Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Another 14,000 job cuts

The job toll continued Tuesday morning, as four major companies - Sony Corp., Danaher Corp., Wyndham Worldwide and Novellus Systems - announced cuts totaling more than 14,000 positions.

Sony, Danaher and Wyndham announced job cuts totaling 13,700 positions. Novellus said it was cutting 10% of its global work force without specifying a number of employees, but the company had a headcount of 3,678 staffers on Dec. 12, 2007.

Sony (SNE), based in Tokyo, on Tuesday announced the most sweeping job-cutting plan of the three companies. Sony said it planned to "reduce headcount" in its electronics business by 8,000 jobs by March 30, 2010. The cuts will be implemented worldwide, the company said, from a total workforce of 160,000, according to a Sept. 30 headcount.

Sony, which produces a wide variety of consumer electronics, blamed "the acute downturn in the economic climate" for the job cuts. The company also said it was reducing its seasonal and temporary staff.

The Wyndham Hotel Group (WYN), based in Parsippany, N.J.., said late Monday it would "eliminate" about 4,000 positions through the first quarter of 2009. Wyndham's hotels include Ramada, Days Inn and Super 8 chains.

Danaher Corp (DHR, Fortune 500)., a manufacturer based in Washington, said late Monday that it was "eliminating" about 1,700 jobs and 13 facilities in the fourth quarter, to save about $100 million in 2009. The company blamed the "current economic backdrop."

Danaher makes tools, sensors and medical equipment.

Novellus (NVLS), a provider of equipment for the semiconductor industry, said on Tuesday that it was cutting one-tenth of its work force "through a combination of attrition and layoffs." The company, based in San Jose, Calif., said the reductions would occur through Jan. 31, 2009.

Job cuts have been mounting all year. According to the Labor Department, the U.S. economy hemorrhaged 533,000 jobs in November, the largest monthly loss in 34 years. Through November, the economy lost of total of 1.9 million jobs, the government said, raising the unemployment rate to 6.7%.

This does not include December's brutal onslaught of job eliminations. Just in one day - Dec. 4 - 11 companies announced a total of 24,914 job cuts. Nearly half of that toll comes from one company: the Dallas-based telecom AT&T (T, Fortune 500).

Also in December, Dow Chemical (DOW, Fortune 500) said it was eliminating 5,000 positions and closing 20 plants. The battered automaker General Motors (GM, Fortune 500), which is awaiting a bailout decision from Congress and the White House, said it was cutting 2,000 jobs. The engine-maker Cummins plans to eliminated 500 white-collar positions by the end of the year. In addition, State Street Corp (STT, Fortune 500)., Jefferies Group (JEF) and The Carlyle Group announced job cuts totaling 3,000.

On Thursday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its weekly report on initial jobless claims. The government is expected to announce 525,000 total jobless claims for the week ended Dec. 6, according to a consensus of economists compiled by Briefing.com.

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