Mike: As with most Thursdays, the weekly jobless claims number is the big news. Today saw a reduction of claims to 601,000, which is still a very high number, but an improvement from the previous week. The markets seem excited by unemployment remaining above 600,000, but then all news is good news of  late.  The revised number form last week increased to 625,000 from 621,000, so I’ll see what next week’s revised number is before cheering this week’s decline.

Continuing claims rose to another record at 6.82 million, which shows a dismal lack of hiring. Last week it was reported that the string of record breaking continuing claims ended, but the revised number showed that continuing claims had reached another record last week as well. As long as states continue to extend unemployment benefits, the continuing claims number is likely to increase. The continuing claims number is likely to decline as unemployment benefits are exhausted and not because hiring trends, which will remain weak for quite some time.
– Initial jobless claims fell by 24,000 to 601,000 in the week ended June 6, fewer than forecast and the lowest level since January, from a revised 625,000 the prior week, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The number of people collecting benefits rose for a 19th straight time to a record 6.82 million in the prior week.

Businesses are slowing staff reductions as signs emerge that the worst recession in at least five decades may end in the second half of 2009. Still, economists in a Bloomberg News survey predicted the unemployment rate will climb to 10 percent by year-end and restrain consumer spending, muting any recovery.

via U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Decreased Last Week (Update2) – Bloomberg.com.

Mike: Retail sales are also being celebrated for increasing by the largest amount in four months. Unfortunately, the main driver came from an increase in gas prices. While the rebound in auto sales is welcome news for those working in auto related industries, the retail increases are due to highly discounted auto sales and higher gas prices, which  is not a sign that the “consumer” is rushing out to buy discretionary items. Vehicles and gas are considered necessities, and as gas prices continue to increase, the amount of discretionary funds declines. It’s hard to read anything positive into this retail sales report, but the media seem to be singing a different tale.

– Auto sales rose by 0.5 percent last month, the best showing since a 2.7 percent surge in January. Even with the gain, sales are still 21.5 percent below where they were a year ago as auotmakers continue to struggle with the worst sales environment in decades. In an effort to spur demand, automakers have stepped up their incentive offers.

Excluding autos, retail sales were up 0.5 percent in May, better than the 0.2 percent gain that economists had been expecting.

Much of that strength, however, came from a 3.6 percent jump in sales at gasoline service stations, an increase which reflected in large part rising gasoline prices. The retail sales are not adjusted for inflation.

via The Associated Press: Retail sales climb 0.5 percent in May.

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Tom Toles

Tom Toles

Larger layoff announcements and important economic reports:

Navigation links to today’s stories:

Microsoft/Google/IBM and other Rumors & News

cisco– On Tuesday, June 9, a hundred janitors, community supporters, and faith leaders gathered in downtown San Jose, ending their 7-day hunger fast protesting high-tech company Cisco Systems for the layoffs of more than 40 percent of the company’s janitorial workforce.

Following the service, the janitors and supporters marched two blocks down South Market Street to the Fairmount Hotel, where Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers was being honored by the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.

via Laid-Off Janitors Protest Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers in San Jose, End Their 7-Day Fas : Indybay.

msft3-Computerworld – Microsoft said today that it will pull the plug on its Money personal finance program at the end of this month, citing competition from banks, brokerage firms and unspecified Web sites as the reason.

General Economic News

Mike: The following is an informative article on many aspects of current unemployment. The generally accepted U3 unemployment figure, released monthly by the BLS, is the lower end of the unemployment graph. “Real” unemployment, or U6, is always a higher, but more representative look at unemployment. Some even consider U6 to be less than “real” unemployment, but that’s another story. Read the following for some eye-opening maps and charts.

– What this model suggests is that the “real” unemployment rate in Michigan is around 23.4%, meaning that 1 in 4 people who want to work are without it in Michigan.  This is bad, and only going to get worse.  As the impact of the auto shutdowns at GM and Chrysler ripples out the auto states (Indiana, Michigan, Ohio) are going to see this grow much higher.

via Daily Kos: EconPop Series (3) 23.4% Unemployment in Michigan?.

Mike: Here we have a GM rep meeting behind closed doors with senators and leaving the meeting with no promise of GM not importing vehicles from China. I’m sure at some point that US consumers will get over the fact that they gave GM $40 billion dollars to shutter factories, layoff tens of thousands, destroy the economy of many a town and allowed the management to continue to receive golden parachutes while the workers benefits were dismantled, but it would be wise for GM to wait a few years before again slapping the faces of those same taxpayers by importing cars made in China. The US consumer has a short memory, but not that short………

– Troy Clarke, after leaving a meeting with Tennessee’s two U.S senators, said he did not think GM had agreed to any ban on Chinese imports even though it intends to make more than 70% of its cars and trucks in the U.S.

Government Layoff News

– FLORENCE – Facing falling revenues, the Pinal County Board of Supervisors approved a budget resolution last week that will reduce the county workforce, including 42 employees to receive notice this Friday, June 12.

via Casa Grande Valley Newspapers Inc..

– Tuesday night, the City Council laid off 23 full- and part-time employees, the largest number of city layoffs in at least 20 years. The council also eliminated 39 positions as it approved a spending plan for the budget year that starts July 1.

via Turlock lays off nearly two dozen as it balances its books – Featured Stories – The Modesto Bee.

– Cherry Hill laid off 13 workers Tuesday to avoid a property-tax increase in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

US and some Canada Layoff News

hospital6– AMES, Iowa – University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics officials say they need to cut more than 200 jobs in the next fiscal year.

– MDS Inc (MDS.TO) (MDZ.N) posted a second-quarter loss on Thursday and said it plans to cut 180 jobs as the Canadian health sciences company copes with lower spending in the health services sector.

– The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notice said the private company based in Telford, Pa., will lay off its 46 workers from its facility off Emlen Way by June 22.

via Keystone Findings bought by Hoover & Strong, will close plant and lay off 46 – Philadelphia Business Journal: .

– For the second time in two months, The Shaw Group Inc. is eliminating pipe fabrication jobs, with a Walker shop losing 40 workers last week and a Tulsa, Okla., facility closing altogether and ending 168 jobs by August.

via 2theadvocate.com | Business | Shaw eliminates pipe jobs — Baton Rouge, LA.

– MIDDLETOWN — Towerstream Corp., a provider of high-speed Internet service, has laid off several employees, a company spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday.

via Middletown Internet provider cuts jobs | Business | projo.com | The Providence Journal .

hospital7– Anticipating a reduction in Medicare payments of nearly $70 million at the two hospitals in the next 10 years, the St. Barnabas Health Care System on Tuesday laid off 21 more employees at Community and Kimball medical centers, the company said Wednesday.

via St. Barnabas Health Care System lays off 21 more | APP.com | Asbury Park Press.

– Syracuse, NY – Employees of WSYR-TV, Channel 9, must take 10 days off without pay as part of a cost-cutting move by station owner Newport Television.

via Channel 9 workers must take time off without pay – syracuse.com.

– Spokesman Art Fiacco  says the plant has 130 workers. He says some will get an offer to relocate, but the company doesn’t yet know how many.

– Newschannel 3 has learned that auto supplier Yorozu has sent a warn letter to Battle Creek Unlimited saying that 50 or more jobs will be lost.

via 70 jobs to be cut in Battle Creek | jobs, battle, creek – Breaking News – WWMT NEWSCHANNEL 3.

– The decision by the Cleveland-based private company will eliminate 64 jobs at the Bridgeton plant, which had produced parts for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

via Formtek closing Bridgeton plant, cutting 64 workers – St. Louis Business Journal: .

– According to the state, 49 employees will be affected by the closure. Durham indicated that employees will be considered for transfer to other locations within the company.

via Durham School Services closing Gibsonia facility – Pittsburgh Business Times: .

chrysler2– More than 800 workers at both the North and South assembly plants in Fenton took voluntary severance and retirement packages by the May 26 deadline.

via Suburban Journals | News | More than 800 take buyouts at Fenton Chrysler plants .

tv– Newport Television cut 33 full- and part-time jobs at six stations and is requiring all its 2,000 employees to take two weeks off without pay through year’s end to cut costs in the struggling economy.

via Newport Television cuts jobs, starts furloughs – Kansas City Business Journal: .

a-air– June 11 (Bloomberg) — AMR Corp.’s American Airlines will shed 1,600 jobs and Delta Air Lines Inc. may pare its payroll again as waning travel demand spurs deeper cuts in seating capacity.

utstarcom– Telecommunications equipment maker UTStarcom Inc. said Thursday it will eliminate 2,300 positions worldwide, or more than 50 percent of its work force, by the end of the year as part of its effort to reduce costs.

via UTStarcom to cut 2,300 jobs by end of 4Q – Forbes.com.

winnebago– Winnebago Industries is announcing plans to close the company’s fiberglass manufacturing facility in Hampton, eliminating 40 jobs. That Hampton facility primarily manufactures fiberglass components for Winnebago’s motor home products.

via Radio Iowa: Winnebago closing fiberglass plant, 40 jobs cut.

– Some internal restructuring within Comcast-Spectacor has cost 11 employees their jobs, including 76ers public relations manager Pete Sousa, according to president and chief operating officer Peter Luukko.

via Sixers PR manager among 11 laid off by Comcast-Spectacor | Philadelphia Daily News | 06/11/2009.

hospital8– St. Louis-based Sisters of Mercy Health System has laid off 70 employees, including 11 at St. John’s Health System in Springfield.

International Layoff News

– Discount store TK Maxx will cut up to 275 jobs with the closure of its Buckinghamshire distribution centre.

– JB Hi-Fi CEO Richard Uechtritz has confirmed the closing of a Clive Anthonys warehouse on the Gold Coast. In an interview with Current.com.au, Uechtritz said that an unspecified number of staff were made redundant.

via Current: Electrical, Electronics and Appliance Industry News and Issues – JB CEO talks restructure and redundancies at Clive Anthonys.

– FORTY JOBS are to be lost at Tralee’s biggest surviving foreign-owned plant, Beru Electronics, according to Siptu, which represents the 200 workers at the car components manufacturing plant.

via 40 jobs to be lost in Beru Electronics – The Irish Times – Thu, Jun 11, 2009.

gavel6– Top city law firm Wragge & Co has said it is considering letting as many as 85 people go after revenue dropped 15 per cent in a year.

The Colmore Row-based company, which is the largest law firm in Birmingham and one of the best-known names in the sector, has started a company-wide consultation looking at ways to cut costs.

via Birmingham Post – Business – Business News – Legal – Wragge planning 85 redundancies after recession hits revenue.

– UP to 800 jobs will be cut from the Tasmanian public sector and wage rises will be reined in over the next three years as the Bartlett government seeks to offset a collapse in revenue by imposing $760 million in spending cuts.

via 800 public sector jobs to disappear in Tasmania | The Australian.

– Eight people will lose their jobs with The Marlborough Express as its parent company Fairfax centralises operations.

via Eight staff laid off at Express | Stuff.co.nz.

– INSURANCE giant AXA is to cut more than 120 jobs across three offices in Suffolk, it was announced today.

via Major Suffolk employer to cut more than 120 jobs – East Anglian Daily Times .

gavel7– Macfarlanes has launched a second redundancy consultation with 15 jobs under threat.

The consultation, which began yesterday (10 June), is set to affect 14 support staff including secretaries, as well as one professional support lawyer. The bulk of those facing the axe will come from corporate and central resources.

via Macfarlanes set to cut 15 jobs in second consultation- Legalweek .

– Finnish consultancy Pöyry is cutting around one hundred jobs at its Forest Industry business group in Finland, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

via Pöyry cuts 100 jobs in Finland .

– According to the union, Alcoa is considering changes to the nature of shifts, reducing hours from a 42-hour week to a 40-hour week, and cutting jobs in order to cut costs at the Point Henry smelter.

via Possible job cuts at Alcoa Point Henry aluminium smelter – Metalworker .

– Indian wind turbine maker Suzlon Energy Ltd (SUZL.BO) has decided to slash 160 jobs, or more than half of its workforce at a U.S. plant, following a drop in orders, a company spokesman said on Thursday.

via UPDATE 1-Suzlon slashes jobs at U.S. plant as orders fall | Industries | Industrials, Materials & Utilities | Reuters .

– GERMAN PERSONAL-CARE products company Braun has announced the end of manufacturing in Carlow with the loss of 160 jobs. However, there was some relief yesterday when the company said that 100 employees out of the current workforce of 260 will be transferred to its Newbridge plant in Co Kildare.

Hiring News and News You Can Use

– President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus plan will create a number of relatively high-paying jobs for workers in construction, alternative energy, education and healthcare.

While the best-paying jobs in those fields typically require at least a four-year degree, you can move into some well-paying stimulus-related jobs after spending half that time in college or training, according to Laurence Shatkin, author of Great Jobs in the President’s Stimulus Plan.

via High-Paying Stimulus Jobs | Monster .

– The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America – a nationwide nonprofit organization – will expand its Charlotte operations and create 1,014 jobs over the next five years.

550 jobs will be added immediately. Although wages will vary by function, those jobs will pay an average annual wage of $35,982 according to NACA.

via Nonprofit Mortgage Company Adding 550 Jobs in Charlotte | WSPA.

– Metal heat treating fabricator Whertec Inc. is relocating a production and warehousing facility and 81 jobs to Jacksonville.

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Mike: Now this comic hits home! 🙂  More tomorrow………………………..

David Horsey

David Horsey


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