© St. Petersburg Times, published October 19, 2001
JOBLESS CLAIMS CLIMB: New claims for state unemployment insurance last week climbed to their second-highest level of this year, the Labor Department reported. For the work week ended Oct. 13, new jobless claims rose a seasonally adjusted 6,000 to 490,000. The only time claims were higher this year was at the end of September -- 535,000, a nine-year high. The more stable four-week moving average of new claims jumped to 491,250 last week, the highest level since April 6, 1991.
FLORIDA UNEMPLOYMENT: The number of first time unemployment claims in Florida has nearly doubled in the wake of last month's terrorist activities, the state's labor agency reported. While the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation said the number of claims in September averaged around 11,000, they have shot up to an average of 19,000 the past three weeks. A bright spot: The number of first time claims dipped a bit last week -- from 19,458 to 18,196. While jobless claims rose in September, the actual unemployment rate remained unchanged from August at 4.3 percent.
BELLSOUTH TO CUT 3,000 JOBS: BellSouth said it plans to eliminate 3,000 jobs after posting a 99 percent plunge in third-quarter income and paring full-year financial forecasts. Net income dropped to $7-million, or break-even on a per-share basis, from $1.04-billion, or 55 cents, a year ago. The job cuts, representing almost 3 percent of the work force, will mainly affect managers in the Atlanta area, a spokesman said. Shares of BellSouth fell 92 cents to $38.12.
SYKES TO EXPAND STAFF: Sykes Enterprises Inc. expects to hire 1,200 additional technical support workers in the United States by year-end to accommodate increased demand from existing technology and communications clients. Some of the new employees will be placed at the company's call centers in Palatka and Marianna. The expansion will lift Sykes' worldwide payroll to roughly 16,000. The Tampa company declined to identify the customers. Separately, Sykes said it is sticking with projected revenues of $105-million to $115-million for the quarter ended Sep. 30, and net income of 3 cents to 5 cents per share.
TIA TRAFFIC DOWN: The number of passengers at Tampa International Airport in September dropped by nearly 150,000, or 27 percent, from the same month last year, airport officials said. The airport fared better than the commercial aviation system nationwide, which experienced a 34 percent decline in passenger boardings from September 2000, said Louis Miller, TIA's executive director. The airlines' December schedules for TIA show plans for 195 daily jet departures, a decrease of 7.6 percent from the same month last year, he said.
VERIZON MOVES JOBS TO TAMPA: Verizon Communications will cut about 170 jobs at a Fort Wayne, Ind., data center next year as the company moves much of its data-processing work to Tampa. About 110 of those jobs will be transferred to Verizon's data center in Tampa. The remaining 60 positions will be eliminated through attrition and other cuts. The affected workers, who make about $55,000 annually, monitor and control Verizon's in-house computer systems.
FEDERATED ISSUES WARNING: Federated Department Stores warned that earnings for the remainder of the year will be lower than expected. The retailer, parent to the Burdines chain, blamed a decline in sales following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Officials said they anticipate per-share earnings of 13 cents to 20 cents in the third quarter and $1.85 to $2 in the fourth quarter. Analysts had expected per-share earnings of 51 cents in the third quarter and $2.19 in the fourth, excluding one-time expenses. Shares of Federated rose 5 cents to $30.06.