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Bank Hiring Offers Glimmer of Hope

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Banks are hiring tens of thousands of workers for their mortgage and capital markets operations, a glimmer of hope in the decidedly bleak labor market.

Regulators have said time and again that tremendous taxpayer support of the banking industry was warranted only because the banks that led the U.S. into the crisis will lead the country out again. If one can read the tea leaves by looking at profit statements and job listings at the country's largest banks, other workers should stop worrying about layoffs and start looking forward to raises.

Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) have earned $19 billion in shareholder profits so far this year and are hiring new workers to sustain that momentum. Goldman Sachs (GS) alone has earned $7.4 billion, and is doing the same, as is Citigroup (C), whose profit statement is bogged down with too many special items to be comparable.

Those firms, and others, like American International Group (AIG), would like to offer lucrative pay packages to lure or retain the best traders, managers and senior executives. They are currently haggling with the government's pay czar or preparing PR offensives to justify such moves.

For mortgage modifications alone, the top four banks -- Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup -- have hired 17,000 new employees, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. BofA, JPMorgan, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs are looking to hire another 10,000 workers, according to Forbes, mainly for their trading and investment advisory businesses as the capital markets have improved.

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