Archive for November, 2008

Weekend Update

Mike: While most economic attention is being paid to the holiday shopping weekend, the layoff news continues to roll  in. Even if the shopping numbers come in at a decent level, it won’t stop the job loss news, which is still gathering steam. Here are a few employment stories from the last couple days.

The housing bust is going to cripple many a city that was living large on housing track development fees and increased property tax revenue expectations that are now being shredded by lowering home values and sales:

PHOENIX — The city of Phoenix is preparing to trim hundreds of millions of dollars from the city budget, meaning 1,200 jobs city jobs will be eliminated next fiscal year, Mayor Phil Gordon acknowledged Tuesday.

Mike: The following link has some good information on large job cuts in the IT field. 

IT professionals looking for work should expect the number of open positions to decline in coming months as those currently employed in high-tech brace themselves for budget cuts, possible pay cuts and of course, layoffs (view a slide show of the largest IT layoffs in 2008).

Traditionally, they are the best positioned to bear the brunt during an economic slump.

But some discounters, including Harbor Freight Tools, are looking leaner, reducing work force and trimming hours.

About 20 people have left the privately held Camarillo-based discount tool retailer in the past three months, because of performance, a mismatch of skills and job elimination as a result of changed processes or implementation of automated tools, said Pete Roberts, vice president of human resources.

National Gypsum announced earlier this week that the Gold Bond Building Products factory on Riverside Avenue Extension will shut down in January, leaving about 73 workers jobless.

Mike: The following is a reminder that unemployment benefits are taxable. Unfortunately, the benefits are taxable at your normal earnings rate, but our clueless government leaders allow hedge fund managers to pay only the capital gains rate for many of their earnings. So if you make millions as a hedge fund manager, you could easily pay a lower tax rate than that imposed on unemployment benefits. 

Downing: Remember, unemployment benefits are taxable

What to do?

You can simply have tax withheld from your unemployment benefit payments, said Bob D. Scharin, senior tax analyst from the Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters.

There are other ways to deal with the issue, such as making quarterly estimated tax payments. But withholding is the most convenient method for many beneficiaries, Scharin said.

By choosing to have tax withheld, “It means you will not have to come up with a chunk of cash” during tax season to cover a balance due, he said. It could help you avoid any potential penalty for underpayment of tax, he said.

In the Peoria metropolitan area the jobless rate was 5.9 percent in October, well above the 4.3 percent rate posted in October 2007. That was in spite of the fact there were 1,500 more people listed as working in the area than a year earlier.

BOSTON— A surge in layoffs has led to lines as long as two hours at state unemployment centers and lengthy waits for those filing by phone.

State officials say New Mexico’s over-the-year job growth – representing just 1,000 jobs – has not been so low in 17 years.

 — Electric Boat Corp. will layoff 14 employees at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory Kesselring Site next week.

EATON, Ohio — Six employees of the Preble County Sheriff’s Department will get layoff notices next week.

Mike: Here’s a short newscast about the the unemployment conditions in Ohio: 

Ohio jobless rate stabilizes for short time

Ohio’s official unemployment is hoolding fairly steady, but the people who track the numbers say they don’t expect that to last.

JPMorgan retains WaMu branch staff, cuts office jobs

Forest Park considering job cuts

With local residents, businesses and even county government feeling the economic pinch, Forest Park is considering eliminating five positions in 2009.

Mike: Another reminder that there are an extra seven weeks of unemployment insurance benefits are available for many who need it:

Through federal legislation enacted Nov. 21, unemployed Pennsylvanians who have exhausted their state unemployment benefits can now apply for up to 20 weeks of emergency unemployment compensation. The average emergency unemployment benefit is $313 per week. So far this year, Pennsylvanians have received nearly $370 million in emergency unemployment benefits.

The numbers from the Illinois Department of Employment Security are significantly higher than those from October of last year. The rates range from 1.6 percent higher in Henry County to 3.4 percent in the city of Galesburg.

ASHLAND — Archway Cookies said climbing costs and business failures led to closing its plant in papers filed last month with a Delaware bankruptcy judge.

About 180 former employees of Erie Plastics have taken temporary jobs with Berry Plastics Corp., which recently bought the company’s assets at a bankruptcy auction.

Those temporary jobs are expected to end when the plant closes in 60 to 90 days.

Together with the 192 people Erie Plastics laid off earlier in the year, the losses add up to a sizable hit for this city of 6,300 people.

Mike: With the energy sector taking a beating due to collapsing prices, the TX job market is likely to get worse before it gets better. Oil prices will again rebound once the economy stabilizes and then green jobs will get back some of its shine, but the process could take a couple years or longer:


Eric Nielsen, managing director of the Houston office of recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International, says Houston is holding its breath. The energy job scene could see substantial layoffs or simply a plateau depending on whether the mercurial debt and equity markets stabilize or stay volatile into 2009.

“If we’re going to have a serious global recession, there will be significant demand destruction for oil and gas, and this sector will be under duress,” Nielsen says, adding he doesn’t expect clarity on worldwide energy demand or the labor market until the second quarter of next year.

“The anxiety level is extremely high,” he says.

Mike: Unemployment insurance benefits will need to be extended for at least another 13 weeks, or there could be many more homeless or at best, many will move in with friends and relatives:

Coker and many other former Wolverine employees who have not managed to find another job will lose their $840-per-month unemployment compensation in the next few weeks, and they don’t know what they will do.

“We were told there were 3,000 jobs out there, that we wouldn’t have any trouble finding jobs,” Coker said. “I’d like to know where those 3,000 jobs are at.”


This Thanksgiving, Samuel Lopez didn’t have to make the trip to his cousin’s house for dinner.

He already lives there.

Mike: The repo man is going to be working overtime and maybe doing some hiring in the months to come:


“Eighty percent of them are people whose life got the better hand of them, and they just can’t pay their bills,” Castro said as he prepared to repossess a Honda SUV from an upscale neighborhood near Stone Oak.

In this battered economy — with unemployment at a 14-year high, a rate that threatens to climb even higher — car repossessions are on the rise.

Mike: A relatively quite couple of days for job loss news, but Monday is likely to start the busy season for job loss announcements. Let’s hope that it remains quiet and the economic news starts to improve. We can hope:


Black Friday Edition

Mike: I hope you all had a comfortable Thanksgiving. Sorry for the late post on this shopping frenzied Black Friday for retailers. While many a store was pumping sale priced deals on everything from clothes to cars, the unemployed weren’t likely out stuffing their shopping carts full of electronics or enviable jewelry. The talking heads were describing the day’s shopping activities as stellar, but we’ll have to wait for  the final numbers to make a determination. And just think, Cyber Monday, the Web retailers version of Black Monday, is still on the horizon for the web retailers. If there is a buying frenzy this holiday season, I only hope it helps out some of those who have lost their jobs. On to the job loss news of the past day:

MADISON, Wis. — Two companies, one in southern Wisconsin and another in the north, have informed the state they plan to shut down plants and lay off workers. 

The Department of Workforce Development said the notifications involve the Hexion plant in Pleasant Prairie near Kenosha and the Wisconsin Box Company plant in Wausau. 

Hexion said its plant closing will mean a layoff affecting about 110 people between Jan. 30 and Sept. 25. 

Wisconsin Box said it plans to close the Wausau plant and lay off 64 workers starting on Jan. 24.

Mike: USPS is certainly trying to cut costs and the following shows some of those efforts:

SARASOTA – The Postal Service is considering closing the plant where mail enters and leaves Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Mike: As much as those from TX hope they will escape a major job downturn, news like the following shows that the downturn may just take a little longer than that which is affecting the rest of the nation:

Aquatic Industries Inc., which makes high-end whirlpools and bathtubs, is closing its 19-year-old Leander plant by June, letting go of 101 employees.

The steep national housing downturn has sharply reduced demand for its luxury tubs that typically end up in new custom houses or high-end remodels, said David McFarland, director of marketing for Aquatic’s parent, Lasco Bathware.

Mike: The following shows the diminishing influence of unions and that fact is going to weigh heavy on non-union shops, since many a union shop held up the wages of their non-union counterparts. More and more organizations will be riding the race to the bottom in order to at least secure continued employment:

The new agreement will afford the (Boston) Globe significant annual savings at a time when the newspaper industry is making the financially difficult transition to a digital and print business model. The provisions contained in the agreement will help the Globe increase efficiency in its print and distribution operations. The union agreed to a 5% wage reduction; the elimination of 10 holidays; a restructuring of vacation eligibility (lengthening the time for eligibility); and an increase in the number of new positions that can be filled with lower-wage hires.{0009D15F-C6E9-48C8-9588-B3247D9F72CA}

Mike: Postville was a travesty to begin with and now the town is asking to be saved from the ruin which the feds descended on them. To learn a little more about the Postville tragedy, visit Democracy Now!

POSTVILLE, Iowa – The Postville City Council has declared the city a humanitarian and economic disaster area and is seeking state disaster assistance because of the closing of the Agriprocessors Inc. kosher meatpacking plant.,0,5958282.story

Mike: RVs and other recreational vehicle entertainment is not going to be high on the lists of those who don’t have a large funny money fund, which is unfortunate:

Recreational-vehicle manufacturer Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. said it’s closing eight of its 24 plants because of reduced demand for travel trailers and factory-built housing.

The company expects to cut about 760 jobs, or 13 percent of the 5,700 positions it had at the end of August, as production is consolidated at other facilities, said spokeswoman Kathy Munson.,0,6314741.story

Mike: A hard fought battle to save union jobs:

The agreement also allows the company to temporarily schedule a 32-hour, four-day workweek for 900 workers as of Dec. 7; temporarily offers some flexibility in how the company schedules maintenance work forces working on special projects; moves all work that was to be diverted to other ArcelorMittal facilities back to Burns Harbor; and keeps all future orders for the plant at the plant, Gipson said. The union also agreed to cap an incentive plan based on production at 20 percent above the base wage, when on average it could be about 53 percent, Gipson said.

BAY MINETTE — The Baldwin County school board is considering cutting 75 to 125 support-staff jobs as early as Dec. 11 to offset statewide budget shortages, according to system Superintendent Faron Hollinger.

Many said they hoped to spend less this year on Christmas gifts. And those who were looking to fork over as much money as always said they would work hard to be thrifty, with a little help from stores’ day-after-Thanksgiving price reductions.

Mike: Fewer students in the system likely means fewer employees needed:

SIGNS that the state budget cuts are reaching bone – not fat – became painfully evident last week when the CSU Trustees opted to accept 10,000 fewer students next fall in response to Sacramento cutbacks.

Temporary staffing companies in Lexington report the need for fill-in employees is dwindling as businesses of all types try to cope until at least the new year.

Mike: Not all the news is bad, but the reason why this news is good could be considered bad:

A new report announced thousands of cuts globally at ArcelorMittal — but not at its Weirton plant. 

The reason? People are buying more canned goods.

Mike: Media cutbacks are not just the bastion of US companies, but are world-wide:

CTV chops 105 jobs, mostly in Toronto: CTVglobemedia Inc. on Thursday joined the parade of media companies across North America that have chopped staff amid an industry downturn.

Mike: States will be coming to the end of their financial resources, as has happened in MO, and the feds will be the bailout of last resort. Without these unemployment benefits bailouts, many will lose all they have worked so hard to earn:

Missouri’s unemployment trust fund is headed toward a deficit in 2009.

State officials anticipate that the fund, used to pay unemployment benefits, will go from its current balance of $149.7 million to a deficit of $102.5 million next year.

Action Line: Rules for extended unemployment benefits

Mike: Not only are the lines long for the Black Friday sales, but back in reality, the lines are long in less cheerful locations: 

BOSTON— A surge in layoffs has led to lines as long as two hours at state unemployment centers and lengthy waits for those filing by phone.

City of Sheboygan unemployment rose from 5.4 percent in September to 5.6 percent last month, eighth-worst among the state’s 31 biggest cities. That rate compared to 4.9 percent in October 2007.

Mike: Like TX, NM will be a little behind the curve, but they will also see unemployment increases:

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) – State labor officials report that New Mexico’s unemployment rate was 4.4% in October.

That’s up from the 4% rate of September and the 3.3% rate of October 2007.

Mike: I alwats get a “we are doomed” feeling as I hear that the “experts” are baffled by the current state of the economy. The rose-colored glasses crowd is not seeing reality and seem almost to dismiss reality instead of facing it and dealing with the consequences:

Employment and labor analysts say there are some baffling aspects to this week’s report of large unemployment increases  in San Diego, and throughout California. KPBS reporter Alan Ray has details.;id=13343

PARK RAPIDS – A year ago this month, the unemployment rate in Hubbard County was 4.8 percent. 

This year, it’s up to 7.2 percent, with a significant increase in the number of unemployment insurance claims and jobs lost in the manufacturing, retail and construction industries, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reports.

Mike: And the unemployment numbers are only going to increase. If many states have exhausted their benefit funds already, the feds are going to be very busy writing checks to bailout these shortages:

INDIANAPOLIS — The state of Indiana is receiving a line of credit for up to $330 million from the federal Department of Labor to help it temporarily shore up the fund for unemployment benefits for jobless Hoosiers through the end of January. The state’s unemployment trust fund is down to $21 million, despite an estimated monthly need for $66 million to provide benefits to about 80,000 out-of-work Hoosiers, officials said.

Mike: Increasing unemployment is a world-wide phenomena that is only beginning:

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — Unemployment in the 15 nations that share the euro shot up to 7.7 percent in October — the highest level in two years — as growth dropped sharply, the EU statistics agency Eurostat said Friday.

Mike: Here are some videos that tells it like it is (at least as far as MSM is given the chance to explain):

Mike: As China goes, so goes the US – at least for now:

Mike: Goodnight to all and Ihope the weekend update has some better news to offer:



Wednesday Wind Down

Mike: With the holidays quickly approaching, the job loss news would be expected to calm a bit, but it’s known that plenty of job losses occur around the end-of-year holidays due to companies having to arrange their budgets for fiscal realities. 

I hope you all have a fine Thanksgiving holiday.

Here’s a sampling of the past day’s activities:

This was today’s big number, which is still very high and in recession numbers territory, but the headline indicates improvement that really isn’t justified unless it’s being done for cheerful holiday purposes. 

U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Fell to 529,000 Last Week 

Initial jobless claims declined by 14,000 to 529,000 in the week that ended Nov. 22, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The four-week moving average of initial claims rose to 518,000, the highest since January 1983, from 507,000.

Mike: While job loss violence isn’t likely to occur on a wide scale in the US, the following article illuminates how job loss is viewed in China, since there are few unemployment or social welfare benefits available to the Chinese people:

GUANGZHOU, China (AFP) — Hundreds of laid off workers rioted in southern China amid a dispute over severance pay, smashing offices of a toy factory and clashing with police, state press said Wednesday.

Mike: Job losses in the US affect many industries in Canada, especially those in the auto industry: I think that the 2110 recovery mantra is a little optimistic.

Beleaguered automakers in Canada will wipe out at least 15,000 jobs and post staggering losses of more than $3.1 billion this year and through 2009 before starting a recovery in 2010, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

Rutland, Vermont – November 25, 2008 Rutland County is bleeding jobs.

Area manufacturers have laid off more than 300 workers over the past 6 months.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) reported last week that the Massachusetts unemployment rate increased from 5.3 percent in September to 5.5 percent in October.

“Ohio’s labor market continued to reflect a weakening national economy,” said ODJFS Assistant Director Sherry Keys-Hebron. “Job losses occurred in both the goods-producing and service-providing industries as the unemployment rate increased slightly to 7.3 percent.”

ATLANTA  The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) reported today that the unemployment rate in metro Hinesville rose to a preliminary unadjusted rate of 7.2 percent in October, up 2.2 percentage points over the year from October of 2007

Mike: I tend to agree with the sentiments of the following article. I was unemployed for an extended period in the early 90s and I remember having minimal savings and hoping for an unemployment extension. I believe it was Senator Nichols (OK) who in the senate debate to extend benefits another six weeks was firmly against the extension and delayed the vote for a period of time. After some sort of compromise, the senate voted for the extension, but I was watching intently and quite aggravated and nervous that Nichols was delaying the extension. If jobs aren’t available, an extension is required.

Our View: Unemployed need help in hard times

“In such a weak labor market, unemployed workers are much more likely to exhaust their unemployment insurance benefits before they can find a job,” said Chad Stone, chief economist for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, prior to the extension in benefits was approved.

The number of ALCOA Tennessee Operations layoffs announced Oct. 30 — estimated to affect 114 workers — has been cut almost in half.

LITTLE ROCK — Figures released Friday show Arkansas’ unemployment rate rose five-tenths of a percentage point in October, matching the steepest rise ever, in a sign the national economic downturn is beginning to affect the state.

Mike: A couple of TX financial stories follow that indicate an economy that is faring better than the national economy, but with oil and energy prices crashing, I think that the economy of TX is just a little behind the curve at this point:

Unemployment rate is low in the Big Bend

Texas banks are still in good shape compared to the rest of the nation.

Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate rises to 6.8%

Mike: While the taxpayer is being forced to bail out the banking sector and its theives, it’s the cities and states that are going to suffer the most during this extended downturn. The only way that cities and states can meet their obligations is to either cut costs, which includes large layoffs, or raise taxes. The citizenry won’t stand for tax hikes during a recession, so cutting costs is the step most likely to occur. The feds need to pump  some money into the states and cities in order to avoid increasing job losses. States and cities, for the most part, are required to have balanced budgets each year, while the feds can run account deficits as they have for the majority of the past 30 years.

Phoenix will likely eliminate 1,000 positions next year as part of city officials’ effort to slash the budget by up to $250 million because of the ailing economy and a drop in tax collections.

Mike: Workers are getting fed up of losing jobs and some are taking to the streets. While this protest doesn’t take on the violent Chinese display noted above, it nonetheless shows that people are getting more organized to support their livelihoods:

City laborers clad in bright green T-shirts showed up in force today at a City Council workshop today to urge Des Moines leaders to reconsider about 90 job cuts that are proposed to help erase a budget deficit projected between $6 million and $9 million next


WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County commissioners introduced a 2009 budget that spends $130 million and is balanced by adding almost $19 million in new debt.

The budget proposal cuts more than $16.8 million in spending and could result in the elimination of more than 100 jobs through layoffs, attrition, and retirements.  A vote to adopt the budget is scheduled for Dec. 17.

AmTrust Bank said Tuesday it will cut an undisclosed number of jobs as it tries to cope with a regulatory order to improve its finances.

AmTrust, the Cleveland area’s fourth-largest bank, also has been ordered to stop soliciting deposits by offering high interest rates.


Impending layoffs in Santa Barbara County’s Social Services Department have been avoided following an overwhelming vote by union members to accept a mandatory furlough.

The members of the Service Employees International Union, Local 721, this week voted 82 percent in favor of an 80-hour furlough; in exchange, the county will not lay off any union members.

Bank of America says there will be job cuts at its Delaware-based credit card division because of organizational changes.


MT. VERNON, Ill. – The downturn in the economy has several people in the Heartland feeling a little less thankful this year just one day before Thanksgiving.

The Mt. Vernon Continental Tire plant will cut more than 100 jobs.

Buyouts net Chrysler nearly 5,000 job cuts

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) — Technorati announced on Tuesday that it was laying off six employees and cutting pay for the remaining members of the blog search engine company.

Carthage, MO (AHN) – Bedding and furniture manufacturer Leggett & Platt Inc. announced lay offs of about 40 employees at its corporate headquarters because of slumping consumer demand for its products.

Delaware City Manager Tom Homan submitted a proposed budget to council Nov. 15 that included the elimination of 10 full-time jobs (six of which are vacant), two permanent part-time positions and five intern positions.

Luzerne County’s 2009 budget, which was approved Wednesday, will cut more than than 100 jobs, according to the Times-Leader newspaper.

Mike: As  usual, the poor and frail suffer disproportionately in a recession as the next two articles show:

The budget ax has fallen again at Erie County Job and Family Services, where four employees are being laid off and clients have been warned of delays in getting help.



Services for seniors took the brunt of the cuts, including reductions in money for meals, job training, in-home care, and programs to protect the elderly from abuse and neglect.

“They keep taking it in the chops, and they keep losing more and more,” county Supervisor Steve Gutierrez said.

LEWIS COUNTY, N.Y. — Each and every comment got the same response of thundering applause. Taxpayers protested Lewis County’s proposed budget, which calls for eliminating 52 jobs and zero funding for contracted agencies like libraries and recovery centers.


State budget cuts will put 85 state workers out of a job Sunday, the Blagojevich administration confirmed today.

Originally, more than 320 workers were supposed to be laid off in several state agencies at the end of November, including those affected by the closings of two-dozen state parks and historic sites.


Eighty employees were laid off late last week at CSC in Williamsburg, but the town’s mayor is hopeful the positions might be reinstated next year.

LINCOLN – Claims for unemployment insurance in Nebraska rose 42 percent in October compared with a year ago.


DULUTH, Minn. – Airplane maker Cirrus Design Corp. says it is temporarily laying off about 165 people at its plant in Grand Forks and 335 people in its Duluth plant next month.

EATON, Ohio — The Preble County Sheriff said he has no choice by to lay off a half-dozen employees.

Mike: Happy New Year! Sad.

Lucas County Commissioners approve 20 layoffs – A total of 20 county employees will be laid off effective January 1. This includes eight from the department of Child Support Enforcement and five from Building Regulations.


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – The Pennsylvania Turnpike began laying off employees Thursday after only 20 workers accepted voluntary buyout offers designed to offset falling traffic numbers and declining toll revenues.

Turnpike CEO Joe Brimmeier said his goal is to reduce payroll expenses by 7 to 10 percent, so more people will be let go in the coming weeks.

The University of Toledo Medical Center plans to lay off at least 12 and as many as 50 employees as a result of the troubled economy.

The layoffs that have rocked the publishing industry have come to Source Interlink. The Bonita SpringsFlorida-based distributor and enthusiast magazine publisher recently laid off “upwards of 80 employees,”  a knowledgeable source told FOLIO:.

About 80 people will lose their jobs early next year at the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, administrators announced Tuesday.

Palm will restructure its worldwide operations and lay off an unspecified percentage of its 1,050-person staff, reports say.

Two days before Thanksgiving, some city workers are bracing for layoffs.
Wednesday night, the mayor of Orange Beach detailed his plan for workforce reductions to the city council and the public.
Mayor Tony Kennon said, “We had 40 positions that we are not going to fill. 23 are individuals who were in the jobs that we laid off, for lack of a better term.”

SHELLEY, Idaho (AP) – Executives at a food processing plant in eastern Idaho way they intend to shut down 1 of 2 production lines in February, a move that will likely lead to the loss of 65 jobs.

Another 100 people in the area are laid off from their jobs, in this case from the Little River Casino Resort, the region’s largest employer.

ABX Air says it plans to lay off another 283 employees at the DHL Air Park over the next week.

A Tennessee weekly is responding to the economic collapse with one helpful move: free classified ads for unemployed residents.

A Cleveland-area company that operates a timeshare-style jet operation has laid off 104 pilots and 30 other employees.

BURLINGTON — J.W. Peters will soon send 86 people, or more than two-fifths of its work force, home for perhaps six months or more.’

MALTA — Starfire Systems Inc., the company responsible for the design of a space shuttle repair kit, laid off nearly half its employees last week in the wake of feeling the pinch of the current fiscal crisis.

Cirrus Design Corp., ramping down to zero production in December, furloughed 500 of the 1,100 workers at its Duluth, Minn., and Grand Forks, N.D. facilities .,%20Workers%20&channel=busav


Yakima County passed a belt-tightening budget Tuesday with virtually no changes since it was introduced last month.

The county’s $53.5 million 2009 general fund budget includes 30 staff cuts and spends $1 million in reserve funds.



From the age of Reagan to the 21st century, the Luck Stone Powhatan plant seemed like a permanent fixture in the area. Begun in 1985, the plant played a large role in the development of Chesterfield and Powhatan counties. The extension of Interstate 288 further bolstered it.

All of this smacked into the reality of the financial crisis when Luck Stone was forced to lay off or reassign 17 percent of its workforceL on November 12.


Chris Braun, CEO of Teton Buildings, confirmed on Monday that the company did lay off a portion of its workers on Friday.

On Friday, WBIR-TV offered a voluntary separation agreement to employees over the age of 55 who have 10 years of service, a move that comes on top of a consolidation effort that eliminated some jobs earlier this year.

EAST GREENBUSH — A factory that makes wallboard and other construction materials will shut down in January, leaving at least 70 workers without jobs.


WILMINGTON, N.C. — National Gypsum Co. says it will close its Wilmington wallboard plant in January due to the depressed housing market, putting more than 60 people out of work.

The Star-News of Wilmington reports that the plant will close on Jan. 19. Workers were notified last week.

Online grocer Plumgood Food is closing after four years of operation.

Mike: That’s a sampling of Wednesday’s bleak news. I’ll leave you with a bit of Thanksgiving humor:





Google Time

Mike: When the layoffs start at thr highly profitable tech giants, then you know the job market is going to get tougher. Also, if these contractors are 1099 contractors, then they aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits:

(Reuters) – Internet search giant Google Inc (GOOG.O: QuoteProfileResearch,Stock Buzz) said it is “significantly” reducing the number of contract workers it uses, but has no plans at this time to lay off employees, the Wall Street Journal said.

Mike: The following shows how skewed to the low side are the published unemployment numbers.

Part-time workers mask job losses

HARRY HOLZER: This is one of the categories that we often call the hidden unemployed. That really means that the official numbers aren’t telling you how bad things are getting.

Holzer says official unemployment numbers also don’t count those who’ve given up looking for work.

Mike: In a state that has one of the highest and burdensome tax rates in the country, the Wall Street job loss will only add to the legislative demands for higher taxes and fees in order to fund the pork rich state diet. The most dysfunctional state government in the country doesn’t feel it’s yet time to slow spending on their pet projects.

“In total, New York State may lose 225,000 jobs during this very difficult period,” DiNapoli said.

Nearly 3,000 more Hoosiers are expected to lose their jobs starting early next year, thanks to a flurry of layoffs announced over the weekend.

ASHLAND — The first round of layoff notices affecting 545 employees at the AK Steel plant in Ashland have been sent out, and 100 more pink slips could be in the mail this week, a union official said Monday.

Mike: The bad news is mounting in the Golden state:

When the Internet and telecom bubble burst, Silicon Valley jobs evaporated: by 2005, California’s Santa Clara County – which includes San Jose, Palo Alto, Cupertino, Mountain View and other tech-focused towns – had given up more than 20% of its total job base, a loss of over 200,000 jobs. So how bad will it get this time around?

The Madison Repertory Theatre’s board said management and staffing changes will include layoffs. The number is not being released.

Mike: A slow death for many fine newspapers is occurring more rapidly in these tough economic times:

RICHMOND — The Virginian-Pilot will cut at least 125 positions, about 10 percent of its work force, mostly by laying off staff and closing or selling affiliated publications.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Some workers at Crucible Steel are part of a temporary layoff, but the Director of the Steel Workers Union said it is not unusual. The move lasts one week and then workers are back on the job.

Instead, she is scrambling to find another job after being one of seven teachers – and one of eight total Water Valley Independent School District employees – cut Monday by the school’s board of trustees in an effort to close a projected $350,000 deficit.

The city of Tempe may be forced to cut 10 percent of its full-time employees because of an $11.5 million budget shortfall, city officials reported.

Reading City Council raises property tax 5 percent, plans more job cuts

USA Today will cut 20 newsroom jobs, or about 5 percent of its newsroom staff, according to Bloomberg News, citing an employee memo from editor Ken Paulson.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the outsourcing consultant company, alerted reporters and analysts today, Nov. 24, that its November jobs report, due Dec. 3, put the number of jobs lost “even closer to the 172,373 job cuts per month averaged during the last recession.”

PEMBROKE — Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., the parent company of Fleetwood Homes, is closing its Pembroke plant in the next 60 days.

The Wells Fargo Home and Consumer Finance Group is laying off 67 employees at its Texas automotive finance facility.

About 120 people will be without a job when JCIM closes its Croswell plant by the end of the year.

General Motors is cutting production at Lordstown and four other factories as the domestic automakers consider much larger changes in their fight for survival.

National Gypsum will be closing it’s Wilmington plant in January.

Mike: I’ll  leave you with a little Onion humor this evening:


Monday Madness

Mike: While the markets were thrilled about the newest banking bailout, all that market noise on the upside did nothing to alleviate the job loss story. 

Mass layoffs are considered those of over 250. I will highlight any large layoffs, but it’s the smaller layoffs that seem to lose any national MSM recognition and those layoffs of less that 250 people are as important as those of higher numbers. Let’s take a late evening look at some of these job losses. 

Michigan is again in the news for all the wrong reasons:

Port Huron, MI – The JCIM plant in Croswell is closing by the end of the year, taking with it more than 100 jobs, said Dick Cummings of the United Way of St. Clair County.

Mike: A little suspicious:

(Blade, The (Toledo, OH) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Nov. 23–BELLEVUE, Ohio — A fire damaged the Progress Plastic Products factory in Bellevue Sunday, just days after an announcement that the plant would be shutting its doors.

‘It’s a shame’ — Pursell speaks on plant closing

The manufacturing operation of United Industries Corp. currently employs 77 full-time staff members.

Pursell said he knows a couple of the employees at the plant have been working there for more than 50 years.

Sioux Falls, S.D.-based VeraSun confirmed in a letter to farmers and elevator operators earlier this week it was closing at least one plant in Dyersville, Iowa.

UTMB began laying off about 600 workers per day Tuesday and will lay off the final 600 Monday to compensate for losses stemming from the Sept. 13 storm, which caused $710 million in damage to the campus.

Economic forecasters at the University of Michigan predicted Friday that the state is on track to reach a new milestone: 10 consecutive years of job losses.

Edith Edmonds at the Lee County Employment Security Commission has the numbers to confirm that. The most recent data for Lee County, which was released in September, indicates that 8.2 percent of the county’s labor force — or 2,259 people — are out of work.

A preliminary budget is scheduled to be released in early December, and Masser has already suggested that county positions may be cut. There are currently 912 employees on the county payroll, including 43 people hired in the last year.

HARRISONBURGPilgrim’s Pride will cut more than 300 jobs nationwide as it wrestles with the sluggish economy, the company announced in a statement Friday.

About 400 people are without jobs after auto dealer Denny Hecker announced he would close stores across the Twin Cities.

Mike: Violence and job loss are often related:

A Greece (NY) man is recovering from a gunshot wound, after, police said, they fired at him as he attempted to stab his wife.

Neighbors said the suspect had been under a lot of stress after losing his job.

Mike: The following had a mass layoff of 300 last week, but the added 100 won’t be part of the mass layoff stats:

GREENWOOD, S.C. — A week after announcing more than 300 layoffs, a textile manufacturer has announced it’s letting more than 100 more workers go in South Carolina.

Local WaMu layoffs loom, perhaps as many as 2,000

Payson, AZ: Income drops $4.5 million, town to layoff 126 workers

Economy forces Buckeye to layoff 39 employees

ALBANY, N.Y. — Just a few weeks ago, the Comptroller estimated Wall Street job losses in the 10s of thousands, but in Monday’s report, Tom Dinapoli estimated unemployment numbers so big, they almost take a calculator to comprehend.

Mike: Tonight’s post is a little light in substance, but tomorrow will be much more active. Have a good evening.






Friday – Bush Signs Unemployment Benefits Extension

Mike: At least those affected by the unemployment bug will get a little relief today. Now if there were only some unemployment benefit package for the millions of unemployed/under employed 1099 and independent contractor types. I am sure many would disagree with that thought, but getting money into the hands of the unemployed is one of the best ways for the government to support the economy, as noted in the following:

Strengthened unemployment insurance.  Temporary increases in unemployment insurance (UI) benefits are particularly effective as stimulus:  the benefits go to workers who have lost their jobs, so the added income is likely to be spent quickly.  As CBO director Orszagrecently told the House Budget Committee, “research has shown that the unemployment insurance system is among the most effective dollar-for-dollar economic stabilizers that we have in terms of counterbalancing periods of economic weakness.”

* The following site has some useful extended benefits information:



Mike: Of course, there is always the counter argument and it’s not surprising that one of those arguments come from the Heritage Foundation:

Extended Unemployment Insurance–No Economic Stimulus

Mike: Onto today’s news:

Bush signs law extending unemployment insurance

It gives seven more weeks of unemployment payments to workers who have exhausted their current jobless benefits. For those in states with the highest unemployment rates, an additional 20 weeks will be allowed.

Mike: Some of the job loss news of the past day follows:

Aviation Subcontractors Wait For Layoff Trickle-Down

Wichita State University researchers estimate for every job lost locally in the aviation industry, 2.9 are lost somewhere else.

Earlier this month, Hawker Beechcraft laid off approximately 320 workers in Wichita, and Cessna has announced plans to lay off 500 workers.

Mike: The above article shows the dramatic effect of how one job loss can lead to increased job loss down the line. I’m sure that will be the affect of any auto makers going belly-up with tens of thousands of auto related positions being lost. Unfortunately, Americans have allowed most of their manufacturing base to be destroyed and shipped overseas for the benefit of cheap prices, but there is going to be a large price to pay for those cheap imports as this job loss train gets rolling.

Hatchet Falls on 33 Lawyers at Mayer Brown

Aerisyn is reducing its workforce. Officials of the Chattanooga company cited a credit crisis and a pull back in customer orders for 2009 as the reasons for the cuts. The layoff impacts 54 workers. An Aerisyn spokesman says some of that number came from voluntary resignations while the remainder from layoffs and reorganizations.

Michelin Announces Temporary Layoff at Dothan Plant – About 16-contract employees will be affected.

HEBRON — Momentive Performance Materials, a manufacturer located in the Newark Industrial Park, announced Thursday it would lay off 32 employees at the Hebron facility.

Media company layoffs are now the rule, not the exception, but this one is still noteworthy: The Associated Press, the workhorse of U.S. journalism, is firing 10 percent of its staff, or about 400 people.

Chase to cut 3,000 investment banking jobs

AUGUSTA—Gov. John Baldacci made official Wednesday what departments across state government have expected for weeks: spending cuts that affect money already budgeted.

Connecticut shed 3,600 jobs in October, the largest drop since December 2003, the state Department of Labor said Thursday,0,2653691.story

Mike: I think the forecasts in the following article are much too optimistic, but then again, government has to put on a pretty face:

A state-by state look at the economic forecasts for New England states issued Thursday by the New England Economic Partnership:

I just received the following PDFs from the BLS:

Regional and state unemployment rates were mostly higher in October. Overall, 38 states and the District of Columbia recorded over-the- month unemployment rate increases, 5 states registered decreases, and 7 states had no change, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Over the year, jobless rates were up in 47 states and the District of Columbia, down in 1 state, and unchanged in 2 states. At 6.5 percent in October, the national unemployment rate increased by 0.4 percentage point over the month and 1.7 points over the year.

In October, employers took 2,140 mass layoff actions, seasonally adjusted, as measured by newfilings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S.Department of Labor reported today. Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single employer;the number of workers involved totaled 232,468, on a seasonally adjusted basis.
General Motors tells workers of more factory cuts, will extend holiday shutdown to Jan. 20

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Corp. will extend its holiday shutdown or make other production cuts at up to 10 factories as it deals with a continued U.S. auto sales slump and fights to stay solvent.

Goldman cuts U.S. growth forecast

Goldman said it now expects U.S. GDP to fall 5 percent in the current quarter, with unemployment rate reaching 9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The move affects 109 employees at the Crawfordsville location. How or if other Fleetwood plants in Indiana would be impacted wasn’t specified.
International Paper Co. announced Friday the company will close its mill in Bastrop, La., indefinitely and lay off 550 employees.
Caldwell, Ohio — United Steelworkers District 1 Representative Denny Longwell confirms for that the Mahle Plant in Caldwell is closing at the end of 2009. 250 workers will lose their job.
About 250 Ericsson workers learned about 10:30 a.m. Thursday that the plant in the Thorn Hill Industrial Park will close by the end of 2009. Most are hardware and software engineers, plus other staff that work in supply, sourcing and customer support services.

The Thursday Job Loss Trek

Mike: Jobless claims jump unexpectedly to 16-year high I am always amused by the fact that these useless headlines have lately stated that “Jobless claims jump unexpectedly.” What is so unexpected about higher than usual jobless claims. The country is going through one of the most encompassing financial disasters in almost a century and these people are surprised, yet they still have jobs. These clowns have a much worse record of prediction than the local weather caster, since they are right around 50% of the time.

Jobless claims jump unexpectedly to 16-year high

Mike: The markets are at levels not seen since 2003 and the worst is still to come even if there is a bounce off these lows. With companies having less to invest, the employment outlook does not look promising. The following map is form the Bureau of Labor Statistics @ and it shows the unemployment rates by state in 2008, as well as other labor stats:


BLS - Economy at a Glance

BLS - Economy at a Glance

 Mike: I’m still amazed, although I shouldn’t be, at the level of incompetence that is getting bailed out on a daily basis. Banks, former investment banks, insurance companies, and now the auto giants all want a piece of the dwindling taxpayer pie. 


Taxpayer Santa

Taxpayer Santa

Mike: The EU plans an economic stimulus plan to help get the consumer excited, but without direct investment in creating new jobs, it’s bound to be a short term fix:

Mike: Here are the latest job loss notes:

The Carolinas have escaped much of the downturn so far, but it’s beginning to catch up:

BofA CEO: Job loss will be ‘fairly significant’

Plath says, “Remember this economy is worsening as we speak and banks are continuing to layoff large numbers of people. That’s what B of A is responding too.”

N.J. Job Loss Highest Since 2003

Mike: The following are staggering job loss numbers and it’s only going to get worse:

Michigan jobless rate soars to 9.3%

Job cuts, deflation signal accelerating recession

If your employer hasn’t laid-off anyone yet, be ready, it could be coming soon. Four out of 10 Bay Area companies plan to decrease their workforce over the next six months, according to a new study by The Bay Area Council.

Mike: The rest of the world is buying less and that’s going to put a big dent into Chinese finances. Civil unrest is one of the results of continued job losses and that could make Tienanmen Square look like a minor disturbance:

BEIJING: Chinese leaders have finally admitted that the country is facing a “grim” situation on the employment front owing to the global economic crisis. An official survey has shown that demand for labour has fallen 5.5 per cent in the third quarter of this year across 84 different cities.

Akamai Technologies, Inc. announced that it will cut 110 jobs, or about 7% of its work force, as part of its plan to reduce operating costs.

Local paper cuts six jobs: Independent Publishing Group, ME

Mike: While many have lost a great deal of financial security, it’s a shame that these same people didn’t learn anything from the bust, the Asian currency crisis, the 1987 crash and the stagflation of the 70s. Rose-colored glasses are fine for vacations but they are useless when planning your future.

Many grappling with golden year disappointments as nest eggs dwindle

Mike: The following is one group that won’t have a tough time finding clients:

Psychologist offers free counseling to unemployed

The Boeing Co. plans to cut 800 jobs, including management, at its Integrated Defense Systems facility in Wichita, Kan., next year.

Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre yesterday said 22 civilian police employees will be laid off during Mayor Carty Finkbeiner’s three-day governmental shutdown.

Mike: Things are not very cheerful in the Toledo government workforce:

Unions file for restraining order blocking city layoffs

Toledo Powertrain puts 110 on two-week layoff

Intrawest announces layoffs but no specifics

WILMINGTON – ABX Air said it will lay off 158 employees, starting immediately and extending through Jan. 14.

EL PASO —  Arcelor Mittal’s Border Steel facility in Vinton has laid off 151 employees, according to company officials.

TechCrunch reports that recommendation startup Strands laid off 14 people, or 10 percent of its company, and mobile live video startup Qik also laid off 10 percent, or five people.

New jobless claims in Arizona hit 30-year high last month

PHOENIX — The number of new jobless claims in Arizona hit 30,000 in October, the first time that’s happened in three decades.

Mike: Not only is a slump in advertising hitting the shelter mags, but the housing market is playing a big role. 

As a slump in advertising continues to drag down the publishing industry, shelter magazines have been the first titles to collapse.

The latest is Cottage Living, which Time Inc. is shutting down. It becomes the fourth major shelter magazine to fold in the past 12 months. News reports say most of the magazine’s 47 staffers will be laid off

Downers Grove-based Sara Lee is getting out of the kosher meat business. The company Wednesday announced it will close its hot dog and meat processing plant in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood.

The South Side plant closing means about 185 workers will lose their jobs within the next three months.

Niles auto-parts plant, which had been up for sale, announced it would be closing down in March and laying off nearly 200 workers after failing to find a buyer.,ni-metaldyneclose-112008-s1.article

BUFFALO, W.Va. — The global slowdown in auto sales is prompting another cut in jobs in the Tri-State, this time by the Toyota Motor Manufacturing plant in Buffalo.

As part of company-wide cuts announced by Toyota on Wednesday, the engine and transmission plant in Buffalo will release 120 temporary workers by the end of January 2009, a plant official said Wednesday.

(Topeka, Indiana) – Recreational vehicle maker Starcraft will close its manufacturing plant here, putting 244 workers out of a job.

MOUNDSVILLE – Marshall County industry has taken another blow, as 70 more workers soon will find themselves without jobs.

On Wednesday, Jeffrey S. Bolton, plant manager for the Bayer MaterialSciences’ New Martinsville plant confirmed 70 of the plant’s 413 positions will be terminated next year as part of the company’s attempt to adjust the plant’s manufacturing operations.

Point Comfort Alcoa Plant May Close

In response to market conditions, there is every indication that AWAC will close in some of its higher cost production, most notably the Pt Comfort plant near Houston.

(Orville, Ohio) – Consumer products manufacturer Spectrum Brands will shut its plant here and put 88 workers out of a job.

Snorkel International could lay off approximately half of its current work force by Jan. 6, according to the company.

Mike: When the government starts laying off, then you know the screws are getting tighter.

The U.S. Postal Service will shutdown the Chattanooga Remote Encoding Center (REC) in April 2009, leaving 536 people to seek other jobs.

He said the window and door manufacture will cut its production to two lines and cut its workforce to a point of having 70 employees in place. McCaskill said the building and construction industry in the nation has been hit really hard, but TRACO has hung in there—to this point.

Mike: Even green jobs are getting the ax due to lousy financing conditions:

Tulsa Business Closing, Laying Off 131 Workers

Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. plans to cut about 335 more jobs by the end of the month, as the nation’s largest chicken producer looks to reduce costs.










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