Today In Layoffs: Macy's, Morgan Stanley

Guess who is hiring...

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Another Monday, another round of layoffs. Today's magic number is 4 percent. That's how much Macy's is shaving off of its headcount, cutting 7,000 positions as it restructures to survive the slowdown. Actually, the "restructuring" also looks like a "gutting." Some 40 percent of its executive positions are on the block as the retailer tries a new "decentralized" strategy, according to Forbes. Investors don't appear to like the move. Macy's shares were off nearly 5 percent in late trade. (It also might have something to do with Macy's slashing its quarterly dividend to 5 cents a share from around 13.25 cents.)

Meanwhile, the WSJ is reporting Morgan Stanley is planning a 3-4 percent reduction in headcount, or 1,500 to 1,800 jobs. The cuts, which could come this month, are on top of some 7,000 layoffs at Morgan during 2008. It's no surprise banks are still cutting back. Finance has been by far the hardest-hit sector in this downturn. Job losses during the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009 topped 120,000. The WSJ also says big investment banks like Goldman Sachs are considering more cuts as well.

So who's hiring? The federal government. From the Associated Press:

Since 2001, civilian employment in the executive branch, excluding postal employees, has edged upward from 1.7 million to about 2 million, largely because of new homeland security jobs.

More federal job openings are on the horizon.

A report released in January by Christina Romer, head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and Jared Bernstein, an economic policy adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, predicted that more than 90 percent of the 3 million to 4 million jobs that Obama proposes to save or create would be in the private sector.

But the report also estimated that 244,000 government jobs — some at the federal level, but more at the state and local level — would be created or saved.

That was based on a $600 billion stimulus package; the one being debated in Congress is more than $800 billion.

(Looking for one of those jobs? Check FedJobs.com.) Or you could go work at Lehman Brothers!

That's right: The WSJ says working for Lehman is " one of the hottest jobs on Wall Street."  I-bankers are scrambling to get hired at the failed investment bank to help wind down "a broad patchwork of assets" including a "thicket of about 500,000 derivative contracts with 4,000 trading partners worth some $24 billion." Plus, they'll get to work alongside former Lehman CEO Richard Fuld who's still haunting the halls of his old bank. Sounds like a tough gig to me. A job's a job, I suppose, but who wants to spend the next couple of years reliving what went wrong?

  • Kirk Shinkle

    Kirk Shinkle is a senior editor for U.S. News Money and manages the Best Funds portal. Follow him on Twitter @KirkS or email him at kshinkle@usnews.com.

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