More Job Losses Reported, Payroll Data Set for Release Today

Another round of reports come out today and the news continues to look ominous. U.S. non-farm payrolls data for November is set for release this morning and economists in a Reuters survey forecast 340,000 jobs were lost in the month, compared with a loss of 240,000 jobs in October, according to a Reuters report. On Thursday, major companies, including AT&T and DuPont announced more than 20,000 job cuts, reported. Car rental company Avis Budget Group Inc. cut more than 2,200 jobs and taken other steps to meet its goal of reducing annual costs by $150 million to $200 million by the middle of 2009, the Associated Press reported.The layoffs caused jitters on Wall Street, and stocks tumbled with the Dow finishing Thursday’s session 2.5 percent lower, the S&P 500 losing 2.9 percent and the Nasdaq shedding 3.1 percent, according to U.S. consumer credit data for October will also be released today, Reuters added. Motorists can applaud the oil price of $44 a barrel – near its lowest level in almost four years – however, the low price is a result of the economic slowdown biting into oil demand, Reuters noted. The CEOs of Detroit’s major automakers return to Capitol Hill for a second day of testimony as they continue to press for government loans to support their ailing businesses. All of the dire projections have global investors wary with major overseas stock indexes tumbling this morning, reported.However, a few U.S. companies are holding up. Reuters reported that Yum Brands Inc., the parent of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC, forecast on Thursday 2009 earnings per share growth of at least 10 percent and backed its 2008 earnings forecast, sending its shares up 1.4 percent. Home-goods retailer Williams-Sonoma Inc reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Thursday and said it amended a $300 million credit line providing for more relaxed covenants, sending its shares up 10 percent. The company also said that it had terminated a $150 million stock buyback program to conserve cash, and stood by a previous forecast calling for lower profit for the current holiday quarter. The operator of Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma stores posted a third-quarter loss of $11 million, or 10 cents a share, compared with a profit of $27.1 million, or 25 cents a share, a year earlier, according to Reuters.