01/19/2012 03:48 pm ET Updated Mar 20, 2012

Wall Street Job Cuts December 2011: Financial Industry Shed 2,000 Jobs Last Month

Jan 19 (Reuters) - Wall Street axed 2,000 workers in December as poor profits led companies to slice expenses, the biggest reduction since last summer when the industry released its summer interns, James Brown, a labor market analyst with the New York Department of Labor, said on Thursday.

Because banks and brokerages have announced tens of thousands of layoffs around the globe, but not identified where the layoffs would occur, this trend might continue in New York City because it is a global financial center.

The drop in the ranks of bankers, traders and brokers will compress the city's tax revenues because Wall Street is the wellspring of its economy.

December's job losses clipped the total number of securities and commodities brokers to 166,900 positions from November, according to the state labor report.

The much bigger overall financial sector laid off 3,400 people in December though this sector typically hires 2,000 people in December, the labor report said.

The seasonal leisure and hospitality industry, which usually adds jobs in December, instead cut 3,900 workers.

The bright spot was business and professional services, which hired 5,000 people in December. That topped the 10-year average monthly gain of 4,000 jobs, the labor report said.

"With a strong rebound in 2010 and 2011, this sector has recouped all of its losses, reaching the all-time high in employment last seen in July 2008," the report said.

Still, New York City's unemployment rate crept up one-tenth of a percentage point to 9 percent in December from November. The year-ago rate was slightly lower at 8.8 percent.

"In a recovery, I'd rather it was trending down rather than slowly rising, especially as the national rate has started moving down," Brown said. "We're having at best average job growth; to really get the unemployment rate moving down you need sustained growth," he said.

New York state's unemployment rate was unchanged at 8 percent from November. It stood at 8.2 percent a year ago. (Reporting By Joan Gralla; Editing by James Dalgleish)