Layoffs return with a vengeance as large companies cut again

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The "Year of the Layoff" was supposed to be over now that the economy is improving and most large companies have fired as many people as they reasonably can. Productivity gains can only squeeze so much out of a shrinking work force.

But American companies are aggressively chopping their workforces again, and that raises the question of whether unemployment will continue to grow at the rate of almost 200,000 jobs per month well into 2010.