn in its history.


university-of-central-florida– The University of Central Florida will be forced to cut 330 faculty positions, 190 staff jobs and as many as 25 academic programs if the state orders budget cuts close to the $57 million called for in the House proposal, Provost Terry Hickey said Wednesday.

via UCF may have to slash more than 500 jobs — OrlandoSentinel.com.


gavel2– Although things have quieted on the law firm layoff front, they haven’t gone silent. Philadelphia-based Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis confirmed it laid off attorneys and staff in March, including a small group of partners.

via Law.com – Schnader Harrison Lays Off Attorneys, Staff .


– Universal Instruments announced it laid off about 30 workers Wednesday at its Conklin and Kirkwood facilities and will implement pay cuts as it continues to battle a dramatic decline in industry demand for its products.

via Universal cuts 30 workers at Tier sites | pressconnects.com | Press & Sun-Bulletin.


– CALGARY – Waste disposal giant Newalta Inc. has cut 250 jobs, slashed spending and stretched debt covenants this year to ride out the economic downturn.

via Newalta cuts 250 jobs .


– Fremont-based Asyst Technologies Inc. eliminated 141 jobs in Fremont, leaving only a small staff to handle customer service and product warranty issues, the bankrupt semiconductor maker confirmed Wednesday.

via Bay Biz Buzz: Bankrupt Asyst cuts 141 jobs – ContraCostaTimes.com.


hospital6– Saint Joseph’s Hospital issued layoff notices to 23 employees Wednesday as part of an effort to reduce its parent company Ministry Health Care’s total annual expenses by $12 million.

via Hospital lays off 23 employees | wausaudailyherald.com | Wausau Daily Herald.


– KALISPELL – With its sawmills and production plants already scaling back amid plummeting lumber demand, Plum Creek Timber Co. is laying off office staff and management.

via Missoulian: Plum Creek lays off 39 office workers.


– Legg Mason, a Baltimore-based investment firm, has laid off 24 workers at its corporate office at 100 Stamford Place.

via Legg Mason lays off 24 – The Advocate.


– ANDERSON — Seventeen workers were laid off at a Hampshire Group office in Anderson on Monday in the first phase of the company’s cost-reduction plan.

via Hampshire Group in Anderson cuts 17 jobs : Local Business : Anderson Independent-Mail.


– JACKSONVILLE, FL — First Student says it notified bus drivers of layoffs because the company will lose a contract next school year.

The decision affects 600 bus drivers, according to a First Student spokesperson.

via More Than 600 Bus Drivers Notified Of Layoffs | Firstcoastnews.com | Local News.


blue-cross-blue-shield– Premera Blue Cross let go about 95 employees this month as part of an ongoing effort to cut costs, a spokesman confirmed today

via Business & Technology | Premera lays off 95 workers | Seattle Times Newspaper.


– Clarion based Hagie Manufacturing Company announced Wednesday a reduction of 25 full and part time employees which is less than eight percent of the firm’s total employment.

via Radio Iowa: Clarion company cutting 25 jobs.


bashas-markets– Bashas’ Markets said Thursday that it would close between five and ten underperforming stores and cut at least 700 more jobs to hold down costs in an “extremely challenging retail environment.”

via Bashas’ to close up to 10 stores statewide, cut 700 jobs.


cnh– AFP – Italian auto group Fiat said Thursday it would cut up to 1,500 administrative jobs at its loss-making US subsidiary CNH, an agricultural and construction equipment maker employing around 31,000 people.

via France 24 | Up to 1,500 jobs to be axed at Fiat’s US subsidiary | France 24.


– Accent Marketing Services, a customer service call center near Kansas City International Airport, will lay off 163 of its 269 employees on July 31.

via Accent Marketing to lay off 163 | Dollars & Sense.


– EMI Group notified the city of Jacksonville today approximately 100 employees of a local distribution center would be laid off by the end of June

via EMI to lay off 100 workers in Jacksonville – Springfield, IL – The State Journal-Register.



– MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (AP) – Officials with Eaton Corp. say they’ve laid off 44 workers at the company’s plant in Mountain Home.

via Eaton Corp. lays off 44 at Mountain Home plant – WXVT-TV Delta News – More Local News and Weather WXVT.com | .


crystal-cabinets– PRINCETON — Crystal Cabinets Works Inc. laid off 200 employees in the first three months of the year, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday.

via Crystal Cabinets has cut 200 over a 3-month span | sctimes.com | St. Cloud Times.


gm5– The General Motors Powertrain Plant cut approximately 60 of its 200 salaried employees Wednesday.

via Niagara Gazette – TOWN OF TONAWANDA: GM plant lays off about 60 salaried workers.


– Noble International has been looking to sell its Roll-Forming facility in South Haven, however if a buyer is not found, the facility will permanently close. Should the facility close, it will result in the permanent layoff of approximately 279 union employees.




International Layoff News



stora-ensoFinland-headquartered wood-processing group Stora Enso said in a statement Thursday it was targeting about 250 million euros in annual cost cuts in a programme involving up to 2,000 jobs cuts before citing the financial crisis and economic downturn.

via NewsRoom Finland.


stora-enso1– Nordic paper maker Stora Enso Oyj said Thursday it will lay off 2,000 employees to cut annual costs by euro250 million as it reported a first-quarter net loss of euro36 million ($47 million).

via Stora Enso announces 2,000 layoffs amid Q1 loss – Forbes.com.


lloyds-banking– THE finance industry was dealt another huge blow today with news that Lloyds Banking Group is to axe almost 1,000 jobs.

via Lloyds announces job cuts: Banking giant to shed 1,000 staff – Scotsman.com .


– Halifax Bank of Scotland, now part of the Lloyds Banking Group, announced plans to slash 200 jobs at its Speke site on the Estuary Commerce Park and a further 340 in Chester.


saab– Swedish aerospace and defense company Saab AB Thursday reported a loss for the first quarter, due to higher research costs and a lower production rate, and said it will lay off 300 employees.

via Defense firm Saab reports Q1 loss, cuts 300 jobs – Forbes.com.


– Reports out of Hanover, Germany, say that in March Continental AG cut some 6,000 jobs world-wide due to continuing weak consumer demand.


– The company said it eliminated 250 positions in 2009 and suspended its matching contributions to the Employee Profit Sharing Plan on April 1, as a part of its measures to reduce costs.

via UPDATE 1-Newalta amends credit facility; says cut 250 jobs | Markets | US Markets | Reuters .


– Council-owned Ports of Auckland is cutting 30 jobs as part of a reorganisation of its container terminals.

via Ports of Auckland to cut 30 staff as container terminals changed | BUSINESS.


gavel3– The closure will result in 15 lawyers, including seven partners, being laid off.

via Faegre set for German closure with 15 laid off at ‘distressed practice’ – Legal Week, legal news, comment, events and legal jobs.


-Five hundred people who work for Royal Sun Alliance (RSA) in Bristol have been told their jobs are to go by 2010.

via BBC NEWS | UK | England | Bristol | Insurance firm to shed 500 jobs.


– STAINLESS steel giant Outokumpu is to axe another 110 jobs at its melting shop in Sheffield.


Hiring News and News You Can Use


 The Great Dane, a popular bar, restaurant and brewery in Madison is opening a new location in Wausau this May. That means over a hundred jobs to the area.

via Great Dane to hire over 100 in Wausau – WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports –.


– CLEARFIELD — Thanks to a $1 million short-term loan, Aerospace Engineering & Support Inc. officials hope to start hiring as many as 40 employees in the next few months.

via AES plans to hire more in Davis – Standard.NET – Standard-Examiner.


– Mayor Bob Ryan announced Wednesday that Eclipse Manufacturing Inc. will add 57 jobs to its Sheboygan headquarters following its decision to close its plant in Pikeville, Tenn.

via Mayor: Eclipse to add 57 jobs in city | sheboyganpress.com | Sheboygan Press.


exelon– Exelon said Wednesday it plans to build a solar power plant on Chicago’s Southwest Side, generating about 200 construction jobs and redeveloping a long-vacant industrial site.

via Exelon plans to generate 200 jobs :: The SouthtownStar :: Business .


Mike: If you have been laid off or just want to plan for the possibility, you may want to visit www.SmartUnemployment.com and learn the ins and outs of the unemployment system

From the site: “The only book that will show you step-by-step what your former employer and the unemployment office won’t tell you.” From the authors:

“Smart Unemployment” provides independent, unbiased guidance and advice to help people maximize their unemployment benefits, and gives readers a framework for evaluating health insurance options.   


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Mike: Till Friday…….……………….


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Chan Lowe - Apr 23

Chan Lowe - Apr 23



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