April 2009 Current Events: Business/Science News

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Here are the key events in business and science news for the month of April 2009.

  • Unemployment Rate Reaches 8.5%; 663,00 Jobs Lost in March (Apr. 3): The government reports another 663,000 jobs lost in March 2009, bringing the total jobs lost during the current recession to 5.1 million. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also announces that unemployment in the U.S. has reached 8.5%. January's job loss was 741,000, up from the original estimate of 655,000.
  • Japan Will Spend $99 Billion on Stimulus (Apr. 6): Japan plans to spend more than 10 trillion yen ($99.3 billion) in new stimulus measures to improve the faltering economy. Japan has the world's second-largest economy, and is deep in recession.
  • Sallie Mae Bringing 2,000 Jobs to U.S. from Overseas (Apr. 6): Student loan lender Sallie Mae announces it will be bringing 2,000 jobs currently overseas back to the United States. The lender plans to shift some of its overseas call centers, plus other technology positions, to U.S. locations—good news for the millions of the currently unemployed Americans.
  • Financial Giants Posting Profits for First Quarter (Apr. 16): American banks Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo are all posting profits for the first quarter of the year. Goldman Sachs expects to return the money borrowed from the government as part of the stimulus plan, though some experts say it will be better to wait until more banks are stable.
  • Freddie Mac CFO Commits Suicide (Apr. 22): David B. Kellermann, the chief financial officer at floundering mortgage giant Freddie Mac, hangs himself. An employee of the company for 16 years, Kellermann was promoted to CFO in September 2008, at the same time the business was experiencing significant financial problems and was consequently taken over by the U.S. Treasury Department. Kellermann was 41; he had a wife and five-year-old daughter.
  • U.S. Treasury Tells Chrysler to Prepare for Bankruptcy (Apr. 23): The U.S. Treasury Department asks the struggling auto company Chrysler, the third largest in the U.S., to prepare to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy, possibly as soon as next week. Chrysler, which was taken over by the government last month, has until April 30 to form a deal with Italian automaker Fiat in order to receive more government financing. However, if Chrysler files for bankruptcy, they would be under bankruptcy protection when Fiat takes over. (Apr. 30): Chrysler files for bankruptcy protection while entering into a partnership agreement with Fiat. It is the first time since 1933 that an American automaker has been forced to restructure under bankruptcy protection.
  • GM Cutting 23,000 Jobs, Ending Pontiac Brand (Apr. 27): General Motors announces it will cut 23,000 jobs by 2011, drop the Pontiac brand next year, and cut its dealer network by 40%. GM is taking these steps in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy, though it has lost billions of dollars in recent years.
  • U.S. Economy Contracts 6.1% in First Quarter (Apr. 29): The U.S. economy contracted an additional 6.1% in the first quarter of the year. Despite predictions that the economy will continue to fall in the second quarter, the Federal Reserve sees signs that overall, the economy is becoming more stable and will start to level out by the end of the year.
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