Wall Street Jobs Death Spiral Continues

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Layoffs continued in the banking sector in October with the biggest hit coming to Wall Street's bread and butter capital markets and trading business.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Employment Situation Report Friday. Nonfarm payrolls rose by 80,000, with companies creating 104,000 jobs. The report also included strong upward revisions of over a 100,000 jobs to data of the prior two months.

>>October Jobs Report: Live Blog

The finance sector, which broadly includes commercial banks, investment banks, insurance, real estate leasing and finance companies, added 4,000 jobs in October. But most of that growth came from the insurance and real estate and rental and leasing sector.

Commercial banks shed 900 jobs after losing 400 jobs in September. Companies engaged in the securities and commodities business also retrenched 900 workers. In September, the securities industry slashed 2,500 jobs.

The layoffs in the sector have begun to climb in recent months as the revenue outlook has weakened considerably amid problems in Europe and a weaker US economy. That has led banks to focus more on expenses and compensation is a big lever, especially at investment banks.

Bank of America ( BAC) has so far announced the biggest cuts to its workforce. The bank said it will shed 30,000 jobs over the next few years as part of its efforts to eliminate $5 billion in expenses from its consumer and small banking businesses.

Goldman Sachs ( GS), Morgan Stanley ( MS), Wells Fargo ( WFC), Bank of New York Mellon ( BK), State Street ( STT) are some of the other banks in the U.S. that are in the midst of pruning their workforce.

>>14 Banks Slashing Jobs

Investment banks overseas including Credit Suisse ( CS) and UBS ( UBS) have been even more aggressive on the layoff front, leading to worries that U.S. banks might also begin to raise their layoff targets.

So far, most banks in the country have taken the wait- and- see approach, taking an ax to bonuses rather than jobs.

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--Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York

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