Trading Places

Inside views on the jobs market

Uncle Sam needs you! More than 270,000 of you

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Out-of-work Americans pining for a bright spot amid the still-bleak unemployment landscape should welcome news that the federal government is in need of new recruits. A lot of them.

The feds need to hire close to 273,000 people over the next three years to fill so-called “mission-critical” jobs across the U.S. and abroad, in part because more federal workers are inching closer to retirement age, a new survey of 35 federal agencies by think-tank Partnership for Public Service shows.

Perhaps not surprisingly, agencies in the public health and medical fields are in need of the most new bodies. A total of 54,114 people are in demand to fill positions in areas ranging from radiology to consumer safety, according to the study.

Job seekers should also look to the security, law enforcement, legal and administrative fields, all of which are projected to boom over the next few years.

Desperate times, desperate career measures

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It’s no secret that the economic downturn is having an impact on the careers of millions of Americans.  Just ask Matthew Derra (pictured here), who found himself pursuing a degree in renewable energy after his job at American Axle disappeared.

As the U.S. braces for yet another monthly dismal jobs report, thousands more will be faced with one big question: what now?

Unemployment jumps, but is the economy finding its floor?

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Markets might have rallied on relief that the jobs data this morning wasn’t worse than expected, but there’s no getting away from the fact that an 8.5 percent unemployment rate is an ugly number. The March jobs figures showed U.S. employers slashed 663,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate was the highest since 1983. Here is some reaction from the market:

ROBERT MACINTOSH, CHIEF ECONOMIST, EATON VANCE CORP, BOSTON:
“It’s telling you we’re in a deep recession and it’s still going to be a while to get out of it, especially on the employment side of things. But you have to keep in mind that this is a lagging indicator, we’re going to get bad employment numbers, along with the employment rate, even if the economy is starting to turn.”

IBM cutting jobs … quietly

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There’s been no official announcement but our sources tell us that IBM will cut about 5,000 jobs in the United States. The move adds similarly large cuts in the past few months, the sources said. The job cuts will account for over 4 percent of IBM’s U.S. workforce and will mostly be in IBM’s global services business, which includes outsourcing and consulting services.

An IBM spokesman declined to comment but readers close to the story are welcome to do so below.

HSBC’s local knowledge: not so good in U.S.?

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HSBC, whose advertisements play on how one image can have different meanings in different cultures, appears to have settled on a single view of the U.S. consumer: you’re not worth the risk. The global bank, whose billboards proclaim the importance of local knowledge, said it would shut most of its U.S. consumer lending business with the loss of 6,100 jobs.

“With the benefit of hindsight, this is an acquisition we wish we had not undertaken,” HSBC Chairman Stephen Green said of its 2003 acquisition of Household, which was renamed HSBC Finance.

GM to cut 10,000 salaried jobs

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General Motors employees hold signs and chant before a vehicle reveal during press days at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 11, 2009. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

The pain in the auto industry keeps getting worse. General Motors has just announced that it will cut its global salaried workforce to about 63,000 from 73,000 this year. The remainder of its salaried staff face pay cuts.

In the United States, approximately 3,400 of GM’s 29,500 salaried employees will be cut. The temporary pay cut for most U.S. salaried employees runs May 1 through the end of the year. Executive employees will have their base pay cut by 10 percent, with others seeing cuts of 3 percent to 7 percent.

Fresh job cuts at UBS, but new hires also

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UBS, the biggest banker to the rich, announced a second round of job cuts after posting the biggest annual loss in Swiss history. The cuts to investment banking jobs come on top of 7,500 jobs that the bank has already axed as a result of the economic crisis.

It’s not all bad news, however. UBS hired nearly 400 financial advisers in the United States in the last quarter and sources have told Reuters it is aggressively poaching advisers from rivals including Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney.

Ford job cuts spread

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Ford UK is to cut around 850 jobs by May and review its previously agreed pay offer as it grapples with the economic impact hitting the car industry, the company said on Thursday.

The news comes a week after the automaker said it was cutting some 2,500 white-collar jobs and 1,200 jobs at Ford Motor Credit. If you’re a Ford employee, tell us how the cuts are affecting you.

Cisco disconnects up to 2,000 jobs

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Cisco CEO John Chambers has said he wants to avoid layoffs on the scale seen when the tech bubble burst in 2001, but that will be scant consolation to employees hit by Wednesday’s news that the network equipment maker is cutting up to 2,000 jobs. In our report, Chambers did not rule out the possibility of a major layoff, which he defined as a cut of 10 percent or more workers.

If you work at Cisco, which ended 2008 with 67,318 employees, tells us how people are reacting to yesterday’s announcement. Where will the cuts impact and how is the company helping those affected?

Panasonic: ideas for life, but not jobs

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Panasonic

Panasonic, the world’s No.1 plasma TV maker, is cutting about 15,000 jobs as it grapples with a stronger yen and slowing demand. Half the cuts will be in Japan and half overseas, our report explains. If you work for Panasonic, tell us what’s happening in your office or factory. Have you been told how the cuts will impact you? How do the severance terms where you work compare with other units of Panasonic?

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