Layoff Hurdles Make 9% Unemployment Look Optimistic (HD, S, CAT, IBM, NOV)

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We have been tracking the layoffs and the weekly jobless claims to figure out what they mean for the economy.  Just this morning we noticed many job cut announcements from companies..   Home Depot (NYSE: HD) just joined in on the layoff parade with the announcement that it will slash some 7,000 jobs.

Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) already announced another 8,000 layoffs today.And the horrible report of an "almost 20%" or 20,000 Caterpillar Inc.(NYSE: CAT) just keeps adding up.

Besides what we covered last week with earnings and layoffs, we havealso heard of cuts at National OilwellVarco (NYSE: NOV) in subsidiary units, and even International BusinessMachines (NYSE: IBM) laid off some people in sales and support jobs.

We do not have any totals on the layoff front, but so far we areat 35,000 over the last hour or so.  If that rate gets sustained bymajor companies in the U.S., then 8.5% or 9% unemployment rate some analysts expect might be optimistic.

Jon C. Ogg
January 26, 2009