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>Employers Slashed 533,000 Jobs In November

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WASHINGTON – Skittish employers slashed 533,000 jobs in November, the most in 34 years, catapulting the unemployment rate to 6.7 percent, dramatic proof the country is careening deeper into recession.
The new figures, released by the Labor Department Friday, showed the crucial employment market deteriorating at an alarmingly rapid clip, and handed Americans some more grim news right before the holidays. The net loss of more than a half-million jobs was far worse than analysts expected.
As companies throttled back hiring, the unemployment rate bolted from 6.5 percent in October to 6.7 percent last month, a 15-year high.
“These numbers are shocking,” said economist Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economics Advisors. “Companies are sharply reacting to the economy’s problems and slashing costs. They are not trying to ride it out.”
 Both the number of unemployed persons (10.3 million) and the unemploy-
ment rate (6.7 percent) continued to increase in November. Since the start
of the recession in December 2007, as recently announced by the National
Bureau of Economic Research, the number of unemployed persons increased by
2.7 million, and the unemployment rate rose by 1.7 percentage points
.

>Unemployment Just Shot Up!

>Hold onto your hat! Washington just announced the lid has blown off applications for unemployment benefits, reaching the highest level since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
But where’s the good, balancing news? If you need good news, perhaps you could say that a lowering of our trade deficit, which actually happened, could be seen as good news by some. But in reality it just shows Americans aren’t buying things. Imports plunged, and that’s not so good—it is further evidence of a struggling U.S. economy.
Jobless claims shot up by 32,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 516,000, the highest total in seven years. The tally was much higher than Labor Department analysts expected and a further indication of how much the labor market is deteriorating amid the shrinking economy. The government reported last week that the unemployment rate surged to a 14-year high of 6.5 percent in October. It will probably be as high as 7 percent at the end of November.
The trade deficit declined by a bigger-than-expected amount in September, falling by 4.4 percent to $56.5 billion as imports experienced a record plunge.
Foreign Car Makers Also Are Hurting. The import decline was led by a huge fall in imported oil, said the Commerce Department. The average price for crude dropped by a record $12.41 per barrel and the volume of shipments fell to the lowest level in five years. But demand for other types of imports also fell, with imported cars and car parts dropping to the lowest level in more than five years, an indication that foreign automakers are feeling the pinch hitting U.S. consumers.
President-elect Barack Obama has said the economy will be his number one priority when he takes office, and his Democratic allies in Congress were laying the groundwork for changes with hearings scheduled Thursday.
The House Oversight Committee has HEDGE FUNDS on its mind. It wants to know what part they played in recent market turbulence. Among those scheduled to testify was billionaire investor George Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management. You can only believe Soros so far. He is a Greek tycoon who has influenced many things, including the Obama record-setting victory over McCain. At any rate, those Democrats want to mine his brain and see what he knows? But he’s too wily for them—the likes of Barney Frank, Chuch Schumer, and Harry Reid. If not, then why are these guys overseeing a failing economy and Soros is raking in the big bucks with his oil and other international deals?
The Senate Banking Committee will hear from executives of a number of financial institutions—there aren’t too many left to testify because most of them have tanked. But they managed to scrape up people from Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo and will quiz them on the issue of how the government’s $700 billion rescue effort is operating, and particularly whether the government should be requiring more commitments on the use of the money to address rising mortgage foreclosure problems.
I can tell you right now what they will say. The money’s not nearly enough. We want more, NOW! Barney, Harry, Chuck—listen up! Ignore those gougers. Use your heads for once. Ask California’s Congressman Henry Waxman how to work it. He’s the peskiest little flit in Congress, but, oh, this is the senate, isn’t it. He can’t come into the senate today and push his weight around.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced Wednesday that the administration had scrapped the original centerpiece of the rescue program — a proposal to buy troubled assets to get them off the books of banks as a way of promoting increased lending.
Instead, Paulson said the administration will proceed with an alternative plan to spend $250 billion to buy stock in the banks as a way of bolstering their financial situation and accomplishing the same goal — getting the institutions to return to more normal lending. If we’re now buying stock, how will that be seen by leaders abroad? Remember, this is important to Obama. He doesn’t want to be seen sneeking around looking cheap, buying up private enterprise in America. Someone should write an essay about the evils of socialism.
Critics contend the administration should be imposing more restrictions on the stock purchases as a way of insuring the banks will use the government resources to increase lending rather than just hoarding the cash, or using it to acquire other banks or boost dividends for stockholders.

>No Bank Investment, No Jobs–But Some Employers Have Answers

> October 21, 2008 — 10:00 a.m. EDT

Owners Say Franchisers Pass on More Costs

Some franchisees say they are being forced to pay for a variety of expenses for the first time — making difficult economic times tougher.

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Rocket Man Ran a Proper Business

Software entrepreneur Jim Benson built a rocket company to colonize asteroids. Instead, he wound up piloting SpaceDev, a successful, if earthbound, venture.

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Entrepreneurs Feel Squeeze as Venture Capital Gets Scarce

Venture capitalists are reining in spending amid the financial downturn, a shift that has implications for entrepreneurial activity.

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Looking for Cost Cuts in New Places

Small companies often have to get creative to find waste where little exists. Here’s a look at four companies that did so without sacrificing necessities.

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No Simple Answers for Small Business

Small-business owners want to know which presidential candidate would give them the best deal on taxes. It’s a simple question with no simple answers.

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Financial Advice for Joe the Plumber

Joe Wurzelbacher doesn’t need a new president – he needs a new accountant. The tax code contains incredible deals for small business owners and independent contractors.

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States Set New Data Privacy Laws

Nevada is the first of several states adopting new laws that will force businesses to revamp the way they protect customer data.

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Firms Struggle With Commodities Costs

Some small companies have yet to feel the salve of the drops in commodities prices and are continuing with efforts to mitigate the damage.

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A Perfect Match?

Learn how building the right work environment can help companies attract — and keep — Generation Y workers.

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Naming Rights

Relief may be on the way for small businesses stuck with bad Web addresses. Next year, the organization that oversees the Internet will start selling rights to an unlimited number of new top-level domains.

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Tracking Consumers Across All Media

A small media research company is measuring the success of ad campaigns across multiple forms of media — using a consumer’s cellphone.

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Chain Reaction

Many immigrants look to establish themselves by running their own business. But starting — and successfully running — a small business is hard enough without the language and cultural barriers. So, many turn to a franchise concept.

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Small Talk

Kelly Spors answers questions about getting copyrights, comparing benefits and finding credit-card information.

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My Brain, Your Brawn

With competitive pressures mounting and a need for a continual pipeline of new product ideas, some of the biggest consumer companies in the world are increasingly looking outside their own corridors.

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Lending, With a Twist

As the credit crisis deepens and Wall Street roils, it’s getting tougher for small companies to land bank loans. For On Deck Capital, that situation spells opportunity.

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Help for the Holidays

Millions of people are about to descend on the Internet, and competition for their dollars will be tough this year, with money tighter amid a weak economy. You need an online-marketing plan to help you make the most of the season.

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Help Wanted — and Found

Small-business owners are increasingly finding help for their high-tech needs in online markets where free-lance tech specialists compete to provide their services.

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Companies Trim as Business Slows

Companies are looking for cuts in every budgetary nook and cranny in an economy dragged down by slowing consumption, an imploding stock market and tight credit.

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Factoring as Alternative Financing

Kelly Spors answers a reader question about factoring as a source of alternative financing.

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Banks’ Woes Spread to Their Suppliers

The banking-industry crisis is already hurting small and midsize businesses that were built to provide products and services to a booming financial sector.