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Wall Street Shrinks As Financial Sector Layoffs Near 500,000 Since 2008: Report

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Wall Street layoffs have totaled nearly 500,000 in the past four years, according to a new study.
Wall Street layoffs have totaled nearly 500,000 in the past four years, according to a new study.

It seems the world of finance is still in the throes of its own great recession.

One hundred of the largest cities in the U.S. have shed a total of 459,400 finance-sector jobs in the past four years, according to an analysis of Labor Department data by The Business Journals.

New York saw the biggest drop in terms of sheer numbers, according to the Journals, losing 48,600 finance-sector jobs since 2008, a 6.14 percent drop. Los Angeles has shed 40,300 finance sector jobs in that period, an 11.39 percent decline, and Chicago lost 35,800 finance positions, an 11.24 percent drop.

While New York had the worst four years in terms of total number of jobs shed, Las Vegas saw the biggest percentage drop -- the 10,000 jobs it has shed represent a 21 percent decline since February 2008.

The Labor Department lumps a wide array of workers into the financial-services category, among them bankers, insurance agents, stockbrokers, employee-benefit counselors and real-estate agents, the report notes.

The figures paint a vivid portrait of an industry that, in spite of massive government support, is undergoing a large-scale contraction. A combination of new regulations that restrict the type of trading certain firms can engage in, a debt crisis that continues to hammer financial institutions in Europe, and a lackluster market for deal-making has led many institutions -- particularly the big banks -- to scale back globally, including in the U.S.

Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley are all getting ready to shed dozens of deal-related jobs -- including from among the ranks of its senior staff -- starting as early as next month, according to The Wall Street Journal. Last September, Bank of America announced plans to cut as many as 30,000 jobs over the next few years, in an effort to save $5 billion per year.

At the same time, Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse, which on Wednesday reported a less-than-stellar first quarter, plans to cut as many as 3,500 jobs worldwide by 2013, according to The New York Times, including several in New York.

And across the banking industry, firms have been adapting to new regulations by closing once-profitable operations. In January, Citigroup said that it would be joining a long list of top U.S. banks in closing its proprietary trading desk, shedding its workers from that department entirely.

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