The job picture continued to dim considerably in recent weeks, particularly in the financial sector, as Citigroup confirmed it would be cutting as many as 53,000 jobs, while JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America announced deep staff cuts as they absorb fallen financial institutions, Washington Mutual and Merrill Lynch, respectively.
The pain is global. On December 2 European bank heavyweights Credit Suisse and HSBC Holdings announced they were axing hundreds of jobs in Britain as the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression bites.
The cuts are the latest in a wave of job losses in which over 100,000 jobs have been axed at major global financial institutions since September.
In the US the Labor Department said new claims for unemployment benefits jumped to a 16-year high in late November, providing more evidence of a rapidly weakening job market expected to get even worse next year.
New applications for jobless benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 542,000 which was much higher than Wall Street economists' expectations of 505,000,
That is also the highest level of claims since July 1992, the department said.
The latest moves in the banking sector come amid an overall wave of layoffs across the United States, and Europe, as companies move to cut costs in the face of slackening demand and a general economic downturn.
Indeed, the National Association of Business Economists' recent poll of 50 professional forecasters said U.S. economy is in recession and will contract at a faster pace in the fourth quarter. The unemployment rate was likely to peak at 7.5 percent by the third quarter of 2009. The latest jobs report put the unemployment at 6.5 percent, a 15-year high.
Here's a rundown of some of the recently announced job cuts: (source: Reuters, with CNBC staff):
- At least 10,000 employees at Merrill Lynch, are expected to be laid off as Bank of America absorbs the investment bank. Pink slips could start being delivered as soon as this week, sources have told CNBC. Together the two firms had 260,000 employees, about 50,000 in investment banking.
- Bank of America, the second-largest U.S. bank by assets, said in June it expected to eliminate about 7,500 jobs over the next two years after the completion of its acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp, the largest U.S. mortgage lender.
- JPMorgan Chase said on December 1 it will eliminate about 9,200 jobs at the former Washington Mutual, which on Sept. 25 became the largest U.S. bank to fail. The cuts amount to more than 21 percent of the work force at WaMu, which ended June with 43,198 employees. The cuts follow earlier reports JPMorgan Chase would lay off 10 percent of its investment banking staff —about 3,000 jobs—as the economy cratered.
- Switzerland-based Credit Suisse said on December 2 it was cutting 650 jobs in the United Kingdom, equivalent to roughly 3 percent of its investment banking workforce of about 21,300. Credit Suisse has axed more than 2,000 jobs, the majority in investment banking in the last year since 2007.
Britain's HSBC , Europe's biggest bank, said on December 2 it was cutting 500 jobs at its UK banking business following a review of the business. HSBC, which employs 58,000 people in Britain, slashed 1,100 investment banking jobs in September, about 4 percent of its workforce.
- India's steelmaker ArcelorMittal plans to indefinitely lay-off 2,444 employees from its Indiana plant which comes after the company's previously announced plan to reduce production in North America by 40 percent. Worldwide the firm announced announced plans November 28 it was to eliminate up to 9,000 white-collar employees to lower by $1bn its overall costs amid an economic slowdown.
- Philips Electronics said November 25 it plans to cut
1,600 jobs, roughly 5 percent of the 32,000 employees at its health care division.
- The Swedish construction behemoth, Skanska (OMX Stockholm:SKA B) also announced November 25 that it plans to cut its workforce by 3,400 from its 60,000 worldwide employee base, to reflect an expected a 15% drop in new orders in 2009.
- The jobs cull continued apace in the banking industry as Royal Bank of Scotland announced at the weekend it was preparing to cut 3,000 staff from its investment banking business, which has 21,000 staff in 50 locations across the globe.
- The Bank of New York Mellon said Thursday it will cut its
worldwide work force by 4 percent, or about 1,800 jobs, blaming the weak global
- Deutsche Bank is going to cut 900 jobs from its London and New York offices.
- Neptune Orient Lines the world's seventh-largest container carrier, said on Wednesday it will shed 9 percent of its workforce—about 1,000 jobs, mostly in North America— and warned of a grim outlook for the shipping sector.
- The Associated Press plans to cut up to 10 percent of its workforce in 2009—roughly 400 employees—according to sources at the news service, as it copes with tough financial times and ailing member newspapers.
- In Europe, French carmaker Peugeot Citroen said it would cut 2,700 jobs, engine maker Roll-Royce said it expects up to 2,000 job cuts next year, while Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca anticipated 1,400 job losses over coming years.
- Boeing announced plans on November 19 to cut approximately 800 positions at a Wichita, Kansas plant, due to delays in the U.S. Air Force tanker-replacement project and the end of other programs. The layoffs, which will hit managers and both salaried and hourly workers, will take place mostly in the first half of 2009.
Citigroup is cutting as many as 53,000 jobs in its investment bank and other divisions throughout the world. (Read more here).
- Sun Microsystems said it plans to cut up to 6,000 jobs, or 18 percent of its global work force, as sales of high-end servers have collapsed.
- BT Group , the UK telecommunications firm, will cut 10,000 jobs, or 6.3% of its global work force, in the first quarter of 2009.
- Applied Materials, the semiconductor-and-solar panel equipment maker, is slashing 1,800 jobs, the company annonnced after reporting four-quarter profits fell 45% on weak sales due to declining corporate technology spending.
- Circuit City , which is filing for bankruptcy, is laying off about 17 percent of its domestic work force, which could affect up to 7,300 people.
- Deutsche Post , German mail and logistics company Deutsche Post will cut 9,500 jobs at its DHL unit in the U.S. and eliminate U.S.-only domestic express shipping.The new round of cuts, which will see the shedding of 7,000 in a single town, Wilmington, Ohio (pop. 12,00) that has been the hub of DHL's five-year effort to take on US rivals UPS and FedEx on their home turf, are on top of another 5,400 job cuts it already announced.
- Nortel Networks plans to lay off 1,300 workers, nearly 5 percent of its workforce.
- Motorola posted a third-quarter net loss and revenue fell a steeper-than-expected 15 percent, as a result the telecom equipment maker will slash 3,000 jobs in a cost-cutting effort.
- Ford said it would cut 2,260 white-collar workers in North America.
- General Motors , which previously said it would reduce salaried employment costs by 20 percent, will also cut another 1,900 salaried jobs on top of the 5,100 announced last summer. GM also said it is reducing some employee benefits, including 401 k contributions and other programs.
- Fidelity Investments will start laying off about 2.9 percent of its global workforce later this month—affecting 1,288 workers in the first round from a workforce of 44,4000—and plans to trim more workers early next year.
- Toy maker Mattel Inc. says it is cutting some 1,000 positions worldwide in response to the ongoing economic downturn. The El Segundo-based company says the positions amount to 3 percent of the company's worldwide workforce and will reduce its professional and management staff by 8 percent. Cuts will come from a combination of layoffs, attrition and retirements, the company said.
- Goldman Sachs notified roughly 3,200 employees this month that they have been laid off, part of previously reported plans to slash 10 percent of the firm's global work force. The move comes after laying off hundreds of support staff and junior bankers in June. The company had a record 32,569 employees in August and the latest cuts reduce headcount to the lowest since 2006.
- Barclay's plans to cut about 3,000 jobs as it brings Lehman Brothers into its fold. Lehman, which filed for bankruptcy last month, had 26,000 employees. About 10,000 have been given jobs until at least the end of the year.
- The lack of merger and acquisitions and initial public offerings is hitting Morgan Stanley hard. The U.S. investment bank said on July 31 it was finished cutting jobs, having slashed 4,800 jobs in the past year but some analysts expect Morgan could lay off 15 percent of its work force.
- Wachovia, said in August it would cut 6,950 jobs, 600 more than it had previously disclosed.
UBS said at the beginning of October it would cut another 2,000 jobs at its troubled investment bank. The job losses come on top of 7,000 jobs already cut, about 4,100 of which were in investment banking positions cut in the past year. The bank will have reduced its headcount by more than 10 percent to under 80,000.
Commerzbank announced its plan to cut 9,000 jobs in the wake of its agreement to purchase Dresdner Bank from Allianz . About 2,500 jobs of the 9,000 cuts will be outside Germany.
UniCredit, Europe's fourth-largest bank said in June it would shed 9,000 posts out of 100,000 in Germany, Austria and its domestic base Italy.
First American, the largest U.S. title insurer, by reported revenue said last month it cut 1,250 jobs in the third quarter, bringing the total for the year to about 2,950, or 8 percent of its workforce. It has cut roughly 6,500 jobs since the first quarter of 2007.
- National City Corp said this month it planned to reduce 4,000 jobs, or 14 percent of its workforce, over three years to save $500 million to $600 million annually by 2011.
- Computer maker Dell, which is nearing the end of nearly 9,000 job cuts, has asked employees to consider taking up to five days of unpaid vacation, is offering voluntary severance packages and has instituted a global hiring freeze.
- Nissan announced layoffs affecting 2,500 salaried jobs overseas and 1,000 temporary posts in Japan amid plans to cut vehicle productions globally.
- Privately held Chrysler said it was cutting about 5,000 salaried employees. Earlier in the month, it said was slashing 1,825 jobs as the result of plant closings.
- Money manager Janus Capital said it would cut 9 percent of its staff a day after rival AllianceBernstein said it would make unprecedented job cuts.
- Xerox announced job cuts of 5 percent, or 3,000 positions, due to a "tough business environment."
- Hewlett-Packard is laying off more than 24,00 employees due to weak technology spending and the integration of tech-services giant Electronic Data Systems, which H-P acquired earlier this year for $13.25 billion.
- Mining equipment maker Terex said it would lay off hundreds of workers and suspend its share buyback program to preserve cash.
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide said it plans to cut an unspecified number of jobs to offset slowing travel demand.
- American Century says is plans to cut 270 jobs this week, reducing workforce by 17 percent. They insist that no portfolio managers are to be affected by the impending job cuts.
- Merck announced plans to cut 12 percent of its workforce, citing a need to change its business model in order to survive.
- Fidelity National Financial , which controls one of the largest U.S. title insurers, announced 1,000 job cuts, office closings, a 10 percent pay cut and a 50 percent dividend cut, which comes on top of 1,600 job eliminations in the April-to-June period.
- Biotechnology company Maxygen plans to cut nearly 30 percent of its workforce and explore strategic options due to the current financial environment
- Popular Inc. , parent of Banco Popular, is cutting 600 positions and more than a quarter of its branches in the United States.