Economists: Recession is WorseningThe National Association for Business Economics survey shows that the majority of economists think the country's gross domestic product will continue to fall in 2009.
Should business conditions continue to get worse, the GDP will sink from already historic lows. The quarterly survey says economists at private-sector companies already see more job losses and economic conditions becoming even grimmer in the future.
The survey measure consumer demand, capital expenditures, profit margins, which all hit their lowest levels recorded in the 27 years of the survey.
Iceland's Government Falls Amid Financial Turmoil
Iceland's commerce minister quit on Sunday, saying that the government had not restored confidence in the three months after the collapse of the country's currency stock market, several major banks and months of public protests.
The collapse caused the International Monetary Fund to step in and give Iceland $800 million to keep its economy afloat, and more was to come from Iceland's neighbors, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden, with another $2.5 billion.
But the resignation of the commerce minister led to the ruling coalition's resignation on Monday. The commerce minister, Bjorgvin Sigurdsson, resigned Sunday. Protests in the country over the weekend called for the government of Prime Minister Geir Haarde to step down. This protest was one of the biggest to date.
On Saturday, Sigurdsson fired the head of the country's financial supervisory authority and asked the rest of the authority's board to step down.
Haarde said on Friday he has a malignant tumor on his esophagus, and that he wouldn't run for re-election as head of the Independence Party. Early elections may be held in May, two years ahead of schedule, after Iceland's parliament makes a decision.
Job Cuts Across Industries Announced
On Monday Sprint Nextel says it will cut 8,000 positions by March 31 and eliminate $1.2 billion in labor costs.
The Dutch-based financial giant ING says it will cut 7,000 workers to save $1.4 billion. Among those asked to leave the company include CEO Michel Tilmant, who was asked to step down on Monday. His replacement is Jan Hommen, now chair of ING's supervisory board. In October the Dutch government put $13.4 billion into ING to help the bank.
Caterpillar will slash another 5,000 more jobs on top of the 15,000 announced in the fourth quarter of 2008. These cuts total about 18 percent of the company's workforce of about 113,000 workers.
Home Depot announced that it will close its chain of EXPO stores, affecting 5,000 workers and will cut an additional 2,000 support workers.