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The Year Of The Wall Street Layoff

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We write quite a bit around here about job cuts—mostly real although sometimes simply rumored or feared—on Wall Street. But one thing that can get lost in the news about the little cuts—a fixed income trading desk here, a mortgage unit there—is the total amount of blood-letting. How many jobs have New York based financial firms cut this year, anyway?
We got our answer this morning from a real estate news story buried deep inside the New York Times this morning. Well, maybe it wasn’t buried that deep. It was on the front page of the Metro Section but, to be frank, we don’t really read the Metro section very often.
We found ourselves dirtying our fingers this morning with Metro because we were wondering whether this talk of a cab strike would interfere with our plans to attend a party thrown by our friends in the sports ticket futures business. But what got our attention was a long story on how the slow down on Wall Street might impact New York’s economy. And there it was in black and white and smudgy grey.
“All told, financial services firms based in New York have announced job cuts of 42,404 this year,” Times reporter Patrick McGeehan writes, citing the job-placement consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “More than half came in one reorganization at Citigroup, whose employees are scattered around the world, but most of the others have been in and around New York.”
We did some math in the margins of our copy of the paper on the ride into the DealBreaker bunker. Let’s say there are around 190,000 employed by Wall Street firms. (That's a rough estimate, to be sure. Broader measures of "financial firms" counts as many as three times that number.) Eliminate about 21,000 cuts for Citigroup and we’re left with 21,000 more. Half of those is 10,500. Add back another 5,000 cuts for Citigroup in New York, and we’re up to 15,500. That leaves us with about 8% of Wall Street’s workforce having been cut. Okay, we realize that we're kind of doing SIV-style math here--guessing about guesses, and then putting a firm number on it--but this should give you some idea of how deep the cuts have gone somewhere.
Not to be too negative—although we’re wearing a black shirt and taking our coffee black on this Monday morning—but this is just the beginning.
With Wall Street Slowing, Uncertainty Descends [New York Times]