Archive for March 16th, 2009

March 16 – Companies twist reporting requirements to keep layoffs quiet – UBS cutting 5,000 management jobs – Bluegreen dumps about 3,000 – Baker Hughes chops another 1,500 – 860 IT jobs gone at Kaiser – New Brunswick to exit 700

Mike: I hope you all had an enjoyable weekend. A couple economic reports are do this day that will show the health of the economy and will indicate if the job market is likely to improve in the near-term. The Empire State Mfg Survey: New York Manufacturing Index Slumped to Record Low and Industrial Production:  Industrial output drops in February . 

The morning US layoff announcements are slow to get started on Monday, but the international announcements are underway.


*Mike: The below articles show how some companies don’t want to advertise their layoffs. Without adequate job loss reporting mechanisms, how can we know the extent of unemployment or how layoffs are being conducted at companies?  Why are these companies allowed to have layoffs in incremental bits that flaunt the federal job loss reporting requirements and give those that are laid off fair warning so they can prepare for the loss of their job?

So here’s how a large company layoff can be kept quiet: The company merely has to layoff 48 people instead of the 50 that would require federal reporting requirements. Then the next week they can layoff another 48 and so forth. So the company that’s cheating the system cheats the laid off worker and that cheats the system by skewing the unemployment figures. There’s a mass layoffs statistic that is released by the BLS, but if companies are not reporting mass layoffs, it leaves those numbers in doubt.  Having reliable numbers is important to devising a reliable financial plan.

So the new way of doing business in the US is banks hiding toxic assets, the Federal Reserve hiding who they lend to, US firms and individuals hiding assets overseas, officials hiding taxes due, and companies hiding layoff announcements. This is a game of hide and seek where the hiding is a lot easier than the seeking, but we need to discover these hiding places in order to restore faith in the financial system. 

The stories:

* With the economy weakening, chief executives want Wall Street to see them as tough cost-cutters who are not afraid to lay off workers. But plenty of job cuts are not trumpeted in news releases. Big companies also routinely carry out scattered layoffs that are small enough to stay under the radar, contributing to an unemployment rate that keeps climbing, as the monthly jobs report is likely to show. IBM is one such company. It reported surprisingly strong quarterly profits in January, and in an e-mail message to employees, Samuel J Palmisano, the Chief Executive, said that while other companies were cutting back, his would not. “Most importantly, we will invest in our people,” he wrote. via Deccan Herald – Quiet layoffs sting workers without notice .  

* These “LRs,” as Cisco sources call them, are a way for the company to cut costs by reducing workforce in small, incremental moves without having to publicly announce or disclose the actions in compliance with U.S. Department of Labor regulations, like the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN). These specific NMTG LRs are separate from the planned reduction of 1,500 to 2,000 positions Cisco announced during its earnings call last month, which, the company says, complied fully with WARN and other federal labor regulations.

via Cisco quietly downsizing through outsourcing – Network World.

At least 200 people. That’s the best gauge of the depth of IBM’s secretive mass layoff at the Essex Junction microelectronics plant announced at the end of January.

via January layoffs struck at least 200 at IBM | | The Burlington Free Press.

Dell remained mum Thursday about the extent of the layoffs this week at its Forsyth County computer assembly plant, but Winston-Salem officials called reports that 300 people had lost their jobs inaccurate.

via Dell won’t say how many were laid off : : Greensboro, North Carolina.

Montana-Dakota Utilities has laid off some workers, but spokesman Mark Hanson says the number is not being released to protect the workers’ privacy.

* Larger layoff announcements and important economic reports:



Microsoft/Google/IBM and other Rumors & News


* Local NBC affiliate KTTC took a closer look at the firings (to call them layoffs, as if these people are possibly going to be rehired, is a cruel joke) and brought attention to a high percentage of over-50 employees that were sent packing. Advisory software engineers and advisory engineers were two job titles specifically noted because approximately 60 percent of the eliminated jobs belonged to folks 50 years old or older. These jobs are within the Systems and Technology Group.

General Economic News


Empire State Mfg Survey

[Report][Bullet8:30 AM ET
* March 16 (Bloomberg) — Manufacturing in New York contracted in March at the fastest pace on record as orders, sales and inventories plunged.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index dropped to minus 38.2, the lowest level since data began in 2001, from minus 34.7 in February, the bank said today. Readings below zero for the Empire State index signal manufacturing activity is shrinking.

via New York Manufacturing Index Slumped to Record Low (Update1) – .

* WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s industrial output fell for the fourth straight month in February with the factory operating rate dropping to the lowest level in more than a half-century of record keeping.



The Federal Reserve reported Monday that industrial output dropped by 1.4 percent last month, slightly worse than the 1.2 percent decline that economists had expected.

via Industrial output drops in February: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance.


*Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Monday planned to announce a broad package that includes reduced small-business lending fees and an increase on the guarantee to some Small Business Administration loans. A day earlier, the president’s advisers said in television interviews that they remained confident in the nation’s economic fundamentals, at times adopting upbeat rhetoric the president once mocked.

via Obama plans small-business lending boost: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance.

Bernanke said Sunday night the recession would probably end this year if the government’s program to boost the ailing banking sector succeed.


Mike: The Obama administration is offering you choices about the direction of the economy: Above, you have Obama and Bernanke saying that the economy is sound with Barnenke saying the recession could be over in 2009. Below you have Summers saying that large job losses are likely to continue with no conviction that the economic downturn is over. Take you pick and go with your mood of the day. I guess you can look at it this way; if you have a job and a home the economy is good, but if you have lost your job and/or your home the economy is bad.


* March 15 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama’s top economic adviser said it’s impossible to predict when the recession will end and cautioned that monthly job losses of about 600,000 are unlikely to end soon.

Lawrence Summers, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, said on ABC’s “This Week” program that job cuts are “probably not going to stop imminently.” When asked if the economic downturn is over, he said, “no one can make that judgment.”

via Summers Says Economy Hasn’t Hit Bottom, Job Losses May Continue – .


Mike: Being a teacher in California looks like a well paid career.  At the link below you will see the proposed layoffs for Orange County and the salary averages, which show that a teacher with 13.3 years experience makes on average $74,263, but I don’t see if that includes benefits, which I would doubt it does.  There are likely to be thousands less teachers on the CA payroll over the next couple months as they wield the budget ax.

* The following chart includes data provided by Orange County school districts on their layoff plans, anticipated job cuts and spending reductions for this year and 2009-10. It also includes 2007-08 data on school districts taken from the state Department of Education.

via Chart: 2009 Job losses, budget cuts and salary details | – News –


And Chesterfield County’s jobless rate soared from 12.9 percent in December to 16.7 percent in January, according to the commission’s unadjusted figures.

South Carolina’s unemployment rate rocketed to 10.4 percent, the commission reported. The annual benchmarking/revision process conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revised December’s rate for the state downward from 9.5 percent to 8.8 percent.

January’s statewide figure was the highest since April 1983 when the rate reached 10.7 percent.

via County unemployment hits 13.1 percent | SCNow.



Non Sequitur - Mar 16

Non Sequitur - Mar 16


* A new national poll indicates that worries about unemployment have tripled over the past year.

In a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Monday morning, 36% of people questioned said unemployment is the most important economic issue facing the country today, almost three times higher than the 13% who felt the same way last April. Unemployment is the top economic concern in the new poll. Inflation is second at 20%, followed by the mortgage crisis at 16%, the stock market at 14% and taxes at 11%.

via Unemployment concerns triple: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance.


newspaper18* SEATTLE (CNN) — The Hearst Corp. announced Monday it will publish its last print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on Tuesday and shift the operation of Seattle’s oldest business wholly to the Internet.


Municipal News


* ELGIN — To avoid going $17 million in the hole, School District U46 is cutting nearly 350 positions, from administrators to bus drivers.

The district expects about $427 million in revenue in 2009-10, a decrease of $8 million compared to what was expected for this school year.

via District to cut close to 350 jobs :: The Courier News :: Local News.


* (EVANSVILLE, IN) – Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel is announcing today that the City has identified efficiencies in City government that will lead to the elimination of 12 positions at a savings of $553,226 based on 2008 salaries and benefits. Most of the positions have already been eliminated or will occur through attrition.


US and some Canada News


bluegreen* Bluegreen Corp (BXG.N), which markets resorts and sells home sites, said it has cut more than 50 percent of its total workforce.


baker-hughes* HOUSTON: Oilfield services provider Baker Hughes Inc. says it can’t rule out another job reduction later this year after announcing late last week it was cutting another 1,500 positions, bringing its total to 3,000 so far this year.

via Baker Hughes to cut another 1,500 jobs – International Herald Tribune.


baker-hughes1* Oilfield services provider Baker Hughes Inc. says it can’t rule out another job reduction later this year after announcing last week it was cutting another 1,500 positions, bringing its total to 3,000 so far this year.

via Baker Hughes to cut another 1,500 jobs –


* An information technology partnership between Kaiser Permanente and IBM, plus other IT-related staff reductions at Oakland-based Kaiser, will result in 860 jobs being eliminated at the health-care giant.


* New Brunswick’s public sector unions are preparing for 700 job cuts and the loss of several programs when the Liberal government hands down its budget on Tuesday.

Civil servants have already been put on notice that they should expect a two-year wage freeze, but now unions say they must plan to lose 700 jobs without any pension buyouts or money to soften the blow.

via N.B. unions brace for 700 civil service job cuts in budget.


* KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) – Window and door manufacturer Jeld-Wen plans to lay off nearly 50 people from its corporate administrative staff.

via Central Oregons News, Weather and Sports Leader – Jeld-Wen to lay off nearly 50 corporate staff.


* WSLS general manager Warren Fiihr says the station has laid off 11 employees this winter as it has reduced staff 14 percent to about 80 total.

via Roanoke area TV stations cut staff –


* KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) – Officials at a Kearney manufacturing plant say the company is temporarily laying off 17 employees, effective Monday.

There’s no word on how long those workers would be off the job at Eaton Corp., or if it might be permanent.

via KMEG 14 – News, Weather, Sports for Sioux City and Siouxland | More layoffs announced at Kearney, Neb., plant.


* TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) – Dozens of workers at Art Iron Incorporated will soon be looking for work because of the slow economy and a lack of construction. 

Ironworkers Local 499 President Larry Sievert has confirmed to WTOL that the workers found out about the layoffs just yesterday.

via, Toledo’s News Leader, News 11 | Layoffs at South Toledo factory.


Montana-Dakota Utilities has laid off some workers, but spokesman Mark Hanson says the number is not being released to protect the workers’ privacy.

via Radio 1380 KOTA News-On-Demand.


* Green Diamond Resource Co., which owns land in Del Norte County, has announced it is laying off dozens of workers due to a lagging demand for lumber.

The layoffs will affect one of Green Diamond’s subsidiaries, California Redwood Co., formerly known as Simpson Timber Co., that also operates mills in the area.

via Dozens of timber jobs lost | Crescent City California News, Sports, & Weather | The Triplicate.


* Sources say Brookdale Hospital has handed out more than 200 pink slips this morning to hospital employees, sparking fear that the hospital may be closing.

via NY1 | 24 Hour Local News | Top Stories | Hundreds Laid Off From Brookdale Hospital .


newspaper16* RALEIGH, N.C. — The News & Observer is cutting salaries of all employees earning $25,000 or more per year and eliminating 78 jobs in the newspaper’s latest series of cost-cutting measures.

via N&O cutting pay, eliminating 78 jobs ::


* Harris Interactive is cutting 38 Rochester-area jobs, as the market research company tries to get leaner in this tough economy.

via Harris Interactive Cutting 38 Jobs in Rochester.


stanford-financial4* Over the weekend of March 6, 1,000 employees across the Houston-based company’s U.S. offices were terminated. That’s roughly 85 percent of Stanford’s total U.S. head count. According to a letter to the Texas Workforce Commission dated March 11, 16 employees were laid off in Austin.

via Sixteen Stanford workers lose jobs in Austin – Austin Business Journal: .


applied-materials* Applied Materials Inc. is cutting 50 employees from its Austin operations.

via Applied Materials eliminating 50 local jobs – Austin Business Journal: .


* The Valet Girls have seen their bookings drop 60% in the last year. As a result, they’ve decided to cut their staff in half and cut wages from ten dollars per hour to eight. Apparently the corporate bookings and private parties have shriveled as a result of the crappy economy, leaving these ladies in a tight spot.

via Carpocalypse: Even Scantily-Clad Female Valet Services Are Cutting Jobs.


* In total, 131 employees will be laid off between May 5 and May 15, the letter said.

via Tussway announces layoffs, facility remains open – Fort Worth Business Press.


*  Lufkin Industries continued its resizing with the layoffs of 77 foundry employees Friday, a company spokesman said Monday.

via Lufkin Industries lays off 77 at foundry.


* MANCHESTER — Reflecting the challenging economic times, Burr and Burton Academy has announced it will trim its workforce by four, and possibly five, employees by the end of the current school year.

via Burr and Burton announces staff cuts – Bennington Banner.


* On Tuesday, Darby joined the ranks of the unemployed as she and the office manager at the local United Way office were laid off. Darby, speaking Thursday to members of the Newnan Civitan Club about her work with the Task Force for Coweta’s Homeless, referred to herself as “a temporary casualty of the economy.”

via United Way cuts staff in Coweta – The Times-Herald.


* DENVER—The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver is cutting four of 20 full-time staff positions and shrinking benefits to reduce costs as the economy continues to sink, the Denver Post reports.

via Denver Museum Cuts Staff –


* Triton, a provider of heavy-industrial general contracting, will cut 35 percent of its workforce and close its Bonnyville, Alberta facility.




newspaper17* Members of the California Media Workers Guild voted 10-1 to approve concessions, including at least 150 job cuts and the removal of some benefits and rights.




International News


ubs* GENEVA (Reuters) – Switzerland’s biggest bank UBS (UBSN.VX) plans to cut up to 5,000 senior and management jobs in the next few weeks, Swiss weekly SonntagsZeitung said on Sunday.

It said up to 2,500 management positions could go in UBS’s dominant and profitable wealth management division, which accounts for 50,000 of the bank’s total 77,000 staff.

A UBS spokesman declined to comment on the report.

via UBS cutting 5,000 management jobs:report.


* McCormick Macnaughton, the distributor of Caterpillar machinery in Ireland, has suffered a 75 per cent collapse in business and plans to lay off 100 staff to cut costs.

via Sunday Business Post | Irish Business News.


* The West Australian Government will offer 500 public servants voluntary redundancies in a bid to cut a spiralling wages bill.

via WA to slash 500 public servant jobs – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).


* It was heartening to read the letter (14 March) from MPs disturbed by Guardian Media Group’s announcement of drastic changes at its weekly newspapers around Greater Manchester and at the Manchester Evening News, with the loss of 150 jobs, including 78 journalists. The company has similar devastating plans in Surrey and Berkshire.

via Letters: Job cuts at Guardian Media Group | Media | The Guardian .


* A FACTORY is to close its gates for the last time this month with the loss of nearly 100 jobs.

Hero Group, the Swiss food company, will this month shut its Sherburn-in-Elmet plant in Bishopdyke Road.

via Hero Group food plant in Sherburn-in-Elmet closes its doors (From York Press).


* Sources inform ”Globes” that Comverse Technology Inc. (Pink Sheets: CMVT) is about to fire this morning 300 employees, a third of them in Israel. The layoffs amount to 7% of the company’s workforce. The news comes after two tense weeks for Comverse employees, who knew that hundreds of layoffs were pending.

via Comverse axes 300 jobs.


* Bulgarian fleet operator Navibulgar will reduce the number of sailors by more than 26 per cent over the next four months, the company’s executive director Hristo Donev told Dnevnik.

The firm will make redundant 719 sailors, out of the 2700 it employs, in a bid to streamline costs.

via Bulgarian Navibulgar to axe 26% of sailing workforce – Business – The Sofia Echo.


* Employees at the company have been told that 28 UK posts will be lost within the next few weeks, during which time the management will be consulting with employees and their union.

via Morphy Richards to axe jobs and cut spending.


* Regional newspaper publisher Archant is set to reduce the number of editorial redundancies it is seeking at its Norfolk operation by 20 after a public outcry over the planned cuts.

via Regional newspaper publisher Archant to reduce job cuts in Norfolk by 20 after public outcry | Media | .


* The company, which employs about 7,000 people worldwide, has already made 1,100 people redundant and closed factories in Essex and south Wales. Today it warned that about 500 more jobs will be lost this year, including about 100 in Britain. TT has also introduced production slowdowns, shorter working hours and a pay freeze for all employees.

via TT Electronics to cut 500 more jobs as demand collapses – Telegraph.


* The company added the layoff extensions would affect some 300 people, with up to 90 jobs to be cut.

via NewsRoom Finland.


* Speaking to INSIDEFILM, Smith said that while there had been 12 redundancies in total – equal to a 10 per cent cut in staff across the group – all of these were service staff and “in no way creative personnel”.

via Inside Film – Cutting Edge explains staff cuts.


* Infostrada Hayters, the London-based sports news agency, has cut six staff – a third of its total workforce.

via Sports agency Infostrada Hayters cuts a third of staff – Press Gazette.


ryanair* Ryanair has announced further cuts in routes and flights from Dublin Airport this summer with the loss of 50 jobs.

via RTÉ News: 50 jobs lost as Ryanair cuts Dublin routes.


* Advertising agency Spot Runner told its employees last week that it will axe a further 60 staff in what will be the company’s third round of layoffs in less than a year. Last August, 50 people lost their jobs and a further 115 were sacked last December.



Hiring News


* As businesses lay off staff by the thousands, the City of Toronto is proposing a hiring spurt of 1,300 new staffers.


Mike: A quiet day when compared to many, but stil a number of unpleasant layoff announcements. This blogger has noticed that Mondays and Fridays are usually the less busy of the weekdays for layoff announcements, so don’t be surprised if the layoff news increases over the next couple of days. Till tomorrow………………..


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Walt Handelsman - Mar 16

Walt Handelsman - Mar 16






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