Unemployment up 61% from a year ago, jobless claims at record highest level since records have been kept starting in 1967

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — The number of jobless American workers receiving unemployment checks rose to the highest level since the government began keeping records in 1967. A Labor Department spokesman said the number of Americans drawing jobless benefits for a week or longer rose to 4,776,000 in the week ended Jan. 17, the latest data available. The number eclipses the prior mark set in November 1982, when 4,713,000 million Americans drew benefits. Americans who moved to collect their first unemployment checks rose for the third consecutive week, to 588,000, according to a government report released Thursday. The number of Americans filing for unemployment claims has surged by 61% from this time a year ago. The Labor Department said initial filings for state jobless benefits rose by 3,000 for the week ended Jan. 24 from a downwardly revised 585,000 claims filed the prior week. Economists polled by Briefing.com expected the reading to fall to 575,000 claims. Ian Shepherdson, an economist at High Frequency Economics, said that initial claims data are a proxy for the trends in gross firings. Mass firings hit a seven-year high in 2008. “The net result of this is soaring unemployment, and we see no chance of this picture changing in the foreseeable future. We expect net job losses of about three million through the first half of this year,” Shepherdson said. The four-week average of new unemployment claims, used to smooth fluctuations in data, grew by 24,250 to 542,500 from the prior week. A year ago, it was at 333,750. Over the previous four weeks, the number of people on unemployment for one week or more increased by 66,500 to an average of 4.63 million a week, the government said. A year ago, it was at 2.70 million.

U.S. consumer prices fell in November at the fastest rate since 1932, the darkest days of the Great Depression, the Labor Department reported Tuesday

MarketWatch.com reported the following today:

“U.S. consumer prices fell in November at the fastest rate since 1932, the darkest days of the Great Depression, the Labor Department reported Tuesday, as prices for energy, commodities and airline fares plunged across the country.

The U.S. consumer price index fell by a seasonally adjusted 1.7%, the department reported, the biggest drop since the government began adjusting the CPI for seasonal factors in 1947.
But on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the CPI fell by 1.9%, the biggest decline since January 1932, at the nadir of the Great Depression. Read MarketWatch First Take commentary.
“This is scary stuff,” said Mike Schenk, an economist for Credit Union National Association. “We are teetering on the brink of a massive downward spiral. Deflation is a threat.”
The seasonally adjusted core CPI was flat in November. Read the report.
Economists surveyed by MarketWatch were expecting the CPI to fall by 1.4%. They forecast that the core CPI would rise by 0.1%. See Economic Calendar.
Energy prices declined by a seasonally adjusted 17%, the most since February 1957. Gasoline prices plunged by 29.5% in November, the most since the government began keeping records in February 1967. Fuel oil prices dropped by 7.2%. Commodities prices declined by 4.1% in November.
The CPI data is one of the last pieces of the economic puzzle that the Federal Reserve will have to mull before its announcement about interest rates later Tuesday. The policy-making Federal Open Market Committee is almost universally expected to cut its target for overnight interest rates to 0.5% from 1%….”

Bank of America to cut 30-35,000 jobs, Citigroup to cut 52,000 jobs.

Bloomberg reported this on Thursday, here is an excerpt:

“Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) — Bank of America Corp., the third- largest U.S. bank, said it plans to cut 30,000 to 35,000 positions over the next three years because of its acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co. and the weak economic environment.

The final number of job cuts won’t be decided until early next year, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank said in a statement today. The companies together employ 307,000 people, including about 60,000 at New York-based Merrill Lynch. Bank of America spokesman Scott Silvestri said the “vast majority” of job cuts will come next year.

All lines of businesses and staff units will be affected, and “as many reductions as possible” will be made through attrition, Bank of America said. The companies have already begun dismissing equity analysts, according to a person briefed on the changes.

“They are saying that even though we’ve got the best efficiency of any large bank holding company, we still have extra costs,” said Christopher Whalen, managing director of Institutional Risk Analytics, a market-research firm. “They still have to throw more stuff out of the boat because they have to stay afloat.”

Bank of America is the latest firm to announce a workforce reduction amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Citigroup Inc. is planning to eliminate 52,000 jobs in the next year….”

Citigroup CEO announces bank will eliminate 52,000 jobs over the next year.

Nov. 17 (Originally published by Bloomberg) (Read whole article, click here)Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit said the bank will eliminate 52,000 jobs over the next year, twice the target announced last month, as loan losses surge and the economy shrinks.

The reductions, disclosed at a meeting with employees in New York, include 9,100 positions the bank began eliminating in October and about 16,900 announced today. Citigroup will shed a further 26,000 positions through asset sales, 7,900 more than in the previous plan. The total represents 15 percent of Citigroup’s workforce of about 352,000.

Pandit, 51, is accelerating cost cuts after the bank’s stock price plunged 19 percent last week amid concern a global recession will curb new lending just as more home and credit- card loans are becoming delinquent. With bad-loan costs running $4 billion above last year’s levels, profits remain elusive following four straight quarterly losses.

“G 20″ World Leaders meet in Washington D.C. to discuss global response to worst worldwide financial crisis in over 70 years.

The following is an excerpt from an article found here at Reuters today:

By David Lawder and Emmanuel Jarry

“WASHINGTON (Reuters) – World leaders pledged rapid action on Saturday to rescue a weakening global economy from the worst financial crisis in over 70 years and agreed to give emerging nations more say in running financial affairs.

The Group of 20 leaders from major industrialized and developing countries set out plans to toughen oversight for major global banks, study limits on banker pay and try for a breakthrough by year end in global trade talks — all part of a roadmap to rebuild a financial system crippled by the credit crisis.

“We must lay the foundation for reform to help ensure that a global crisis such as this one does not happen again,” they said in a statement after their first-ever summit.

They vowed to make progress before a second summit by the end of April.”

The New York Times reported on the global financial emergency “G20″ summit, here.

Sun Microsystems CFO says company will cut 1500 to 2500 US jobs this quarter.

“Sun Chief Financial Officer Mike Lehman [also] said the company will cut 1,500 to 2,500 jobs. The company had 34,400 employees at the end of the quarter.”……”The U.S. economy presented Sun with significant challenges in the third quarter, masking our progress in developing nations and economies across the world,” said Chief Executive Jonathan Schwartz in a statement.

Sun reported a net loss of $34 million, or 4 cents per share, a decline from net income of $67 million in the year-earlier quarter; the figure includes charges of about 4 cents per share from the acquisition of open-source database company MySQL. Revenue decreased $17 million to $3.266 billion, a notch below the $3.4 billion expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

In after-hours trading, Sun’s stock dropped $2.48, or 15 percent, to $13.85.”

DHL shipping company to cut 9,500 U.S. jobs, focus ‘entirely on international offerings.’

DHL to Cut 9,500 U.S. Jobs

DHL said it would significantly reduce its air and ground operations in the United States and cut 9,500 jobs within the country. It said it would discontinue U.S. domestic-only air and ground products on Jan. 30 to focus entirely on its international offerings. The decision could greatly scale back a possible venture between Deutsche Post‘s DHL and UPS….” (click here to read article).

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