U.S. Economic/Financial News
Three More Banks Fail To Close Out January
Feb. 1 (EIRNS)Just making the deadline to be included in January 2009 statistics, on Jan. 31, Ocala National Bank in Florida and Suburban Federal Savings Bank of Maryland, were shut down by Federal regulators, and Magnet Bank of Utah was seized by that state's Department of Financial Institutions. Bloomberg reports that this brings the January bank bankruptcy total to six. There were 25 banks that failed in all of 2008.
Nurses: Medicare for All as Economic Stimulus
Feb. 2 (EIRNS)A study released by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee Jan. 28 says that extending Medicare to everyone in a single-payer health-insurance system would create 2.6 million new jobs, infuse $317 billion in new business and public revenues, and another $100 billion in wages into the U.S. economy (see calnurses.org for the full study).
Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) on Jan. 26 reintroduced his H.R. 676, which would establish a Medicare For All system. In the 110th Congress it gained 90 co-sponsors. So far in the 111th, it has 33.
GM Offers New Buy-Outs To Cut Workforce, Reduce Wages
Feb. 3 (EIRNS)General Motors and Chrysler announced details this week of their newest rounds of job buy-out offers. The two companies are under a government deadline of Feb. 17, to show plans for long-term "viability," meaning cutting their remaining workforce.
GM is trying to buy out high-wage earners, senior workers, so they can be replaced by new hires at half or less of the cost. Workers have until March 24 to decide; the buy-outs are to be completed by April 1. While the immediate target is the 22,000 "retirement eligible" workforce (about 30%), and the hourly UAW workers, the offer has been extended to salaried staff as well. About 22,000 of GM's 62,000 remaining workers are eligible to retire. The current offers are a cash bonus of $20,000 along with a $25,000 voucher for a new GM auto. This is below level of the previous rounds of GM job buy-out deals.
Chrysler workers are being offered $50,000 for retirement eligible staff; others could be offered as much as $75,000, along with the a car voucher.
U.S., Canadian Unemployment Sets New Records
Feb. 6 (EIRNS)The United States lost over half a million jobs for the third straight month in January, for the first time since such records began to be kept in 1939. The January figure released by the Labor Department was 598,000, the largest monthly loss since 1974, raising the unemployment rate from 7.2% to 7.6%. About one-third of the losses were in manufacturing, at 207,000, the most since 1982.
Canada posted the worst monthly job loss figures ever in January, at 129,000, raising unemployment by 0.6% to 7.2%.
State Unemployment Trust Coffers Are Empty
Feb. 6 (EIRNS)Seven states have already exhausted their state unemployment funds, and another 11 are close behind, according to a report issued by the National Conference of State Legislatures, on "The Crisis in State Unemployment Trust Funds." States have already borrowed $2.3 billion from the Federal government to meet their unemployment requirements. New York has borrowed $330 million.