Saturday, January 31, 2009

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Job cuts exceed 100,000 for the week

In a brutal week for the job market, an assortment of companies across various industries announced more than 100,000 job cuts.

The bulk of the job loss news occurred on Monday, when several major U.S. companies announced sweeping job cuts, pushing the day's total to more than 70,000.

Pfizer (PFE, Fortune 500), the leading drugmaker in terms of annual pharma sales, and Caterpillar (CAT, Fortune 500), a heavy equipment manufacturer based in Peoria, Ill., each said they would cut 20,000 jobs. These are the biggest reported eliminations among U.S.-based companies.

Caterpillar Chief Executive Jim Owens blamed the "rapidly deteriorating global economy" in his quarterly earnings report. Later, on Friday, Caterpillar added another 2,110 job cuts to its previously announced reductions, bringing its tally to more than 22,000.

Boeing (BA, Fortune 500) announced its massive layoffs on Wednesday. The Chicago-based airplane manufacturer said 10,000 workers, including 4,500 previously announced reductions, would lose their jobs. The company blamed this on dwindling demand for its aircraft.

Chico's (CHS), a retailer of women's clothing based in Fort Myers, Fla., said on Friday that it was cutting 180 positions. The retail industry has been hard-hit in recent months by a slow-down in consumer spending, partly because so many people have lost their jobs.

Also on Friday, the newspaper publisher A.H. Belo (AHC) said it was cutting 500 jobs. Chief Executive Robert Decherd, in a letter to colleagues, blamed the "rapid deterioration in the U.S. economy."


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