Thousands accept Verizon buyout

About 21,600 employees nationwide accepted a buyout offer from Verizon Communications and will leave the payroll by the end of the week, nearly double the number that the nation’s biggest telephone company estimated last month. In Everett, where the company has its Northwest headquarters, the buyout was offered to managers as a way of reducing the company’s costs, said spokeswoman Mellissa Barran, who noted she would be among the managers who would be leaving the company. She said the reductions were necessary because of a drop in the company’s local phone service business. “This will help stabilize our workforce … and reduce the need for involuntary reductions,” Barran said. She said managers will decide whether to realign their departments or to fill positions vacated by those accepting the buyout.

Agilent Technologies Inc., which has a division in Everett, swung to a profit in the latest quarter despite a revenue decline, as total costs and expenses fell 24 percent. For the fiscal fourth quarter ended Oct. 31, Agilent earned $13 million, or 3 cents a share, on revenue of $1.67 billion. In the same period last year, it lost $236 million, or 51 cents a share, on revenue of $1.74 billion.

Labor Department delays have kept emergency aid from quickly reaching workers faced with layoffs and plant closings, congressional investigators say. Delays of more than three months have forced 25 states, including Washington, to deny services or delay them, the General Accounting Office said in a report this month. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., one of the lawmakers who requested the report, said the delays are harming workers, employers and the economy. “Employers need to find skilled workers to fill the jobs that are available. But by delaying worker training grants, this administration is creating a further drag on our economy,” she said.

The Treasury Department sold three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.935 percent, unchanged from the last week. Six-month bills sold at a rate of 1.01 percent, down from 1.04 percent the previous week. The new discount rates understate the return to investors – 0.951 percent for three-month bills with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,976.40 and 1.033 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,948.90. The Federal Reserve said Monday that the average yield for one-year constant maturity Treasury bills, the most popular index for changing adjustable rate mortgages, edged up to 1.36 percent last week from 1.35 percent the previous week.

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