Mike: Thanks for visiting The Layoff List on this Easter weekend. The post will be rather short, since there is little in the way of layoff news and economic reports this day.
Let me start with some news from Thursday (revised for clarity from an earlier post):
Yesterday brought some slight improvement to the Jobless Claims number and along with a better than expected earnings number from Wells Fargo, the pundits were again trumpeting that the worst is over. A slight improvement in the Jobless Claims report is good news, but I’ll wait for a little more proof before singing “happy days are here again.” Here is my point, so I don’t sound like a doomsayer:
Banks are trumpeting the fact that home refinancing and new home mortgages are booming due to lower interest rates. With banks getting federal money at 0% interest, they can offer decent mortgage interest rates to the consumer, which is good, especially for refinancing. Paying less for a mortgage puts more money in your pocket for other needs and wants. But buying a new home at these lower rates may not be the great deal it appears to be on the face of it. First I’ll post the good news:
Adding to the optimism, Bank of America Corp., written off as a “zombie bank” not so long ago, said it, too, will have good news to report. CEO Kenneth Lewis said his bank’s mortgage business, especially including new home purchases, “is on fire.” Wells Fargo said much the same thing, only more soberly. One-quarter of its new mortgages, according to its statement, were from home purchases rather than refinancings.
“This is certainly encouraging for the industry,” says Joe Morford, a bank analyst with RBC Capital Markets in San Francisco.
Ok, so that’s good news, but if you listen to Meredith Whitney you may gather that buying a new home now will cost you later. Ms. Whitney has been one of the few pundits that have accurately called the financial crises to this point, so I’ll continue to follow her advice until she’s proved wrong:
She also said she expected home prices to fall another 30 percent, contrary to some predictions that housing may have bottomed.
“Home prices cannot bottom while liquidity is still contracting from the economy,” she said. She did say that large banks should benefit from low mortgage rates and refinancing.
The following video present Ms. Whitney’s view on a number of important financial matters, including housing. A housing rebound won’t be possible without a jobs rebound:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
So although the worst may be over for the banks and mortgage rates are attractive, the economy is not currently creating the jobs necessary to sustain a full and vibrant recovery. Once this blog’s title changes to The Hiring List, I’ll feel comfortable saying the worst is behind us 🙂
- Microsoft/Google/IBM and other Rumors/NewsGeneral Economic News
– It’s not like we didn’t see this one coming: Microsoft and Google are apparently chomping at the bit in an attempt to make a search-advertising deal with Twitter, AllThingsD reported Thursday.
“Many think Twitter’s real-time search of its 140-character ‘tweets’ posted by users on the service will become the next great battlefield in search,” AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher wrote. Indeed, Twitter’s search has been front and center since it acquired third-party search app Summize and integrated it into its own site. “Google currently dominates the general search market, with third-place Microsoft struggling to get more share.”
– This year, the unpalatable economy has piled Kwoka’s plate with more cancellations than customers. Four large corporations that in past years hired Kwoka to prepare private meals have backed out, leaving him with a single company to cook for, not enough to justify hiring the usual 30 extra workers. Kwoka estimates the cancellations cost him more than $70,000, and the temporary staff are missing out on big money, too.
– Chicago – U.S. technology firms announced plans to cut 84,217 positions during the first quarter, the largest quarterly job-cut tally for the sector since 2002, according to a new report from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Tech sector job cuts were nearly five times higher than the 17,345 cuts announced during the same period a year ago.
– Manchester, NH (AHN) – A statewide job fair in a New Hampshire university was cut short Thursday after 10,000 job seekers overwhelmed organizers and traffic backed up for miles from the school’s jam-packed parking lot.
– SALT LAKE CITY — The 4th Street Clinic says it’s being forced to cut health care programs for the homeless in the Salt Lake Valley. Now those who run the clinic are scrambling to catch patients before they fall through the cracks.
The reason for the cuts is not a surprise: fewer donations due to the bad economy. What is surprising is how many people benefited from the programs.
– More Americans 55 and older are working longer, and those who are looking for jobs face a technologically transformed market where potential employers may deem them overqualified.
Mike: If the government is looking to create high tech jobs, here’s the perfect reason to do so quickly:
– SAN JOSE, CALIF. – Cyber-spies hacked into the U.S. electric grid and left behind computer programs that would let them disrupt service, exposing potentially catastrophic vulnerabilities in the national infrastructure, a former U.S. government official said Wednesday.
– More than $56 million in annual payroll income – directly supporting the Southern Tier’s housing market, tax base and businesses – could vanish on the shifting political winds of Washington.
Mike: I’m continually astonished by the number of schools that now require a police presence in order to conduct daily activities peacefully and securely. Another fine example of how the inmates are running the asylum.
– For hours, board members questioned the wisdom of spending millions of dollars on his initiatives, including a school police force, while cutting 340 employees, more than 200 of them custodial workers.
In the end, the board approved by a 7-2 vote the $875 million budget Cash recommended, including $20 million in new or continuing programs, leaving Cash with the impression that while he won this battle, there are others ahead.
– The Marana Unified School District governing board voted Thursday to cut 133 teaching, administrative and support positions in response to anticipated funding cuts.
– PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) – The city of Paducah announces it’s laying off 14 people.
– Like we first reported, the City of Hoboken is carrying through with their planned layoffs of just under ten percent of the city’s municipal workforce, including cuts which will lay off police officers and City Hall workers.
A total of 21 layoffs and 20 demotions are scheduled to occur in the next few months, said Hoboken Corporation Counsel Steve Kleinman today.
– NEW YORK (AP) — Diversified health care products company Johnson & Johnson said Thursday it will cut about 900 jobs, mainly from its Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit.
The cuts include a mix of attrition and hiring freezes. They are part of the company’s strategy to trim its U.S. sales force and refocus its approach in the market, according to Kara Russell, spokeswoman for the Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit.
– EVERETT — The Boeing Co. will reduce its production rates for its 777 jet in 2010, making more layoffs likely, the company said Thursday.
Due to dwindling demand, the aerospace giant said it will reduce its monthly deliveries of the 777 to five from seven in June 2010. The company also will delay a plan to increase production on its 747-8 and 767. No change is being made to 737 production rates in Renton.
– The C-17, including manufacturing and support workers, accounts for about 1,000 of the 3,200 jobs at Vought’s main west Dallas plant on Jefferson Street. Vought produces the tail section, the nacelles that enclose the four huge jet engines and other components at that facility.
– One of southern New Jersey’s largest employers says it has finished its final round of layoffs and furloughs.
Viking Yacht Co. has cut 560 jobs from its work force of nearly 1,400 employees.
– MILWAUKEE – GE Healthcare plans to layoff 179 employees at its GE Healthcare Monitoring Solutions plant in Milwaukee.
– Greenheck Fan Corporation will lay off 46 office workers. Most of those employees work at the Schofield location.
– Another business falls victim to the tough economy…Fairmont based Nortech Aerospace Systems confirms roughly 60 employees were laid off this week.
– Railpower, which remains under the protection of the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (Canada), said it is reducing its workforce to 39 employees from 78 as its ability to continue as a going concern is uncertain.
– MADISON, W.Va. (WSAZ) — Massey Energy Company is hoping that pay and benefit reductions, along with some reductions in its workforce will help the company’s overall outlook.
– USAA will move 75 employees between June and September to its Colorado Springs regional office from call centers it is closing in California and Virginia, the San Antonio-based financial-services giant said Thursday.
– CB&I on Thursday laid off 80 employees, most of whom are welders and others involved in construction for industrial projects at the company’s Island Park manufacturing area in Beaumont.
– Jeff Howard, publications manager with the Edmonton-based heavy equipment dealer, confirmed on Thursday that 23 employees at Finning’s Centre of Excellence in Red Deer lost their jobs this week.
– The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington announced Thursday that it had eliminated 14 positions at the museum and its College of Art + Design, and a total of 18 jobs over all this month.
– National Semiconductor, a global company, shut down its South Portland plant Friday and plans to stay dark for two weeks.
The manufacturer, which employs 450 in South Portland, will be closed from April 10-26. Workers can take paid vacation or unpaid time off.
– Of its 160 full- and part-time employees, the society eliminated 18 positions through layoffs and attrition.
– A combination of personnel expense cuts that will include layoffs and furlough of staff in an effort to reduce the institution’s operating expenses.
– Telecoms giant BT is preparing to cut another 10,000 jobs and slash its dividend when it announces preliminary results next month.
– BT is preparing to axe another 10,000 jobs. The huge redundancy programme will be announced next month alongside a horrendous set of year-end figures that will include provisions of about £1.5 billion.
– ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss bank UBS will announce more job cuts soon, with staff in Switzerland and departments like marketing to be hit hard, newspapers reported on Sunday. Citing several unnamed sources, the Sonntagszeitung newspaper said managers had already started telling their staff about job losses, with departments like marketing and support functions hardest hit.
– The world’s leading sailboat builder, French-owned Beneteau, plans to cut nearly 600 jobs to stay afloat during the economic crisis.
– According to the statement, these divisions employed about 1400 workers.
“Consultations with the trade union SA Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (Sactwu) on behalf of the respective bargaining units, and individual employees who are not represented by the respective bargaining units, have begun,” Seardel said. The SA textile industry had been under “tremendous pressure for a number of years”.
via Daily Dispatch Online .
– Rail freight firm PKP Cargo’s management board is drafting a voluntary redundancy program that could encompass as many as 4,000-5,000 employees. The estimated cost of the project is zł.220-250 million.
– ADELAIDE southern suburbs components company Visiocorp will cut staff after forecasting a 50 per cent drop in sales.
– FLIGHT Centre managing director Graham Turner says more staff will go at the travel agency, despite predicting the worst of the economic slowdown has passed.
Australia’s largest travel agency has forecast annual profit to fall by more than two-thirds because of a slump in air travel.
– Virgin Mobile USA today announced drastic cuts to its prepaid monthly calling plans, introduced an SMS-only plan, and announced that it will cover the phone costs for its jobless
– The Detroit News reported Friday that the company is planning to hire 250 workers in its wind turbine assembly plant opening later this year in Novi, Michigan.
Mike: I’ll try to post some additional breaking news throughout the weekend. I hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend.