Fri Mar 6, 7:20 am ET Cost-cutting employers are resorting to even bigger layoffs as they scramble to survive the recession, feeding insecurities among those who still have jobs and those who desperately want them.
The Labor Department on Friday is slated to release a report expected to show that February was an especially cruel month for America's workers.
Employers likely slashed a net total of 648,000 jobs last month, according to economists' forecasts. If they are right, it would mark the worst month of job losses since the recession started in December 2007. It also would represent the single biggest month of job reductions since October 1949, when the country was just pulling out of a painful recession, although the labor force has grown significantly since then.
"The pace of layoffs is fast and furious," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group. "We're still in the teeth of this recession and the bite has not let up at all."
With employers slashing payrolls, the nation's unemployment rate is expected to jump to 7.9 percent, from 7.6 percent in January. If that happens, it would mark the highest jobless rate since reaching 8 percent in January 1984, a time when the unemployment rate was still slowly moving down after having topped 10 percent during the early 1980s recession.
Employers are shrinking their work forces at alarming clip and are turning to other ways to slash costs — including trimming workers' hours, freezing wages or cutting pay — because the recession has eaten into their sales and profits. Customers at home and abroad are cutting back as other countries cope with their own economic problems.
A new wave of layoffs hit this week.
General Dynamics Corp. said Thursday it will lay off 1,200 workers due partly to plummeting sales of business and personal jets that forced it to cut production. Defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp., and Tyco Electronics Ltd., which makes electronic components, undersea telecommunications systems and wireless equipment, also are trimming payrolls.
"This is basically cleaning house for a lot of firms," said John Silvia, chief economist at Wachovia. "They are using the first quarter to cut back employment and figure out what they want."
Disappearing jobs and evaporating wealth from tanking home values, 401(k)s and other investments have forced consumers to retrench, driving companies to lay off workers. It's a vicious cycle in which all the economy's negative problems feed on each other, worsening the downward spiral.
"The economy is in a tailspin. Businesses are jettisoning jobs at an unprecedented pace," said Richard Yamarone, economist at Argus Research.
Some 3.6 million jobs have disappeared so far in a deepening recession, which is shaping up as the biggest job killer in the post-World War II period.
The country is getting bloodied by fallout from the housing, credit and financial crises_ the worst since the 1930s. And there's no easy fix for a quick turnaround, economists said.
President Barack Obama is counting on a multipronged assault to lift the country out of recession: a $787 billion stimulus package of increased federal spending and tax cuts; a revamped, multibillion-dollar bailout program for the nation's troubled banks; and a $75 billion effort to stem home foreclosures.
The govt only sees the big boys at the top! They ignore the people.
Wow ! rewards for abuse of credit default swaps, rewards for selfishly pocketing short term profit on loose loans,rewards for blatant abuse of funds (via stock options, perks,lavish lifestyles at resorts,rewards for hiding these facts from their shareholders,falsifying statements while scavaging everything that's not bolted down, rewards for blatant embezzlement. The American dream is going into their pockets. The select few parasites indulging in extravagant lifestyles & are exempt from all laws, are pulling of the royal scam!!! We the people should have taken corporate funding out of campaigns long ago. Eliminate all lobbyists, both in Washington & the market. Put the Glass - Stegal act back in place . The Glass Stegal act was a law put in effect in 1933 to limit commercial bankers from converting to "wallstreet" investment bankers. This act was pulled out in 1999. We have a bunch of " loose cannons" running around spending trillions of our dollars in a bucket with all the same holes in it. The upper eschelon is no longer held accountable in courts of law. This is madness! The rate of spending is madnesss!!! We are talking 12 0's There won't be an America left. These are the same vulture who are shoving Nafta free trade, Outsourcing & ignoring the borders & the laws that govern workers down your throats. What they have accomplished is " Screw the American Worker." " We want higher profit margins at the top" It's a " Rich Buddy Fail Safe System" now. Only money runs , only money wins. The United States has been hijacked by a 2 party dictatorship, comprised of the top 2% of the wealthiest people in the country. What I'm witnessing is Treason !!! Feeding your fat pig buddies faces & gathering like rats looking for crumbs during this bailout fiasco is madness!! Both parties saw this as an opportunity to shovel in the fat. If these "aglutonous pigs" want to save their precious market they ibetter enforce some laws. There's no reg - show enforcement. people are allowed to short to infinity. Naked shorting is common place. Fail to delivers are not even reported. Nobody knows how many outstanding shares are in their stocks anymore. There's numerous yahoo finance bulletin board scams. Nobody is ever held accountable in courts of law. You are basically scaring off your retail investors. Who will you steal from now? yourselves? We the people have rules, laws & morals guidlines to follow, why are these elitists all exempt??????? I have lost all faith in this government, it's now rotten to the core. I'm so p'o'd !! What scares me is it may be too late. They are stealing at a whole new level now. A level never heard of in the history of man. Wsahington has to stop the big spend. Take all the gloden parachutes back before we storm the place! Do not spend any more money till you put some rules into place. These parasites in these companies the boards of directors, the cfo's & the ceo's have become blood suckers & they are milking the American out of the American dream. It's progressively getting worse . Not better. We started out borrowing 500 Billion from communist China, now I'm afraid to look. America is being looted & pillaged by a handfull of greedy pigs. Lynch them! I'm not kifdding! Where's right & wrong, morals,integrity??? where?%