September 30th, 2009
12:14 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Private sector still losing jobs

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Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

The first of this week’s big employment reports is out and the numbers are a bit of a disappointment.

Payroll-processing firm ADP says private-sector employers cut 254,000 jobs in September, down from a revised 277,000 in August. But that is the smallest monthly total since July 2008, even though it’s worse than the 200,000 loss economists had forecast.

Large businesses, those with 500 or more workers, let 61,000 workers go in September. Medium-sized businesses, with between 50 and 499 workers, shed 93,000 jobs. And small businesses, those with less than 50 workers, reduced payrolls by 100,000.

Small businesses held will continue to shed more workers than larger and medium-sized firms, ADP said. That's because large businesses started shrinking payrolls earlier and therefore will recover sooner.

The report is seen as a precursor to Friday's closely-watched monthly jobs report from the Labor Dept.

That report is expected to show that the economy shed 180,000 jobs in September, down from the 216,000 reported for August. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is predicted to rise to 9.8% from 9.7%.

Fewer metro areas suffer 10% unemployment

Separately, the number of metropolitan areas in the U.S. with jobless rates above 10% decreased in August, according to the latest government figures.

The Labor Dept. says 129 metropolitan areas suffered unemployment rates of at least 10% last month. That was down from 139 metro areas in July.

And the number of urban centers with unemployment rates above 15% fell to 16 from 19 the month before.

El Centro, Calif., had the highest unemployment rate of any metro area at 28.7%. But that was down from 30.5% in July.

The second highest rate was in Yuma, Ariz., where unemployment toped 26.1% in August. Both El Centro and Yuma are urban centers near agricultural areas that experience extreme heat, which impacts the workforce there, the Labor Department said.

Among the metro areas with rates above 15%, seven were in California and four were in Michigan.

Economic growth improves

Gross domestic product - The broadest measure of the nation's economy - declined in the April-June period, but not by as much as previously reported.

The government said its final reading of GDP shrank at a 0.7% annual rate, better than the 1% rate reported last month because business spending in the quarter wasn't as weak as initially thought.

That’s also better than the 1.2% economists were expecting - and is a vast improvement from the first quarter's 6.4% decline.

YouTube credit card rant gets results

Ann Minch, a disgruntled Bank of America customer, says the bank “jacked up” the interest rate on her credit card to 30%.

So she did what any other angry consumer would do in the information age: She posted a video on Youtube.com ranting about the increase and calling Bank of America, “evil, thieving bastards.”

Her rant went viral, and Minch says the bank scaled her rate back to its original 12.99%.

The video, titled "Debtor's Revolt Begins Now!," has been streamed nearly 400,000 times and earned a five-star user rating since it was posted earlier this month.

Toyota recall: 3.8 million cars with risky floor mats

Toyota has issued a safety recall for 3.8 million Lexus and Toyota cars because of potentially deadly floor mats.

In statements released Tuesday, the world's largest automaker and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warned drivers to remove the mats or risk a forced-down accelerator pedal that could lead to a fatal crash.

The seven models being recalled could potentially have removable mats that would interfere with the pedal and cause it to stick.

The Toyota models being recalled include the 2007-2010 Camry, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2004-2009 Prius, 2005-2010 Tacoma and 2007-2010 Tundra. The Lexus models facing the safety recall are the 2007-2010 ES 350, and the 2006-2010 IS 250 and IS 350.

Ask the “Oracle”

If you could ask the world’s most famous investor anything, what would it be?

A few weeks ago, Fortune asked CNN’s viewers and Web users to submit their “Ask Warren Buffett” questions to CNNMoney.com.

So what did people want to know? Is China the next bubble? Should the Fed raise interest rates? And does the “Oracle of Omaha” ever get tired of answering all these questions?

Click here for his answers.

Follow the money… on Twitter: @AndrewTorganCNN

Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Unemployment
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