December 2nd, 2009
04:39 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Layoffs appear to be slowing

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/LIVING/wayoflife/10/08/aa.car.title.loans/art.car.title.loans.jpg caption="17 million Americans have no bank account whatsoever."]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

The pace of job losses appears to have slowed in November - at least according to two reports out this morning.

Payroll-processing firm ADP said private-sector employers cut 169,000 jobs in November. It was the eighth month in a row that the number of job cuts fell from the month before. The number of cuts in October was revised down to 195,000 from the previously reported 203,000.

A separate report shows the pace of announced job cuts has slowed to the lowest level in two years, but the number of cuts announced in 2009 have already exceeded last year's total. Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported that 50,349 job cuts were announced in November, 9.6% less than in October. It was the lowest total since December 2007, when 44,416 layoffs were announced.

We’ll get the Labor Dept.’s highly-anticipated monthly jobs report on Friday. That reports is expected to show that the economy shed 120,000 jobs in November.

So where’s the worst place to live if you need a job? If you thought Detroit, like I did, you’d be wrong.

No, it’s El Centro, CA, which held its position of having the highest unemployment rate among the nation's metropolitan areas, with a jobless rate of 30% in October.

And while the figure fell from a revised 32.2% in September, it climbed from 26.8% a year ago… and is fairly mind-boggling even against the nation's current 10.2% unemployment rate.

Along those lines, the Federal Reserve today released the minutes of its Nov. 3 and 4 meeting, during which policymakers raised their estimates for economic growth next year and forecast lower unemployment ahead - although they expect the jobless rate will stay uncomfortably high for at least the next three years.

The Fed's forecast shows the central bank expects GDP, the broadest measure of the nation's economic activity, to grow between 2.5% to 3.5% in 2010. That's a bit more bullish than the 2.1% to 3.3% growth it had forecast for the period back in June.

The unemployment rate, which hit 10.2% in October, is expected to improve to between 9.3% to 9.7% for all of 2010. The Fed's June forecast was for 2010 unemployment between 9.5% to 9.8%.

But the central bank's forecasts don't show the labor market getting whole a lot better in the next few years. Its 2011 forecast is for unemployment between 8.2% to 8.6%, while 2012 unemployment is expected to be between 6.8% to 7.5%, still above the average 6% annual unemployment rate recorded by the Labor Department over the last 30 years.

Speaking of the Fed, Chairman Ben Bernanke will appear before the Senate Banking Committee for his confirmation hearing Thursday. And despite being the guy that some economists give much of the credit for averting a second Great Depression, his trip to Capitol Hill will be anything but a victory lap.

He's as likely to be blasted for what's still wrong with the economy - and mistakes that were made during the rescue – then he is to be thanked by mostly angry senators.

CNNMoney.com has a quick rundown of what experts see as the biggest worries dogging the man with the job of keeping the economy on track.

Finally, we learned today that some 17 million Americans have no bank account whatsoever.

No checking account, no savings account - nothing.

That’s nearly 8% of all U.S. households, according to a survey from the FDIC.

Another key finding of the survey was that many Americans that do have traditional bank accounts still look beyond their own bank to conduct simple financial transactions. In fact, nearly 18% of all U.S. households have relied on payday lenders, pawn shops or check-cashing outlets at least once in the past five years.

Follow the money… on Twitter: @AndrewTorganCNN

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