Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley may be announcing job cuts that total between 1,500 to 1,800 positions, or about 3 percent to 4 percent of the investment bank's work force, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The number of people receiving unemployment benefits has reached an all-time record this week and more layoffs are spreading throughout the economy.
The Labor Department reported on Thursday that the number of Americans continuing to claim unemployment insurance for the week ending Jan. 17 was a seasonally adjusted 4.78 million, the highest on records dating back to 1967. That's an increase of 159,000 from the previous week and worse than economists' expectations of 4.65 million.
As a proportion of the work force, the tally of unemployment benefit recipients is the highest since August 1983, a department analyst said.
The record number of ongoing benefit claims is an indication that laid-off workers are having a difficult time finding new jobs, economists said.
"This highlights the key point that the trend in gross hirings has slowed as abruptly as the trend in gross firings ... has risen," Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, wrote in a research note.
A year ago, continuing claims stood at about 2.7 million, less than half their current level when the extended unemployment program is included.
Abiel Reinhart, an economic analyst at JPMorgan Chase, said the report indicatesthe unemployment rate likely rose this month. January's figure will be released Feb. 6.
The crush of new and continuing claims has overwhelmed many states' ability to process them all. Electronic filing systems crashed in three states earlier this month, and last week Michigan said it would hire 276 workers and open a fourth call center to handle increased phone traffic.
President Barack Obama's $819 billion economic stimulus package, approved by the House Wednesday and now on its way to the Senate, would provide $500 million to the states to upgrade their unemployment insurance systems. The measure also continues the extended unemployment compensation program, which adds up to 33 weeks of benefits, until the end of the year.
Here is a rundown of corporate job cuts announced so far this year:
- The 7,000 job cuts at Macy's account for 4 percent of the company's work force. In additioni to the job cuts, the retailer said it is cutting the 401(k) contribution it provides to existing employees. Also hurting Macy's shares was a dividend cut, to 5 cents per share from 13.5 cents.
- Morgan Stanley job cuts reported by the Journal would come in addition to 7,000 layoffs the firm announced in 2008.
- Caterpillar said it was laying off an additional 2,110 workers as the company scrambles to cope with a downturn in demand for its construction and mining equipment.
- Walt Disney's television division is cutting 400 jobs, or about 6 percent of the unit's work force, due to the slumping economy.
- Strattec Security announced it will cut back on its production work force and cut its salaried work force by 10 percent. Twenty salaried workers were let go, while 66 production workers, or about one-third of the Glendale factory's work force, are on temporary layoff.
- Electronics giant NEC said it will cut 20,000 workers worldwide to stanch mounting losses, joining a slew of other Japanese corporate heavyweights who are slashing jobs to survive the deepening global downturn.