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The Biz Roundup February 4

Half a million jobs lost, quarter million layoffs.

Private-sector jobs fell 522,000 in the U.S. in January as the economic crisis extended into a broader swathe of the economy, according to a revamped national employment report published Wednesday by payroll giant Automatic Data Processing Inc. and consultancy Macroeconomic Advisers.

(“ADP Report Says Private Sector Shed 522,000 Jobs in January,” Wall Street Journal, February 4) Challenger, Gray, and Christmas, however, puts the January layoff totals at 241, 749, so the other half are comes from not rehiring into positions vacated employees or businesses failing outright (which don’t get reflected in layoff numbers).

Barack Obama brings a pillow to a knife fight.

Companies that need special assistance from the government to survive would face mandatory restrictions on compensation for their senior executives: no more than $500,000 in salary and no additional compensation other than shares of the company’s stock that can only be redeemed after the government investment is repaid. . . .

Furthermore, the new limits would be voluntary for most recipients of fresh government aid. Companies could waive the restrictions by disclosing executive compensation publicly and, if requested, allow a shareholder resolution on the matter, though the results would not be binding.

(“Bailout Includes Executive Pay Limits for Some Firms,” Washington Post, February 4) So it’s all voluntary and any shareholder resolution is non-binding. That’s showing them, Mr. Obama! This regulation is kind of like those FBI warnings on your DVD warning of all sorts of dire consequences if you should copy the DVD. “OOOO! I’m scared,” as the video pirate says in Amazon Women on the Moon.

“Panisonic” becomes “Panic, son.”

Japan’s biggest consumer electronics maker announced plans to close 27 plants—more than half of them overseas—and to lay off about 15,000 employees, or about 5% of its global workforce of 300,000.

(“Huge Recession-Fighting Cuts at Panasonic,” Business Week, February 4) So when is the price of plasma TVs coming down?

IBM doesn’t just want to outsource work to India, it want to outsource Americans to India . . . at much reduced wages. (“IBM Offers To Move Laid Off Workers To India,” Information Week, February 2)

The Buffet curve says BUY!!!! The buffet line says EAT!!!! (“Buffett’s metric says it’s time to buy,” CNN Money, February 4)

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