NEW YORK CITY-The 4,000 layoffs Merrill Lynch announced yesterday, coupled with a $1.96-billion Q1 loss, is a continuation of problems in the financial services sector. But what do those lost jobs mean from an office-leasing perspective?

On the surface, not that much. The layoffs are not taking place in any particular region of the country, a Merrill spokeswoman tells, and they are a small portion of the firm’s 63,100 people that it employed at the end of the quarter.

And “that doesn’t mean we are going to stop hiring people,” the spokeswoman says. “It’s not going to be a hiring freeze.” In fact the company, which is located here in the World Financial Center, is adding employees overseas as it grows its foreign business, she says.

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