Massive Layoffs Around the World

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Monday was a grim day for the global economy as companies across the employment spectrum announced more then 70,000 job cuts in the U.S. and around the world. These layoffs are coming from even the largest and sturdiest employers, with companies like Caterpillar, the world’s largest maker of construction and mining machinery, announcing the highest toll of cuts at 20,000. Others companies that announced layoffs included Sprint Nextel, the third largest wireless provider, which cut 8,000; Home Depot, which cut 7,000; General Motors, which laid off 2,000; and Texas Instruments, which cut 3,400. President Obama addressed the layoff announcements in remarks Monday morning as he urged Congress to approve an $825 billion economic stimulus package of tax cuts, emergency benefits and public spending projects. “These are not just numbers on a page,” he said. “As with the millions of jobs lost in 2008, these are working men and women whose families have been disrupted and whose dreams have been put on hold. We owe it to each of them and to every single American to act with a sense of urgency and common purpose. We can’t afford distractions and we cannot afford delays.” Indeed, economists agree that the state of the global economy is grave, and many are even surprised at just how fast it has declined and continues to plunge. However, as a result, analysts now worry that the stimulus package proposed by Obama may not help as much as will be needed. In all, 22 of the 30 companies that are part of the Dow Jones industrial average have announced job cuts since the economy took a nosedive in October. The U.S. has experienced the steepest rise in unemployment since the recession of the early 1980s, according to a recent analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, rising to 7.2 percent in December 2008, the highest rate since January 1993.

Among the biggest job cuts:
Caterpillar – 20,000
Sprint Nextel – 8,000
Pfizer – 8,000
Home Depot – 7,000
Philips – 6,000
Texas Instrument – 3,400
General Motors – 2,000
*last week: Intel – 6,000; Microsoft – 5,000
Layoffs Cut Deeper Into Economy (by Annys Shin and Neil Irwin, Washington Post)
Without Adequate Public Spending, a Catastrophic Recession for Some (by Lawrence Mishel and Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute)
Unemployment Rate (Bureau of Labor Statistics)


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