Traders and investment bankers might have more to worry about than dwindling bonus pools this year as mass firings on Wall Street are set to hit a record.
The fallout from this year's global credit crisis has claimed jobs on all corners of Wall Street, from hedge fund managers to floor traders and beyond. More than 110,000 have lost their jobs so far this year, and some industry experts forecast it could come close to 200,000 before the year is over.
Even the financial industry's biggest name isn't immune. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the world's biggest investment bank, made plans Thursday to cut 3,200 positions from its staff of 32,000. Barclays Capital is in the midst of purging 3,000 jobs as part of its takeover of Lehman Brothers, and Bank of America Corp.'s acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co. is sure to add thousands more.
People are skittish about the economy's immediate future. Ask how things will be in a year and you hear a different story – and a remarkable show of optimism despite economists' widespread expectations that a serious recession is brewing.
Most expect the economy to generally be better and the stock market to be rising three months from now, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released Thursday. But that's mixed with gloom: Majorities also doubt unemployment will fall or home values will rise by then, and people are split over whether their personal finances will improve.
Extend the timeline to a year and the public's mood grows cheerier. Most say they expect more jobs and higher real estate value. They also think their own financial situations will be better a year from now, the survey shows.
For instance, just 38 percent said they think unemployment would go down in three months, but 62 percent said they thought it would improve in a year. That is counter to what many analysts expect: Unemployment is 6.1 percent nationally, and economists predict it could go as high as 7.5 percent in 2009.