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February 5th, 2009
11:46 AM ET

Financial Dispatch: Unemployment picture worsens

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/30/stimulus.next/art.capitolrotunda.gi.jpg caption="The economic stimulus bill goes to the Senate on Monday, in what's expected to be a tough debate."]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

Not to sound like a broken record, but records keep getting broken.

A staggering 626,000 Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week - a level not seen since October 1982. And the number of people that remained on the unemployment compensation rolls increased to nearly 4.8 million, the most since the government began keeping records in 1967.

We are now bracing for the government's January unemployment report, due out Friday morning. Current estimates are for payroll losses in excess of 500,000 and a jump in the unemployment rate to 7.5%.

Add Estee Lauder and Time Warner Cable to the list of companies cutting jobs.

Estee Lauder says it plans to reduce it headcount by 2,000 employees, or 6% of its workforce, over the next two years. It’s also instituting a company-wide freeze on raises.

Time Warner Cable is laying off 1,250 people, or about 3% of its workforce, over the next few weeks. Time Warner Cable in majority-owned by CNN parent company Time Warner, which reported a fourth quarter loss of $16 billon this week.

The economic stimulus package now in the Senate is designed to create millions of jobs, but it also provides many benefits to those who just can't find work.

CNNMoney.com has the details of provisions that would extend benefits for the unemployed and also provide access to subsidized health insurance.

The Senate unanimously approved on Wednesday a proposal that would give a $15,000 tax break to anyone who buys a house by the end of the year.

The proposal, the latest addition to the still-growing stimulus bill that has reached nearly $900 billion, is seen by supporters as a much-needed shot in the arm for the ailing housing industry. Housing industry leaders immediately cheered its passage.

The Senate also agreed to soften a “Buy American” provision in the stimulus package, clarifying that the clause will not override the United States' existing trade treaties.

The provision would have mandated that only U.S.-made goods be used in projects funded by the bill. Lawmakers who supported the provision said it would help jump-start the economy because it would help American companies.

At the same time, however, lawmakers rejected a proposal by Republican Sen. John McCain to completely strip the “Buy American” language from the bill.

A 162-page document that appears to be a list of thousands of companies, clients and contacts - some of them presumed victims of alleged fraud mastermind Bernard Madoff - has been released by the trustee that is liquidating Madoff's investment company.

The densely typed list includes multinational banks, unions, charitable foundations, Madoff's attorney, Madoff's relatives and possibly celebrities.

Notables on the list include Citigroup, Columbia University, The Elie Wiesel Foundation and Fred Wilpon, the owner of the New York Mets.

Finally, gas prices rose 0.7 cents overnight to $1.907 a gallon. That’s the 8th consecutive increase. 6 states have regular unleaded gas prices of $2 and higher. The highest gas prices are in Alaska ($2.516). 44 states and the District of Columbia have regular unleaded gas prices below $2. The cheapest gas prices are in Wyoming ($1.593).


Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Unemployment
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Ashamed in Arizona

    The Senate should be ashamed of themselves. Especially John McCain, Face it John you lost. While the senate plays on the merry go round people here in AZ, are loosing jobs, homes, and crime is on the rise. The city can't pay the bills and we are also loosing cops.
    I am sick of what I see on c-span you are not representing the people very well, support the president , and quit acting like children."We are not Red states and Blue sates we are the United States" so get United !

    February 6, 2009 at 12:40 am |
  2. Mary Francis Tate

    Has everyone in Washington lost their minds?
    How can they give out money with no strings?

    February 5, 2009 at 10:02 pm |
  3. earle,florida

    Re: CL CNN's Lou Dobbs has a segment on his program everynight referencing "Outsourcing",and the effects of thousands Working Visa's H1B's ,etc. have on the American Worker,...

    February 5, 2009 at 8:57 pm |
  4. Annie Kate

    A 15,000 tax credit for those who buy a house when most cannot get loans even if they have a job and their credit is good – don't guess many people will get that credit. And just buying US goods? I'd be glad to if you could just tell me where to find them. Madoff – seems like he was very democratic about who he defrauded; if his mother is still alive I bet she is on the list too.

    I do agree with the comment about bringing off-shored jobs back to America and just hiring Americans (no one with Visas and certainly no illegals) to do them. Corporations say their cost of doing business is less when the work is offshored but customer satisfaction suffers; Americans are left with no jobs which means they can't buy what the corporation is selling. In the last decade we have been so busy helping big business and other countries we have lost sight of our own folks. Time to come back to earth and focus on where we live and straighten up things here.

    February 5, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  5. rose mccovery

    now here this dup. well bleep it.

    February 5, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  6. CL

    This is a comment I sent to Larry King blogs but want to send it to all CNN shows with the hope that someone will address this urgent problem.

    I do agree with the plan to curb executive pay for bailout recipients and also with non bailout ones.

    A lot of companies will not be given salary increases and/or promotions this year.

    However, it is a puzzle for me that both, Democrats and Republicans hardly ever discussed during the presidential campaign the problem of “OUTSORCING”, “H1Bs” and other working visas.

    Does anyone has really paid attention to how many jobs (most of all IT jobs) have been already lost and will be lost because of “OUTSORCING” and how many people will not get jobs because “H1B” and other working visa holders will get them?

    I respect the Larry King Live and CNN news very much but why has this not been a subject in any specific show? Why is the media not researching more into it? and why is this not being addressed by government?

    I think the media should challenge our new governement in regards to these two subjects as soon as possible since companies will do even more of that to try to lower costs.

    The subject of the show could be “MORE OUTSOURCING = MORE LAYOFFS”

    February 5, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  7. jim Fallbrook CA

    As stated by Terry above companies are downsizing to keep themselves in business. This economy is not as bad as the liberal news media portrays it. The economy was no where near as bad as it was in the Carter Administration 1977-1981. Back then the mortgage rates were 21% unemployment 14% and inflation 18%. I was there and i can say it was as close to a depression as it can get. I realize the liberal news media blames this recession or George W. Bush and has called him the worst president in history. Andrew they are wrong. Carter was the worst president in history. Here is a quote from liberal presidential candidate from 1968 Eugene Mc Carthy. He said " Jimmy Carter quite simply abdicated the whole responsibility of the presidency while in office. He left the nation at the mercy of its enemies at home and abroad. He was quite simply the worst president we ever had". We all know Mc Carthy was a true left wing liberal. When you blame Bush for the recession we are in, think about Carter and say it could be worse. If you still think Carter was a better president than Bush, I wish you could tell me. Then we both can have a good laugh.

    February 5, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  8. Terry

    The companies are down sizing to keep their businesses afloat...probably more in February. Could it be they are doing the responsible thing...it will be tough but America's tough.... I don't believe that the sky is falling and catastrophe is around the corner.

    The President needs to take a chill pill and loose all the media hype...with all the speeches he's given when does he have time to work or even read that a oinker of a bill . This is not a job package.....this is pork, earmarks, campaign promises call it whatever you want.....but if you slap a man's cologne on this pig....it's still a pig...oink...oink.

    February 5, 2009 at 1:09 pm |