Planned Layoffs Fell to 20 Month Low|
For the third straight month in August, planned layoffs fell to a 20-month low,
even with the uncertain outlook that looms ahead, according to data from
consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. During August, U.S. based
employers said they planned to cut 32,239 jobs, down 37% from a year ago and
down 12.5% from July. This is the fourth time during 2012 that employers
announced fewer job cuts than the same month in 2011. For the year, the job-cut
tally reached 352,185, down 3% from same period in 2011. Leading the downsizing
is the telecommunications sector with plans to shed 4,584 jobs. Of these cuts,
4,000 come from the anticipated cuts resulting from acquisition of Motorola
Mobility by Google (GOOG). Computer firms rank as the year's top job-cutters,
having announced 37,670 job cuts since January 1, 2012. Over the last three
months, fewer job cuts have effectively reversed a trend that saw increased
downsizing through the first half of 2012 although it is too early to determine
whether this will continue, Chief Executive John A. Challenger said. "If
international job-cut activity is any indication, we may see a surge in
downsizing in the final months of 2012 and into 2013," said Mr. Challenger.
While the firm does not officially track downsizing by foreign companies, Mr.
Challenger said it has been hard to miss some of the recent figures coming from
overseas firms, including 10,000 job cuts recently announced by Sony (SNE,
6758.TO). "The U.S. does not exist in a bubble," said Mr. Challenger. "The
ongoing crisis in Europe and weak economies around the globe will undoubtedly
take a toll on the economy."
The international unit for Celgene (CELG) said the biopharmaceutical company's
investigational treatment for psoriatic arthritis met primary efficacy goals in
a long-term Phase 3 study. Celgene expects to file a new drug application for
the apremilast treatment for psoriatic arthritis with the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration in Q1 2013. During the second half of 2013 Celgene plans to apply
for regulatory approval for apremilast to treat psoriatic arthritis and
moderate-to-severe psoriasis in Europe. The study included nearly 1,500 patients
that were given apremilast alone or in combination with other drugs, compared
with a placebo, over 16 weeks with patients in the active treatment arms of the
study maintained improvements through 24 weeks. Amgen said apremilast met the
study's primary goal in a separate study of patients with Behcet's disease which
is a rare inflammatory disease. Celgene is exploring opportunities to seek
regulatory approval to use apremilast for Behcet's disease in a number of
The ADP (ADP) employment report released Thursday showed that private-sector
payrolls rose 201,000 during the month of August, led by small businesses and
the service-providing sector. July data was revised to a gain of 173,000 from
prior estimate of 163,000.
The Labor Department reported Thursday that first-time jobless claims for state
unemployment benefits declined by the largest amount in more than a month, in
the latest week. In the week ending September 1, initial jobless claims fell
12,000 to 365,000. The four-week average of jobless claims moved up slightly by
250 to 371,250. During the previous week, initial jobless claims were revised to
an increase of 3,000 to 377,000 compared with the initial estimate that they
held steady at 374,000.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Thursday attempted to assure U.S.
community banks that the vast majority of provisions in the 2008 financial
crisis response - Dodd-Frank Act - do not apply to them. Responding to concerns
by small banks about the changing regulatory environment, Bernanke said: "I
think it is important to emphasize that the vast majority of the provisions of
the Dodd-Frank Act do not apply to community banks at all." In a new Fed
publication about community banks, Bernanke said prudential standards for larger
banks are not meant to apply to small banks. Bernanke denied that more stringent
requirements for big banks may be intended to apply to small banks at some point
in the future. "This is not our intent" and the Fed Boss said he will "work to
ensure that it does not happen." The Fed has issued guidance to make clear that
stress tests for big banks do not apply to small banks, Bernanke added.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Thursday said the central bank
would launch an "outright monetary transaction" program in the secondary market,
under strict conditionality. The move would allow the ECB to decide when to
start, continue or suspend bond buys. The ECB will not act until a country
applies for the plan. The ECB left unchanged its benchmark interest rate
unchanged at 0.75%, while the Bank of England made no changes to interest rates
or assets purchases. The announcement today is viewed as a crucial moment for
global markets and Europe's financial system.
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Sept 6, 2012