There's That Sound Again

Electronic Data Systems, the information technology services company founded by former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot, may cut up to 20,000 jobs over the next two years. EDS chief executive Michael H. Jordan told investors Thursday of the possible cuts to the workforce, about 120,000 but fluctuating depending on its outsourcing contracts. Founder Perot, of course, was the first to refer to the "giant sucking sound" that signaled American jobs being lost . . . to outsourcing.

'A Fantastic Disney Ride'

That's what Michael D. Eisner said he had experienced as chief executive of Walt Disney Co. when he announced on Friday his intention to retire in 2006. His critics, while pleased, said he should leave sooner. Eisner, who transformed Disney from a cartoon and amusement park company into a media giant, survived a takeover bid and shareholder rebellion this year. He has identified Disney President Robert A. Iger as his preferred successor, but speculation has included others.

Airline Cuts Continue

Delta Air Lines said it would cut about 10 percent of its workforce -- up to 7,000 jobs -- in an effort to avert bankruptcy, which could come as early as three weeks from now. Delta will close its hub at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The move reflects the intense competitive pressures facing traditional air carriers in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. US Airways is close to filing for bankruptcy for the second time in two years.

Do Not Pass Go

Frank P. Quattrone, a former top investment banker at Credit Suisse First Boston, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for obstructing a federal securities investigation. Federal Judge Richard Owen ruled that Quattrone must begin serving time in 50 days, before his appeals are complete. Quattrone, who maintains his innocence, vowed an immediate appeal of the sentence, which was far harsher than the one meted out recently to domestic entrepreneur Martha Stewart.

Just Don't Ever Get Sick

Health care costs for employers have risen 11.2 percent this year, according to a nationwide survey. Although down slightly from the 13.9 percent of last year, the increase was the fourth consecutive double-digit rise, and it pushed the annual cost of family coverage for typical plans past $10,000. The survey, along with others, predicts continued increases in health care costs next year, and it showed that 5 million fewer jobs offer health insurance now than in 2001.