A day before the release of a hotly anticipated monthly jobs report from the government, a private firm said U.S. companies dramatically increased layoffs in March compared with February.
Outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas said Thursday that companies announced 67,611 planned job cuts last month, much higher than the 42,090 in February.
There were some bright spots, however; compared with last year the pace of downsizings is sharply slower, with March cuts down 55% from the same month a year ago. And the first-quarter total of 181,183 is 69% below the year-ago first quarter mark.
Geithner: Jobless Rate to Stay 'Unacceptably High' for a Long Time
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Thursday it's "deeply unfair" that some financial institutions that got taxpayer-paid bailouts are emerging in better shape from the recession than millions of ordinary Americans.
He acknowledged public outrage over that and said people watched with disdain as Washington protected high-risk banks and investment houses, even as the national unemployment rate was soaring to double-digit levels for the first time in a generation.
But in a nationally broadcast interview, Geithner also argued that President Obama had no choice when confronted with a financial crisis.