Editor’s note: Writing today’s Skinny and filling in for LTW Editor Rick Smith this week is Noah Garrett. You can reach Noah directly at noah@thinkngc.com.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — This final week of January has been a tough and depressing one.

All the news coming out this week about companies cutting thousands of jobs and profits plummeting after poor Q4 reports makes my stomach hurt. I’ve been trying to track how many jobs have been cut just this week – mind you this is in all industries – and it exceeds 50,000.

These are numbers. But, you know what? Each number within that 50K is a person; a family; a life.

The media is not to blame for all the doom and gloom in the news. I have received some criticism about reporting on all this negativity. Trust me, I would much rather post upbeat stories and successes.

I really do look for good news every day. But, with our spiraling economy, it’s our duty to report the news truthfully and without bias. However, on occasion, reporters are allowed to give opinions. It’s called a column, in the traditional print world, and a blog in today’s world. This means opinions are allowed here, and I’m glad, because I have a few worth sharing this week.

Quote of the week

This week’s standout sound byte goes to our new vice president. Joe Biden speaking with CNBC on Thursday, talked about the economy and the irresponsibility of some business leaders. He said, "I mean, I’d like to throw these guys in the brig." Outstanding, Mr. Biden!

More on recklessness

For weeks, I’ve read about scammers, bilkers and just plain stupidity by a few executives within our nation’s top companies. The Merrill Lynch dude spending all that money on remodeling his office is one of many good examples. With such news out there, it’s no wonder people are upset.

The good

Online retailer Amazon.com just reported strong earnings for the fourth quarter of 2008. Amazon’s net income increased 9 percent to $225 million, or 52 cents per share, beating predictions by more than 25 percent. The growth wasn’t extraordinary, but with online holiday shopping falling 3 percent overall, any growth looks good.

Special note

See, we do report good news. Just wanted to point that out.

The bad

The tally of job losses at IBM is continuing to climb with reports from workers suggesting that cuts are coming in the research, finance, human resources and software groups. Alliance@IBM, a Communications Workers of America affiliate trying to unionize workers at the company, says the number of jobs lost totals more than 2,800. An IBM spokesman confirmed a “resource action” (Big Blue’s term for layoffs) is occurring, but would not confirm how many jobs or in which divisions/locations. IBM employs about 11,000 people in RTP.

Glass half-full

The technology industry cut close to 186,955 jobs in 2008, up 74.2 percent from the 107,295 job cuts recorded in 2007, according to data collected by Challenger, Gray & Christmas in Chicago. The firm claims that job cuts soared 167 percent in the second half of 2008, and the velocity of cuts is going to increase in 2009. However, the total numbers aren’t expected to match 2001’s dot-com bust, when layoffs in the tech sector totaled 695,581.

Tech at the White House

President Barack Obama is our most tech-savvy president. There is no denying that, and this week he sat down with several top tech leaders to discuss the economic benefits of investing in the industry. The Technology CEO Council told the president, “An investment of $40 billion in America’s IT network infrastructure in 2009 will create more than 949,000 U.S. jobs, more than half of which will be in small businesses.”

Buying a super ad?

The cost of a 30-second spot for Super Bowl I in 1967 was $42,500 on CBS and $37,500 on NBC. It was the only year the game was broadcast on two networks. Twenty years and 20 games later that cost had spiraled to $600,000. For this year’s game, the asking price averages $2.6 million.

Big Game prediction

Since my beloved Redskins didn’t make the playoffs, it doesn’t really matter to me. Enjoy the game and/or the commercials.