Layoffs begin to replace cutting hours worked

by rdan
The NYT provides charts and article as well. (hat tip reader kuros)

Layoffs have arrived in force, like a wrenching second act in the unfolding crisis. In just the last two weeks, the list of companies announcing their intention to cut workers has read like a Who’s Who of corporate America: Merck, Yahoo, General Electric, Xerox, Pratt & Whitney, Goldman Sachs, Whirlpool, Bank of America, Alcoa, Coca-Cola, the Detroit automakers and nearly all the airlines.

When October’s job losses are announced on Nov. 7, three days after the presidential election, many economists expect the number to exceed 200,000. The current unemployment rate of 6.1 percent is likely to rise, perhaps significantly.

“My view is that it will be near 8 or 8.5 percent by the end of next year,” said Nigel Gault, chief domestic economist at Global Insight, offering a forecast others share. That would be the highest unemployment rate since the deep recession of the early 1980s.

Companies are laying off workers to cut production as consumers, struggling with their own finances, scale back spending. Employers had tried for months to cut expenses through hiring freezes and by cutting back hours. That has turned out not to
be enough, and with earnings down sharply in the third quarter, corporate America has turned to layoffs.

I have noticed that people in various circles I travel still avoid actually talking about economics, as if it is a “math and my checkbook” emotional response or something they find too esoteric. As if what they do is not arcane enough to the rest of the world, or they are insulated so far from the fall out and will wait to see.

They are smart and knowledgeable yet willfully oblivious to possible repercussions except for a sense of worry that is kept vague, or rigidly kept in a political framework of party, “economic school” in the broadest sense of market or not, or personal finance. All political persuasions. I want to emphasize that if I can learn, so can any reader pay enough attention to follow the arguments and the feedback. Politicized talking points in comments get us nowhere … take the next step in comments and follow through to reasoned argument. We will need it.


think voters would like to be serious, but don’t know how. And the media doesn’t provide them with a way to be serious–serving as trusted intermediaries to tell Americans about candidates’ likely policies and their likely effects is the last thing from reporters’ minds. Recall New York Times editor Jill Abramson’s sorry excuse that the Times hadn’t run stories about issues because the reporters competent to cover policy substance were all dragged off to write about the financial crisis.

(Quote from Brad Delong’s post that Ken Houghton links)

Update 2: Then again,Dick Cheney’s sunglass reflection get more hits by a wide margin.