Filed under: Layoffs

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New jobless claims at lowest level in 2.5 years

New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week to touch their lowest level in more than 2-1/2 years, the Labor Department said. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 368,000, the lowest since May 2008. Get the full story »

Planned layoffs at highest level in 11 months

The number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms rose in February to its highest level in 11 months as government and non-profit employers let workers go, a report showed Wednesday. Get the full story »

Bank of Montreal says it cut 491 jobs since last fall

Employment in BMO Financial’s U.S. personal and commercial banking operations, which consists mainly of Harris Bank, fell to 3,965 in the first quarter, down from 4,456 jobs in the fourth quarter.

The Canadian bank released its first-quarter financial results on Tuesday. In an afternoon conference call with Wall Street, an analyst asked BMO about the cutting of 491 jobs, or 11 percent of its personal and commercial banking operations in the United States. Get the full story »

Sun Trading cuts 40, exits options business

Chicago-based Sun Trading LLC this week cut its workforce by nearly one-third and wound down its options-trading arm amid tough conditions in the sector.

About 40 staff were laid off this week and the proprietary trading firm will no longer function as a registered market-maker on major U.S. stock-options markets like the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the International Securities Exchange. Get the full story »

Weekly jobless claims tick back above 400,000

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits edged up last week, the government said Thursday. There were 410,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended Feb. 12, according to the Labor Department. Get the full story »

Cook County cutting nurses at 2 hospitals

Cook County is cutting 138 nursing jobs at two hospitals in a process that began today. Nurses union leader Leslie Curtis says nurses are calling it the “Valentine’s Day massacre.”

Cook County Health and Hospitals System spokesman Lucio Guerrero says the jobs are being eliminated at Oak Forest Hospital in the south suburbs and Provident Hospital on the city’s South Side.

Signs point to better raises this year

U.S. workers have reason to hope for slightly better pay raises this year, a shift that could add momentum to the economic recovery.

This could mean average wage gains of as much as 3 percent in 2011, compared with 1.7 percent in 2010–enough to boost consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the economy, but not so much that it would stoke concerns of an inflationary spiral. Get the full story »

Motorola Solutions lays off 175 from WiMax unit

Motorola Solutions has laid off 175 employees in its networks business, which is slated to be sold to Nokia Siemens Networks in a $1.2 billion deal.

Motorola Solutions spokeswoman Tama McWhinney said the cuts took place in January and affected workers in Arlington Heights, as well as Fort Worth, Texas, and Tempe, Ariz. The company maintains a presence in all three cities. Get the full story »

Weekly jobless claims drop more than expected

The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in more than 2-1/2 years last week, easing some of the disappointment about a weak monthly jobs report.

There were 383,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended Feb. 5, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was down 36,000 from the week before, and much better than the 410,000 claims economists surveyed by had expected. Get the full story »

Latest data show continued recovery in jobs

U.S. job openings slipped in December, a government report showed Tuesday, but a decline in layoffs supported views of a gradual labor market recovery.

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, eased 139,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.1 million, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. Get the full story »

Kmart, 6 others warn of Illinois layoffs

Kmart is among seven companies that have warned the state this month that they are planning closings or mass layoffs. Kmarts in Franklin Park, Ill., and Washington, Ill., will close, the company said, putting 144 employees out of work.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Opportunity requires employers to provide 60 days notice of plant closures or mass layoffs. The law applies to businesses with 75 or more full-time workers. Get the full story »

Fewer layoffs, even with high unemployment

The U.S. labor force has been split into two groups: the relieved and the desperate. Those who have a job are less likely to lose it than at any point in at least 14 years.

Those who are unemployed are in trouble. Finding a job remains a struggle 20 months after the recession technically ended. Employers won’t likely step up hiring until they feel more confident about the economy. Get the full story »

U.S. unemployment rate drops to 9%

The U.S. economy added a paltry 36,000 jobs in January, the government said Friday. Bad weather likely contributed to the weaker-than-expected hiring, but the report also suggests that many employers remain reluctant to hire despite a strengthening economic recovery.

Even so, the nation’s unemployment rate fell dramatically for the second month in a row. It dropped to 9 percent in January, from 9.4 percent in December and 9.8% in November. Get the full story »

Fast growth in service sector hints at more hiring

The U.S. service sector, which employs nearly 90 percent of America’s work force, grew in January at the fastest pace in five years. The report capped a string of data Thursday that pointed to an expanding economy and stronger hiring. Get the full story »

Weekly jobless claims plunge to 42,000

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits plunged last week, following a week where bad weather contributed to a spike in applications.

The Labor Department says the number of people seeking benefits dropped by 42,000 to a seasonally adjusted 415,000 in the week ending Jan. 29. Applications had surged in the previous week after snow storms in the South disrupted work and led to temporary layoffs. Get the full story »