Nation/World

In brief: Fewer employers anticipate layoffs

In a sign that record-high levels of payroll cuts may ease in coming months, the number of employers that said they plan to lay off workers dropped steeply in a new survey of 245 large U.S. firms.

Thirteen percent of large companies said they are planning job cuts, down from 23 percent who said that in December and 26 percent in October, according to the survey conducted in mid-February by consulting firm Watson Wyatt. More than half the companies surveyed employ more than 5,000 workers, and 80 percent of the firms have at least 2,000 employees.

Of course, plenty of those firms have already made job cuts: 52 percent said they’ve fired workers, up from 39 percent in December and 19 percent in October. Currently, about 11.6 million Americans are unemployed. In January alone, 598,000 jobs were lost, the steepest level in 34 years.

Cupertino, Calif.

Apple director says Jobs on track for June return

Apple Inc. co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs still expects to return from his medical leave at the end of June, according to an Apple director who responded to an investor at the company’s annual shareholder meeting Wednesday.

The investor – who was the only one to press for details on Jobs’ health – had asked when the board knew Jobs planned to step away from his daily duties. Apple director Arthur Levinson responded that since Jobs announced Jan. 14 that he needed to go on leave, “nothing has changed.”

Jobs, who turned 54 on Tuesday, was not at the meeting.

A survivor of pancreatic cancer who looked very thin last year, Jobs said Jan. 5 that he had a treatable hormone imbalance and would continue to run Apple. But the following week he went on leave to treat medical issues that he said were “more complex” than he had believed. Apple’s chief operating officer, Tim Cook, took over daily duties.

New York

Morgan Stanley cancels events following criticism

Morgan Stanley said Wednesday it would eliminate events for entertaining clients that had been scheduled to run in conjunction with a professional golf tournament it sponsors in June.

Morgan Stanley’s announcement comes a day after protests erupted in Congress over parties and concerts hosted by Northern Trust Corp. at a professional golf tournament it sponsored last week in Los Angeles.

Other banks that received bailout funds from the government have also come under fire recently for spending money on lavish events.

Morgan Stanley, which received $10 billion in bailout funds, will still be the main sponsor for the Memorial Tournament but will have little other presence at the tournament.

It is the ninth year the bank has sponsored the tournament, which takes places in Dublin, Ohio, in June.

Asked why the cancellations occurred, Morgan Stanley spokeswoman Mary Claire Delaney said: “We are not participating this year due to the environment.” She declined to elaborate.

From wire reports


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