More companies announced layoffs on Thursday as the employment picture continued to dim.
Among the names, Eastman Kodak and AstraZeneca both announced job cuts by the thousands on fears that 2009 would be a difficult year.
Kodak will cut 4,5000 jobs this year while AstraZeneca is to layoff 6,000 positions.
The job picture has continued to dim considerably in recent weeks. On Thursday, jobless claims jumped to a record peak in mid-January, underscoring the deepening economic malaise.
The latest batch of grim data fanned worries that the year-long recession, triggered by the collapse of the U.S. housing market, could be the worst economic slump since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The number of people remaining on the benefits roll after drawing an initial week of aid, or continued claims, rose 159,000 to a higher-than-forecast 4.776 million in the week ended Jan. 17, the most recent week for which data is available.
The Labor Department said this was the highest reading since its records on this series began in 1967. Analysts had expected continued claims to be 4.65 million.
In all, more than 11 million U.S. workers are unemployed, a 48 percent jump from a year ago.
The numbers translate to roughly four job seekers for every one job opening in the United States, according to Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based think tank.
The grim job picture cuts across nearly every sector, she said. "There are literally millions of workers unemployed with no hope of finding a new job," she said.
Here is a rundown of corporate job cuts announced so far this year:
- Eastman Kodak posted an unexpected quarterly loss and said it would cut up to 4,500 jobs this yearafter suffering a dramatic decline in demand for digital cameras and commercial printing equipment.
- British drugmaker AstraZeneca posted lower fourth-quarter net income, announced 6,000 further job cuts and issued a cautious 2009 sales outlook.
- Northbrook-based Allstate said that it plans to cut about 1,000 jobs in its financial arm through a combination of attrition and job cuts over the next two years.
- Oshkosh said it was cutting its workforce by 7 percentand withdrawing its 2009 earnings forecast. The company said it was also cutting production and closing a number of facilities. Over the past year, Oshkosh has laid off about 2,400 of its 14,200 workers.
- Tool maker Black & Decker said it would cut about 1,200 jobsto curb costs while battling a further fall in demand in most of its markets in 2009.
- Ford Motor Credit, the lending and financing arm of Ford Motor , will cut about 20 percent of its U.S. staff, or about 1,200 jobs, as part of a restructuring plan announced in meetings with employees.
- Top U.S. specialty electronics chain Best Buy said about 500 of its workers accepted the voluntary exit packages.
- Time Warner's AOL will cut about 700 jobs, or 10 percent of its workforce, as it copes with an advertising slump, in a move that could make the slimmed-down company more attractive to possible merger partners.
- General Motors plans to end its controversial jobs bank program, which paid UAW workers who were not working. Chrysler ended its jobs bank program earlier this week. The 1,600 UAW workers in GM's jobs bank will be placed on layoff and must apply for unemployment benefits.
- Business-software company SAP said it would lay off 3,000 people in 2009, or nearly 6 percent of its global work force.
Retailer Pacific Sunwear said it is eliminating 47 positions at its headquarters and 10 field management positions. The move, which is aimed at lowering expenses, will reduce its headquarters and field management staff by about 11 percent.
- Starbucks will cut 6,000 positions as it closes 300 stores worldwideover the next eight months and will eliminate about 700 non-store workers by mid-February as it cuts costs to stem its eroding profits.
- TheReader's Digest Association is cutting about 280 jobs, or 8 percent, of its staff as it tries to strengthen itself against the world financial crisis. It also will stop matching contributions to U.S. employees' 401(k) retirement plans.
- Boeing announced plans to lay off an additional 10,000 employees, about 6 percent of Boeing's workforce, as it braces for a global slowdown certain to hurt aircraft sales. The latest job cuts, which include the 4,500 workers Boeing had previously said it would eliminate, came as the aerospace manufacturer reported a huge fourth-quarter loss.
- Target said it will cut roughly 600 jobs at its headquarters, leave another 400 positions unfilled and close a distribution center that employs 500 workers as it contends with weaker-than-expected sales.
- Oilfield-services provider Baker Hughes announced plans to cut about 4 percent of its work force, or about 1,500 employees.
Corning posted weaker-than-expected quarterly results and outlook due to a significant decline in demand for glass for televisions and computer monitors, and said it would eliminate up to 4,900 jobs to cut costs.
- Swiss specialty chemicals company Clariantsaid it was axing 1,000 jobsto cut costs and could shed more staff this year after it posted a 5 percent drop in full-year sales.
- Texas Instruments posted a smaller-than-expected drop in quarterly profit, but said it may post a loss in the current quarter and announced a 12 percent cut in jobs, as demand for cell phone chips fell.
- Pfizer said it is buying rival Wyeth for $68 billion in a deal that will quickly boost Pfizer's revenue and diversification.The deal came as Pfizer set out a list of issues: a 90 percent drop in income, a hefty charge to end an investigation, a severe cut in its dividend, a shockingly low profit forecast for 2009 and 8,000 job cuts starting immediately. Additionally, Pfizer also plans by 2011 to cut about 8,190 jobs, 10 percent of its workforce, as part of what it expects will be a staff reduction totaling 15 percent of the combined companies' workers—implying a total job loss of almost 20,000.
- Apparel maker Quiksilver said it will slash 200 jobsto cut costs in a worsening retail environment.
- General Motors announced it is laying off 2,000 workers in Ohio and Michigan and plans to schedule extra down time at 14 plants.
Caterpillar , the world's largest maker of construction and mining machines, which also reported lower-than expected fourth-quarter earnings, said it is laying off 17,000 workers, and buying out 2,500 others to reduce costs.
Sprint Nextel , the No. 3 U.S. mobile service provider, will cut up to 8,000 jobs, or about 14 percent of its workforce, as part of a plan to reduce labor costs by $1.2 billion a year.
- Home Depot plans to eliminate 7,000 jobs while closing four dozen stores under its smaller home improvement brands as the recession continues to batter the nation's housing market. Its shares climbed more than 5 percent in morning trading.
- Writedowns of more than 1 billion euros pushed Philips Electronics deep into the red in the fourth quarter, and it will cut 6,000 jobsto cope with a steep downturn that has hurt its consumer business.
- Farm-equipment maker Deeresays it will lay off almost 700 workers at factories in Brazil and Iowa.
- U.S. chemical maker Huntsman said it plans to cut about 1,175 jobs, or about 9 percent of its workforce, by year-end to reduce costs and tackle the huge slump in chemical demand.
- Microsoft announced it would cut up to 5,000 jobsand said it could no longer offer profit forecasts for the rest of the fiscal year.
- Intel said it would close sites in Asia and scale back operations in the United States as part of a restructuring that could affect as many as 6,000 jobs.
- UAL announced it will further reduce the number of salaried and management employees by approximately 1,000 positions by the end of 2009. This is in addition to the 1,500 positions the company announced in the second quarter.
- Diversified U.S. manufacturer Eaton said it planned to cut 5,200 jobs, or about 6 percent of its work force, in an effort to further slash costs in the face of a struggling economy.
- Time Warner's Warner Bros. Entertainment said it would cut about 800 jobs, or 10 percent of its worldwide staff in coming weeks.
- Lee Enterprises , which publishes 49 daily newspapers including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, said its quarterly profit on a preliminary basis fell 69 percent and cut its staffing by more than 10 percent.
- Rohm and Haas said it plans to cut 900 jobs, or 5.5 percent of its workforce, in a bid to tackle the slump in demand and widespread market weakness.
- Bank of America may slash as much as 4,000 jobs in its capital markets units starting this week. The cuts are expected to be in New York and reflect the consolidation of the bank’s sales and trading businesses after it bought Merrill Lynch three weeks ago.
- Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, majority owner of automaker Chrysler, announced it may cut about 10 percent of its worldwide staff.
- Clear Channel Communications , which operates radio stations and outdoor advertising space, plans to lay off about 1,500 employees—mostly in ad sales—of the 20,000 work force in the United States.
- ConocoPhillips , citing a steep decline in oil and gas prices, saidit will cut 4 percent of its workforce and sees big writedowns on some of its exploration and production assets.
- Pfizerplans to lay off as many as 2,400 sales staff this quarter in a continuing reorganization. The drugmaker has already cut about 15,000 jobs in the past two years, including 800 research jobs earlier this week, to downsize before the company's $12 billion-a-year.
- General Electric's GE Capital unit will cut between 7,000 and 11,000 jobs. GE had said it would reduce costs at GE Capital by about $2 billion this year, according to the report.
- Advanced Micro Devices plans to cut 1,100 jobs, 9 percent of its global staff, and slash the remaining employees' pay as the chip maker hopes its third round of layoffs in a year can help it get through a brutal market for computer sales.
- Insurance company WellPoint said that it would eliminate about 1,500 positions, or about 3.5 percent of its workforce, to reduce administrative costs.
- Rental car company Hertz Global said Friday it will eliminate more than 4,000 jobs worldwide as it further cuts costs amid slowing demand.
Delta Air Lines , which took over rival Northwest Airlines last year, said it expects about 2,000 staff to opt for an early retirement program as it aims to trim capacity as much as 8 percent this year.
- Autodesk is cutting 750 jobs, or about 10 percent of its work force to cut expenses and expects to report a loss rather than a profit for the fourth quarter.
- Marshall & Ilsley is cutting 830 jobs, or 8 percent of the total. It said 80 percent of the cuts had already been made. It also began a program to reduce costs by $100 million a year, and said no executive officers will receive bonuses for 2008.
- Hybrid electric and electric powertrain maker Azure Dynamics said it would reduce its workforce by about 25 percent as part of a cost-reduction plan.
- Motorola said it would cut another 4,000 jobs, as it forecast a fourth-quarter loss and weaker-than-expected handset sales. The company had previously announced a plan to cut 3,000 jobs in October 2008.
- MeadWestvaco , which makes paper and plastic products, said it will cut some 2,000 employees, or about 10 percent of its work force, as it accelerates cost savings
- Google said it was closing three engineering offices and cutting 100 recruiters as the recession dampens hiring. Computer equipment maker Seagate Technology also said it will eliminate 2,950 jobs, or 6 percent of its work force.
- Seagate Technology is cutting thousands of jobs and slashing some employees' salaries by as much as 25 percent, a surprise move coming just a few days after the company changed chief executives and announced it was cutting 800 U.S.-based workers.
- St. Paul-based sanitizer and detergent maker Ecolab laid off 1,000 workers in response to the economy that has dramatically affected the company's restaurant and hotel customers.
- The nation's largest book store chain Barnes & Noble said it would cut nearly 100 jobs at its corporate headquarters in New York, due mostly to reduced store openings and consolidated operations at its retail and online segments. The company said it would provide affected employees with an enhanced severance plan and healthcare benefits for the next 12 months, as well as job placement counseling and transition seminars.
- Barclays was the latest major banking institution to announce big layoffs, revealing its plans to cut 2,100 jobs in its retail and commercial banking units, adding to redundancies of the same size in its investment banking arms announced earlier in the year.
- Dutch financial services group ING said it will cut 750 U.S. jobs as part of a global program to cope with the economic slowdown.
- Software giant Oracle announced it will cut around 500 positions in its North American sales and consulting business. However, this is not as much as some people had speculated.
- Visteon said it cut salaries for about 2,000 white-collar employees by 20 percent at its facilities in Michigan and adopted a four-day workweek there for the month of January. Visteon will also suspend matching payments for 401K employee retirement plans and reduce new hiring, it said.
- U.S. manufacturer Cummins it would cut its global white-collar workforce by at least 800 and reduce its top executives' pay by 10 percent next year to save money during the deepening recession.
- LexmarkInternational announced that its fourth-quarter sales came in worse than expected,prompting a decision to cut 250 jobsand transfer roughly 125 more to lower-cost countries in the coming months.
- Drugstore operator Walgreen said it will cut 1,000 jobs by mid-year, or about 9 percent of corporate management, through a combination of voluntary buyouts and layoffs.
- Boeing , the world's second-largest airplane maker, plans to cut about 3 percent, or about 4,500 positisons, of its work force as a weakening global economy lowers demand for jetliners. Many of the cuts will be in areas not directly associated with aircraft production. This will be the company’s second round of layoffs after cutting 800 workers in November 2008.
- Cigna said it will cut about 1,100 jobs and consolidate some offices because of the flagging economy and won't give pay raises to salaried employees this year.
- Alcoa said it will eliminate 13,500 jobs, or 13 percent of its work force, in order to conserve cash and cut costs in the face of the global economic downturn.
- Schlumberger , the world's largest oilfield services provider, plans to shed 5 percent of its North American workforce, or 1,000 jobs, and is looking at cuts elsewhere, a spokesman said on Thursday.
- Oilfield service company Halliburton also confirmed it will begin laying off workers but hasn't said how many or when.
Sources: AP, Reuters, with CNBC.com staff.