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The U.S. financial services industry is witnessing the bursting of yet another bubble. This time, it's the industry itself.

Bloated by years of frenzied growth, Wall Street banks and other firms are shedding tens of thousands of jobs and slashing entire divisions in their most drastic downsizing since the Great Depression. The moves promise to upend financial services and investment options for Americans from Wall Street to Main Street.

Those layoffs will drain New York and other cities of vital tax dollars while swelling the fast-growing ranks of the nation's unemployed. U.S. employers cut 533,000 jobs in November — the most in 34 years — including 32,000 in the financial-services sector, the government said Friday.

Saddled with heavy losses and a shriveled stock price, Citigroup Inc. last month said it would eliminate 53,000 jobs, the second-largest job cut by a U.S. company on record. Other firms plan to drop the ax on tens of thousands more, especially in areas that specialize in the risky investment products that helped ignite the financial meltdown.


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