January 6th, 2010
01:54 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: New year… same old issues

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/LIVING/11/04/job.search.tips.cb/story.jpg width=300 height=169]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

The jobs picture is at least a little brighter today as two reports say the pace of job losses eased in December.

Payroll-processor ADP said private-sector employers cut 84,000 jobs last month, the fewest since March 2008. It was the ninth straight month that job losses narrowed from the previous month.

In a separate report, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said that 45,094 job cuts were announced in December, 10% less than November's 50,349 cuts. It was the lowest total since December 2007, when 44,416 cuts were announced.

All this comes ahead of Friday’s official employment report for December from the Labor Dept. Estimates there are all over the map, and experts are forecasting everything from a loss of 25,000 jobs, to our first job gains since December of 2007.

From job losses to billion-dollar government bailouts…

GMAC, the troubled finance company that just last week received its third government bailout, said Tuesday it expects to post a record fourth-quarter loss of $5 billion.

The company also said it has decided to try to sell its ResCap mortgage unit, which has lost billions of dollars since the housing market crashed. Those losses have strained the already stretched finances at GMAC, which is best known as a lender to the troubled U.S. auto industry.

GMAC got $7.5 billion from the government at the end of 2008 and $6 billion in the middle of last year as regulators sought to shore up the sagging auto financing market.

And we learned yesterday that the auto industry ended its worst year in memory with one of its best sales months of the year.

Overall industrywide sales soared 15% in December compared to a year ago, the biggest percentage gain since July 2005. Total sales topped the 1 million mark for only the second time this year, trailing only August. Sales spiked that month thanks to the federal government's “Cash for Clunkers” rebate program.

Most of the automakers posted better than expected results as five of the seven largest automakers reported increases of 18% or more from a year earlier.

But the boom in December wasn't enough to lift the industry out of its year-long slump. Full-year sales fell 21% from 2008 to 10.4 million, a 27-year low.

Finally, CNNMoney.com has a story that explains why your cable bill is going up this year… and next year… and the year after that - with no end in sight.

The average digital cable customer already pays almost $75 a month, according to research firm Centris, and many subscribers pay more than $100.

Cable customers see an average annual price hike of 5%, analysts say - which means that in five years they'll be shelling out more than $95 a month for TV.

Follow the money… on Twitter: @AndrewTorganCNN

Filed under: Andrew Torgan • auto bailout • Economy • Finance • Wall St.
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. J.V.Hodgson

    When inflation is low and deflation a risk How come Cable TV operators need a 5 % p.a increase for 3 years??
    As for GMac additional cash an essential part of the Auto industry recovery plan longer term.
    Job losses look on the down trend but no signs of increases. So Obam needs to get into two things and put climate change on the back burner:-
    1) Recovery package get that money moving, and adding Jobs.
    2) Get serious on Financial regulation, its the only way to bring Independents back into the fold.
    3) Take a leaf from Clinton,its the economy stupid.
    The Xmas bomber fiasco is the GOP's dream Obama needs to move on, no one really believes their rantings.
    On health care Obama will take a giant leap if he insists on Liability caps, import medications with a fast track review board on safety at the FDA
    allowing State insurers to compete nationally in the exchanges and threatening to Veto the Bill if the Nebraska pork comes in the bill to his desk. That from the Nebraska senator is totally egregious and selfish and not a national vote on needed national legislation. But unfortunately Pelosi is right shut everyone up on the abortion issue, it should not be necessary but do it!!
    Dont like the closed door meetings but the rRepublicans have only themselves to blame with thier totally destructive approach to anything.

    January 7, 2010 at 1:18 am |
  2. David, Indiana

    Is there anything to financial reporting at all. I was hooked into paying attention to the dow jones but as far as I can tell financial reporters have no idea what makes it go up and down.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:15 pm |