50,000 More Lucky Duckies
Somehow, the Dow is up today on news of corporate mergers being financed with bank lending, with investors hoping for an end to the credit crunch. That's comforting for Wall Streeters, but outside the fantasy economy, thousands of layoffs punctuated the deepening recession.
It's already been a lousy year for workers less than a month into 2009 and there's no relief in sight. Tens of thousands of fresh layoffs were announced Monday and more companies are expected to cut payrolls in the months ahead.
A new survey by the National Association for Business Economics depicts the worst business conditions in the U.S. since the report's inception in 1982.
Thousands more jobs cuts were announced Monday. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc., which is buying rival drugmaker Wyeth in a $68 billion deal, and Sprint Nextel Corp., the country's third-largest wireless provider, said they each will slash 8,000 jobs. Home Depot Inc., the biggest home improvement retailer in the U.S., will get rid of 7,000 jobs, and General Motors Corp. said it will cut 2,000 jobs at plants in Michigan and Ohio due to slow sales.
Caterpillar Inc., the world's largest maker of mining and construction equipment, announced 5,000 new layoffs on top of several earlier actions. The latest cuts of support and management employees will be made globally by the end of March. An additional 2,500 workers already have accepted buyout offers, and ties have been severed with about 8,000 contract workers worldwide. In addition, about 4,000 full-time factory workers already have been let go.
Just last week, Microsoft Corp. said it will slash up to 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months. Intel Corp. said it will cut up to 6,000 manufacturing jobs and United Airlines parent UAL Corp. said it would get rid of 1,000 jobs, on top of 1,500 axed late last year.
Home Depot is eliminating jobs by closing their Expo stores. I was just in one of those over the weekend. Everyone working in that store is going to be out of a job before long.
All these people idling with no tangible help could get as ugly as the global financial unrest we're seeing in places like Latvia and Iceland. This is why it's so important to get that stimulus package signed into law as soon as possible. The American economy cannot run with all this record job loss - it's too dependent on consumer spending. We will spiral into depression.