Mike: A busy Wednesday for economic reports, especially the two related to housing; MBA Purchase Applications, which showed some improvement mortgage applications climb from 7-month low as shown below, and New Home Sales showed continued weakness May new home sales dip 0.6 percent, which is surprising considering this is peak season for home sales.

Mike: Durable goods orders show strength for the second month running, which is considered good news for some of the manufacturing sector. If these increased orders translate into more jobs then that will help the employment numbers, which need to improve for any sustained recovery. I hope these numbers continue to improve and bring jobs back to the depressed manufacturing sector:  US durable goods orders show surprise rise

So we have some economic good news and some bad news this day.  I’ll let the experts sort out which is more important, but housing remains weak, while big ticket items are increasing. Possibly the stimulus money is making it into the system and that improves the durable goods orders.

– For graphs based on the new home sales report this morning, please see: New Home Sales: Record Low for May

Yesterday, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that distressed properties accounted for one-third of all sales in May. Distressed sales include REO sales (foreclosure resales) and short sales, and based on the 4.77 million existing home sales (SAAR) that puts distressed sales at about a 1.6 million annual rate in April.

via Calculated Risk: Distressing Gap: Ratio of Existing to New Home Sales.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. mortgage applications climbed last week from a seven-month low, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday, adding to emerging signs that the three-year housing market collapse may be abating.

Demand for home loans rose after four straight weekly declines, as U.S. mortgage rates dipped and more borrowers applied to buy houses as well as refinance.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its refinancing index rose 5.9 percent from a seven-month low to 2,116.3 last week. Demand for refinancing was at least triple this level in March when mortgage rates hit their record lows, the group said.

The mortgage purchase index increased 7.3 percent to 280.3, the highest since early April, the MBA said.

via U.S. mortgage applications climb from 7-month low | Reuters .

Mike: Yet the following statement from the above article makes me cringe: “In terms of home sales and building activity, we’ve probably reached a bottom,” Keith Hembre, chief economist at First American Funds in Minneapolis, Minnesota said on Tuesday. “But it’s highly unlikely there will be a sharp recovery from here.” (via U.S. mortgage applications climb from 7-month low | Reuters .)

There have been bottom calls for over two years, but I guess these guys have to get it right eventually. I mention this because the Mortgage Bankers Association has cut its mortgage origination forecast for 2009 by 27%! If the mortgage bankers are that far off their estimates, how can anyone trust the real estate shills that proclaim an end to the housing crash? US has some of the lowest interest rates in decades and the housing market is still consolidating and showing few signs of health, but the real estate pumps still bring up the same “bottom is in” calls, of which they haven’t been right in over two years. Why are these people quoted? If I told you for two years straight that the bottom was in on layoffs and you still see layoffs increasing, would you still read my comments? Doubtful. I wouldn’t be able to show my face, or my blog in this case, if I my predictions were wrong two years running. If these guys can call a housing bottom when 600,000 people a week are losing their jobs, then they are bigger shills than I thought.

Mortgage originations in the U.S. may total $2.03 trillion this year, 27 percent less than earlier forecast, as rising interest rates reduce home refinancings, the Mortgage Bankers Association said.

Today’s forecast cuts $700 billion from the Washington- based group’s March estimate, a change MBA Chief Economist Jay Brinkmann said came because the Federal Reserve’s pledge to buy as much as $300 billion in U.S. Treasuries hasn’t been enough to keep Treasury yields and mortgage rates down.

via Mortgage bankers cut U.S. loan origination forecast – Los Angeles Times.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that sales dropped 0.6 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 342,000, from a downwardly revised April rate of 344,000. Sales were down nearly 33 percent from May last year.

May’s results missed the economists’ expectations of a 360,000 sales pace, according to Thomson Reuters.

via May new home sales dip 0.6 percent – washingtonpost.com.

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Larger layoff announcements and important economic reports:

Navigation links to today’s stories:

Microsoft/Google/IBM and other Rumors & News

mtv– MTV Networks could be set to lay off around 50 workers as the company restructures itself in the face of the economic downturn.

via C21Media: .

– Several sources have confirmed to Kotaku that the entire QA department was shuttered, along with artists and a few other assorted staffers in other departments as well.

General Economic News

June 24 (Bloomberg) — Mortgage applications in the U.S. increased last week for the first time in a month as purchases climbed, adding to evidence the market is stabilizing.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index of applications to purchase a home or refinance a loan rose 6.6 percent to 548.2 in the week ended June 19, from 514.4 the prior week. The group’s purchase index advanced to the highest level in two months, and its refinancing gauge improved for the first time in five weeks.

via U.S. MBA Mortgage Applications Index Rose 6.6 Percent Last Week – Bloomberg.com.

US durable goods orders rose by 1.8 per cent last month to $163.9bn, beating economists’ expectations of a decline. That matched April’s revised increase of 1.8 per cent. Orders however are down by 26.8 per cent compared with the same month last year.

Much of the May increase was fuelled by a sharp increase in demand for new machinery. Orders climbed by 7.7 per cent to $22.5bn and have risen three out of the last four months.

Excluding orders for transportation, which are considered volatile on a monthly basis, durable goods orders were up by 1.1 per cent in May. They were up by 1.4 per cent when factoring out defence orders, which rose by 7.4 per cent last month.

via FT.com / US / Economy & Fed – US durable goods orders show surprise rise.

New Home Sales
10:00 AM ET

Sales decreased 0.6 percent to an annual pace of 342,000 after a revised 344,000 rate in April that was lower than previously estimated, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The median sales prices fell 3.4 percent from May 2008, compared with a 17 percent drop for existing homes reported yesterday by the National Association of Realtors.

via Purchase of new homes in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in May – Los Angeles Times..


Mike: US highest unemployment rate since the early 1980s and some states, such as Massachusetts, are still unable to cope with the responsibility of helping the unemployed with claims.

I’m sure there are some people that abuse the system and try to sign up for unemployment when they quiet their job, but it’s a one way street here with the current system. If an employer says that the person quit their job they don’t have to acknowledge that person’s uunemployment for five months waiting for the first appeal. I called New York’s unemployment department and they told me that a claim can last as long as a year with various appeals. I would bet the story is similar in other states. Most people don’t  have the time nor financial resources to fight the employer and wait up to a year for settlement. They may find another job, file for social services or move in with friends or relatives and be unable to continue to fight the employer. The employer loses nothing if the claim goes to the employee, since they would have had to pay the claim anyway, and they gain everything if the person gives up or is unable to prove their claim. After all, it’s the employer’s word against the employee’s, so you know who usually wins that battle. It’s a system stacked against the worker filing unemployment, but that’s not surprising in these days of corporate and government relationships.

– Secretary for Labor and Workforce Development Suzanne Bump said the surge in claims has been hard for the department to keep up with.

“There are more employers who are disputing claims, more contests over whether someone actually was fired or whether they quit,” Bump said. “Between more claims being filed and more claims being contested, the times to get a disputed claim resolved definitely has increased.”

It now takes more than five months to resolve a claim, and during that time a person is not receiving a check from the state. Advocates for the poor find that unacceptable.

via wbur.org: Mass. Unemployment Lines Long With Unresolved Claims.

Jeff Stahler
Jeff Stahler

Government Layoff News

– Broward School Board members voted Tuesday night to lay off 394 teachers as a way to balance the budget, although they hope to rehire many of them.

– – Rochester, N.Y.) – The Rochester Teachers Association said 197 teachers have been given layoff notices. An additional 105 contract substitutes were also terminated, the union said.

via Layoff Notices Sent to RCSD Teachers – 13WHAM.com .

– Council members maintained that they wouldn’t lay off any officers if the Modesto Police Officers Association agrees to defer raises for one year.

via Modesto OKs layoffs for 9 police officers – Local – The Modesto Bee.

– Because revenue from mortgage and sales-tax payments is down by more than $100,000, the Town Board has laid off two Highway Department workers.

via Declining revenue prompts Crawford to lay off workers | recordonline.com.

– At least 95 Fort Worth schools employees will be laid off as part of $15.4 million in cuts from next school year’s budget.

via Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Texas/Southwest.

– Cherry Hill has laid off 14 workers from its 337-member staff this month as part of an ongoing push to cut costs, a spokesman said confirmed Tuesday.

via 14 laid off in Cherry Hill | CourierPostOnline.com | Courier-Post.

– A second round of layoffs in Scottsdale will take place Thursday when city management will inform about 50 employees that they will lose their jobs.

via Scottsdale to lay off 50 employees in 2nd round.

– Austin school trustees voted Monday to go along with most of the steps that incoming Superintendent Meria Carstarphen proposed to reorganize the jobs of the district’s top-level central office. But they withheld support of eliminating a diversity director position

US and some Canada Layoff News

monsanto– ST. LOUIS – Monsanto Co., the world’s biggest seed maker, said Wednesday its third-quarter profit fell 14 percent and it plans to cut 900 jobs, or about 4 percent of its work force.

– The facility which employs about 360, will close on June 30, 2010, according to a news release. It produces smaller-diameter silicon wafers, for which demand has been declining, the company said.

– All told, nearly 300 workers will lost their jobs because of facility closures by HFS North America in Fremont and Durham School Services in Oakland, according to official documents the two companies have filed.

– – Mortgage-insurer United Guaranty cut 160 jobs from its Greensboro headquarters and field offices Tuesday, instructing the affected workers to pack up their belongings and warning them against speaking with the media about their former jobs.

via United Guaranty Cuts 160 Jobs – WGHP.

aig2– – American General Life Cos. will lay off 291 employees in Milwaukee and 124 Houston employees as part of a major work force reduction nationwide.

via AIG to lay off 291 in Milwaukee – The Business Journal of Milwaukee: .

aig1– American General Life Cos. will lay off 124 Houston employees as part of a major work force reduction nationwide.

aig– The loss of nearly 60 jobs from an American International Group service center in Springfield could be partially offset in the next year by jobs that will be leaving a service center in Milwaukee, a company spokeswoman said today.

via Springfield AIG loses 60 jobs, but could gain from Milwaukee closure – Springfield, IL – The State Journal-Register.

– – Archer Daniels Midland will close its Glassboro cocoa processing plant by the end of October, ending 53 jobs at the facility, a spokesman said Monday.

Production will be relocated to a new plant in Hazleton, Pa., Roman Blahoski said. Some of the 53 employees in Glassboro will be offered jobs in Hazleton.

via The Press of Atlantic City, – .

– Earlier this month, World Learning cut 14 positions, 13 of those in Brattleboro.

via World Learning announces job, pay cuts – Brattleboro Reformer.

– PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The University of Southern Maine is eliminating four full-time jobs and cutting hours of 17 other positions to help close a $4.1 million revenue shortfall during the new fiscal year.

via USM to eliminate 4 jobs to help reduce costs | SeacoastOnline.com.

– Mod-Pac Corp. will exit the slumping commercial print business, eliminating 23 jobs, and will focus on its production of custom paper board packaging.

via Mod-Pac eliminates print line, 23 jobs – Business First of Buffalo: .

– Another seven employees have been laid off at Baker University, bringing the total to 30 this year as a result of a $1 million budget shortfall. The additional layoffs included three from the Baldwin City campus.

via BaldwinCity.com / Seven more staff members are laid off at Baker.

– Chattanooga-based U.S. Xpress Enterprises has laid off 14 people, according to officials of the trucking company.

via Chattanooga Times Free Press | U.S. Xpress lays off 14 office staff.

pratt-whitney-EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Jet engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney said Wednesday it is cutting 200 salaried jobs as it struggles with the deteriorating airline market.

via The Associated Press: Pratt & Whitney cuts 200 jobs.

newspaper9– COLUMBIA, S.C. — The State Media Co. says it will cut six positions and force most employees to take a week of unpaid leave by Nov. 30.

via State newspaper cutting 6 jobs, using furloughs – South Carolina & Regional – Wire – The Sun News.

– ARCHBOLD, OHIO — Nobel Automotive Ohio, LLC has announced they will lay off over 100 workers beginning July 15.

via Archbold supplier to lay off workers, close doors : News : WNWO NBC24 .

– “Today, NHBB Astro Division will lay off 12 hourly production workers from both first and second shifts due to customer delaying delivery on existing orders and a downward trend in sales,” said Gary Groleau, who is the company’s senior divisional manager, in an e-mail to The Citizen.

via Second round of layoffs at Astro – Fosters.

Windmill blade maker LM Glasfiber said it will lay off about 80 workers at its Port of Little Rock plant, or about 21 percent of its work force at the site, because it does not have enough orders

via :Business News LM Glasfiber to cut 80 employees’ jobs | CourierPostOnline.com | Courier-Post.15:14:05

-Huntington Beach, Calif.–based surf giant Quiksilver will lay off 168 employees, according to the California Economic Development Department’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN).

via Quiksilver to Layoff 168 more – Manufacturing News – Apparelnews.net.15:15:53

-Catalyst Paper announced Monday its Snowflake recycle newsprint mill in northeast Arizona will be idled for an additional 10 days in July as the black-liquor tax rebate for U.S. kraft mills impacts the mill’s order book.

via BCLocalNews.com – More Catalyst lay offs.15:16:53

-Macedonia — Newell Rubbermaid has announced that it will lay off 135 workers at the Graco Children’s Products plant on Valley View Road in Macedonia beginning in August and continuing through the end of the year. The Graco plant manufactures children’s car seats.

via The-News-Leader.com – Graco will lay off 135 in Macedonia.15:19:21

– Huf North America Automotive Manufacturing Corporation announced this morning that it plans to close its Greeneville plant at the end of 2012.

“From fall this year, the number of employed — currently 253 — will be reduced by degrees,” a HUF press release said.

via The Greeneville Sun – News Story – Huf Will Close Plant By 2012, Take 253 Jobs.15:24:53

– LITTLE ROCK — Verizon Wireless has told 42 more former Alltel Corp. workers in Arkansas that they will be cut in mid-July, making the total of ex-Alltel employees who will have been let go since January nearly 200.

via 42 more ex-Alltel workers to lose jobs.17:27:29

chrysler3– The Missouri plant, which employees about 1,200 people, is one of the six plants Chrysler has identified for closure between the third quarter of this year and the end of 2010 as part of a restructuring of the No.3 U.S. automaker.

via Chrysler to close Dodge Ram plant ahead of schedule | Reuters .17:34:00

– Lingering effects of the national recession were cited for about 50 more job losses in Vicksburg Tuesday, as a subsidiary of one of Warren County’s largest employers was set to close.

via The Vicksburg Post > News > Ergon subsidiary closing, ending 50 jobs.17:34:38

– WPSU said Wednesday that it is eliminating eight staff positions and canceling the television shows “Scholastic Scrimmage” and “Common Ground Lobby Talks.”

International Layoff News

– – STOCKHOLM (AFP) — Swedish furniture giant Ikea has cut 5,000 jobs worldwide due to the global economic crisis but expects to post record sales nonetheless, its chief told a Swedish newspaper on Tuesday.

via AFP: Ikea has cut 5,000 jobs due to economic crisis: report.

– Extremetech will not be closing, as previously reported. Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings’ PCMag Digital Network confirmed that it has cut a handful of staff members from the Web site and has moved the operations from San Francisco to New York.

via Extremetech moves operations to New York, cuts staffers :: BtoB Magazine.

– Trinity Mirror has announced it is looking to make a number of voluntary redundancies across its three London-based national newspapers.

via New round of redundancies at Trinity Mirror nationals – Press Gazette.

15:14:44 – A decision for Beru’s facility in Tralee, Ireland has finally been reached. After weeks of rumours ans speculations, almost half of the facility’s staff will be laid off.

via evertiq.com :: Components – Beru: 90 employees to go in Tralee, Ireland.

-une 24 (Bloomberg) — Satyam Computer Services Ltd. said 8,500 idled employees may be fired in six months unless business picks up as the Indian software provider reorganizes following a $1 billion fraud.

via Satyam May Eliminate 8,500 Jobs If Work Isn’t Found (Update2) – Bloomberg.com.15:21:20

lloyds-banking1– Lloyds Banking Group Plc, Britain’s biggest mortgage lender, plans to cut 270 jobs at its insurance and offshore operations, bringing to more than 4,450 the number of positions the bank has eliminated since April.

via Lloyds Plans to Cut 270 Jobs at Insurance, Offshore Divisions – Bloomberg.com.15:22:02

barclays– Barclays will cut 188 jobs and close a savings processing centre in Merseyside following changes to the way their accounts are processed

via Barclays to cut 188 jobs and close processing centre in Merseyside.15:28:37

– Cadbury Ireland is seeking to cut 200 jobs at its plants in Dublin and Kerry.

via Cadbury to cut 200 jobs in Dublin and Kerry – Ireland, Breaking News – Belfasttelegraph.co.uk.15:29:44

-DROUGHT and tough economic conditions have led to the sacking of nine Australian Wool Handlers (AWH) workers in Geelong.

Hiring News and News You Can Use

– Dan Denton is stuck in a vicious cycle: He’s behind on his bills after losing his job. But lousy credit is spoiling his chances of finding new employment.

Recruiters from a St. Louis-based investment company recently rescinded an offer after looking at his credit history, which has been mauled by overdue card payments and an impending foreclosure on his house.

He and his wife, Dana, filed for bankruptcy protection in June to try to hang on to their home.

“Of course your credit’s going to look bad when you’ve been unemployed for months,” said Denton, 60, a former fundraiser for the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove. “But what relevance does that have on your performance?”

via Omaha.com – The Omaha World-Herald.

– If you’re interested in becoming an online tutor, there are several legitimate companies which regularly hire educated individuals. Each company has its own requirements and benefits which you must take into account. Following is a list of the most well-known and respected of the online tutoring companies.

via Legitimate companies hiring online tutors.

– The Census Bureau plans to hire about 2,000 workers to count Memphians during next year’s tally.

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Mike: More news later…………………………

Joel Pett
Joel Pett


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