A Round of Unexpected Layoffs Now Hits Pennsylvania

A round of unexpected layoffs now hits Pennsylvania as a whopping 600 employees are let go from a 150-year old institution.

Hundreds of staffers at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia officially learned they were out of a job last Friday, on what appeared to be the final day of operations at the school.

Action News originally reported that some 600 adjunct and faculty staff were laid off during a conference call.

Some other staff members were given the option to work until the end of the month.

Students and staff rallied outside Hamilton Hall, as the university community, supporters and local officials hope to find a path forward for the students.

Gehia Davenport was among those fired.

The alumna turned staff member says she was coming up on 30 years with the university.

“I got on the call. They let us know that everyone on this call is going to be terminated and today is our last day,” recalled Davenport.

The university announced just one week ago that the 150-year-old school in Center City would be closing.

The news caught the community off guard, prompting Philadelphia City Council to launch an investigation into what went wrong.

They will be looking into the relationship between the closure of UArts, and the collective bargaining agreement that was reached with faculty and staff earlier this year.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, which has oversight over nonprofits, said it is also reviewing the closure, including “any transfer or loss of assets.”

Governor Josh Shapiro weighed in on the closure on Friday, saying he was “angry and disappointed in the leadership of the University of the Arts.”

“UArts sprung this on all of us,” he said.

Nine former employees have filed a class action lawsuit amid the abrupt announcement.

The lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday, says the university failed to provide sufficient notice about the closure planned for Friday.

Federal law requires employers to give 60 days written notice to workers for plans for layoffs.

As for the University of the Arts, it gave only a week’s notice.

The lawsuit seeks two months’ pay in damages, along with accrued holiday and vacation pay, and other health benefits.

The school has not responded to the lawsuit.

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Also Read: Retirees Will Now Receive More Money For Social Security

Other Economy News Today

Market News Today - A Round of Unexpected Layoffs Now Hits Pennsylvania.
Market News Today – A Round of Unexpected Layoffs Now Hits Pennsylvania.

Applications for unemployment benefits now surge to new highs, a sign that the white-hot labor market is starting to cool off.

First-time applications for unemployment benefits rose last week to 231,000, the highest level since August, per CNN.

Thursday’s data also showed that the number of continuing claims, or applications from people who have filed for unemployment for at least one week, was 1.78 million.

That’s an increase of 17,000 from the prior week, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The latest numbers come less than a week after the monthly jobs report showed the US economy added just 175,000 positions in April, less than economists expected and a steep drop-off from prior months.

US employers have now added an average of 245,500 jobs per month, versus 2023’s 251,000-per-month average.

Still, hiring remains strong. Although the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.9% last month, it’s the 27th consecutive month that the jobless rate has held under 4%, matching a streak last seen in the late 1960s.

Weekly jobless claims data tends to be volatile but, while one week’s worth of data “does not a trend make,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at Fwdbonds.

“We can no longer be sure that calm seas lie ahead for the US economy if today’s weekly jobless claims are any indication.”

Company layoffs are picking up, hinting at caution on the part of companies as they weigh the outlook for the second half of the year,” he wrote in a note Thursday.

The Federal Reserve has been battling inflation by raising its key lending rate in the hopes of slowing the economy.

While the labor market has so far resisted those efforts, remaining white hot for the past 18 months despite 11 rate hikes from the central bank, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said last week that demand has “cooled from its extremely high level of a couple of years ago.”

Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Economics said in a note Thursday: “We’d need to see at least a month of elevated readings to convince us that the trend really has turned.”

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Also Read: A Giant Company Now Announces Unexpected Layoffs in Virginia

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Market News Today - A Round of Unexpected Layoffs Now Hits Pennsylvania.
Market News Today – A Round of Unexpected Layoffs Now Hits Pennsylvania.

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