Discover CEO sounds warnings on white collar job loss

Higher paid jobs at risk as more companies plan layoffs

Discover Financial Services Chief Executive Officer Roger Hochschild is sounding the alarm about the growing loss of white collar jobs.

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“I’m really worried about unemployment,” Hochschild said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “I do feel like it’s spreading more toward white-collared jobs. A lot of companies are reacting to the environment and cutting back.”

He manages one of the union’s financial services covering checking and savings accounts, personal loans, home equity loans, student loans and credit cards

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The highest number of Americans filed for unemployment since August last week -- about 898,000. In June, the Federal Reserve reported that only 13% of white collar workers -- usually seen as household incomes above $100,000 -- had experienced job loss. However, those figures are likely to change given the recent massive layoff announcements by the likes of Ford, United Airlines and Wells Fargo.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
FFORD MOTOR COMPANY7.59-0.08-1.04%
UALUNITED AIRLINES HLDG.35.50+1.34+3.92%
WFCWELLS FARGO & COMPANY22.54-0.32-1.40%

The grim figures on layoffs, furloughs and salary cuts point to a U.S. economy that is tumbling into what appears to be a calamitous recession, the worst in decades.

Discover Financial Services Chief Executive Officer Roger Hochschild sounded the alarm about the growing loss of white collar jobs. (Forbes)

The record-setting flood of layoffs unleashed by the viral outbreak is extending beyond the services industries that bore the initial brunt and are still suffering most. White collar employees, ranging from software programmers and legal assistants to sales associates and some health care workers, are absorbing layoffs or salary cuts. So are workers in other occupations, like construction and real estate.

Layoffs jumped fueled partly by job losses in a category that includes data processing and online publishing companies. Job cuts swept through employers in the professional and scientific fields, which includes architectural and engineering companies. Healthcare workers and administrative support staff lost jobs. Some law firms have felt compelled to shrink their staffs, too.

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Banks are looking on the bright side in the quarters before year’s end – as consumers can still pay bills and still putting money into their checking accounts.

“For the consumer, it’s a tale of two cities,” Hochschild said. “For much of our base, the prime consumers, they’re hanging in there.” But, he added, “there are huge segments of the economy that are really struggling.”