On the surface, not that much. The layoffs are not taking placein any particular region of the country, a Merrill spokeswomantells GlobeSt.com, and they are a small portion of the firm's63,100 people that it employed at the end of the quarter.

And "that doesn't mean we are going to stop hiring people," thespokeswoman says. "It's not going to be a hiring freeze." In factthe company, which is located here in the World Financial Center,is adding employees overseas as it grows its foreign business, shesays.

Layoffs in the financial sector have totaled 127,000 in the lastthree months, says Maria Sciola, executive managing director ofresearch at Cushman & Wakefield. She is forecasting a total of250,000 to 300,000 for the balance of the year, which is down fromprevious recessions, such as the 1.2 million in 2001 and 320,000 in1990.

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