Thursday, March 26, 2009

Interesting Times...

The new unemployment numbers are out:

Showing the labor market's considerable strain, the number of people collecting state unemployment benefits reached yet another new record, jumping 122,000 to a seasonally adjusted 5.56 million, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
The four-week average of these claims rose 123,750 to stand at 5.33 million -- in itself a record high since the U.S. began compiling these statistics -- also as of in the week ended March 14.

So is this piece of news concerning IBM:

Reports of deep job cuts at International Business Machines (IBM) come at a potentially delicate time for the company—just as it is hoping to secure money from the federal stimulus package. The company will lay off as many as 5,000 U.S. workers in its Global Business Services unit, transferring some of the work they performed to India, according to media reports.

IBM spokesman Mike Fay declined to confirm or to comment on any job-cut plans, which were reported on Mar. 25 by The Wall Street Journal (NWS) and Bloomberg News. The cuts will affect mainly information technology and consulting work in such areas as customer relations management and supply chain management, says Lee Conrad, national coordinator of Alliance@IBM, a group that is seeking union representation at IBM and is allied with the Communications Workers of America Local 1701.

Substituting cheaper Indian workers for the more expensive American ones may make sense for IBM. But should a firm like that get subsidized by the U.S. taxpayers?

An interesting question, don't you think?