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More job losses on Wall Street even as profits keep rising

A holiday decoration is seen over Wall St. sign outside the New York Stock Exchange, November 27, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A holiday decoration is seen over Wall St. sign outside the New York Stock Exchange, November 27, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Hilary Russ

(Reuters) - Wall Street has lost a net 1,200 jobs since the start of 2012, New York's state comptroller said on Thursday, and is likely to shed even more with Citigroup's announcement that it will cut 11,000 jobs worldwide.

While he did not know the number of New York-based jobs Citigroup Inc plans to cut, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said the impact of the layoffs on Wall Street and New York City is "not going to be anything good."

"It probably doesn't come, unfortunately, as a surprise to what we've been projecting -- that you're going to see continued downsizing in financial services," he said.

Wall Street job losses during the recession have been severe, with New York City losing a net 20,000 securities industry jobs since November 2007, DiNapoli said in a report released on Thursday at a business and labor event.

"Part of the pressure now on the street is to enhance profitability," DiNapoli said at the event. "A number of these jobs will not come back," he said. "The downward pressure is going to continue in terms of head count."

The comptroller's office estimates that New York Stock Exchange member firms are on track to earn more than $15 billion for all of 2012, in line with levels before the financial crisis and twice last year's level.

While they've laid off employees, some financial firms have returned to big -- but often volatile -- profits.

The industry had its two most profitable years on record in 2009 and 2010, in part because of federal recovery support, after two years of record losses, the report said.

Last year was just as volatile. Wall Street had strong profits of $12.6 billion during the first half of 2011, with sharp losses of $4.9 billion in the second half of the year, according to the report.

One in seven jobs in New York City can be linked to the securities industry, DiNapoli's office estimates.

(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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