August 13, 2002

It was a bizarre case of jawdropping irony. Here pReznit Bonehead was 'assuring Americans that his administration has a steady hand on the economy,' meanwhile one of the special, handpicked guests at his little 'economic forum,' broker Charles Schwab, announced Charles Schwab Corp would lay off 375 employees, or about 2 percent of its staff, and close its Austin, Texas, center, to slash costs in the prolonged stock market downturn.

Schwab, which earlier this month put out a memo forecasting more job cuts from its staff of 19,100, had axed 25 percent of its work force last year in a restructuring. Schwab also shed about 490 jobs in the first half of 2002. Schwab Chief Financial Officer Christopher Dodds last month told Reuters the company would likely end the year with about 18,000 employees.

Shuttering the Austin center would eliminate about 300 jobs. In addition, Schwab said it is cutting about 75 support and administrative jobs at four other client telephone service centers located in Denver, Indianapolis, Orlando and Phoenix. Over the next 30 to 60 days, Schwab said it executive committee will consider further actions -- including more job cuts and cuts in discretionary spending.

In a related story, the Dow closed down 206.43 points.

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