12 Biggest U.S. Job-Killing Companies

The nation's anemic recovery continues to create jobs, albeit at a pace that is failing not only to keep pace with population growth, but also with a rising number of layoffs.

Job cuts have come fast and furious in recent weeks, as businesses as diverse as pharmaceutical companies, retailers, state governments and federal agencies have announced that tens of thousands of positions will be eliminated.

During the past three months, increasing numbers of U.S. employers have divulged plans to reduce employment, according to a new report released Wednesday from Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

In July, the number of planned job cuts surged to a 16-month high of 66,414 -- a 60 percent increase from June, the Chicago-based employment-services firm said.

Here's a list of employers who have announced big job cuts this year, as compiled with the help of CGC:

boston scientific12. Boston Scientific

Number of Jobs Killed: 1,400

Boston Scientific said last month that it plans to eliminate up to 1,400 jobs as part of a restructuring program that seeks to save $225 million to $275 million by 2013. The cuts equal about 6 percent of the Natick, Mass.-based medical device maker, and come despite a near-50 percent rise in second-quarter profits.

11-9. *Tie* Abbott Laboratories, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, and Wells Fargo

Number of Jobs Killed: 1,900

These varied companies had different reasons for reducing headcount, but each said that they would do so by the same number. Abbott's cut of 1,900 jobs, announced in January, resulted from restructuring that followed a series of disappointments in its drug-development program. In February, tire-maker Goodyear, meanwhile, said that it would close its Union City manufacturing plant in Tennessee because the factory was no longer competitive. And banking-giant Wells Fargo announced that it would eliminate 1,900 jobs at its mortgage unit in April, following a slowdown in loan applications amid a slumbering real estate market.

8. United Space Alliance

Number of Jobs Killed: 1,950

A major contractor for NASA, United Space Alliance announced in April that it would cut 1,950 jobs as the U.S. space agency began winding down its space shuttle program. The last of those flights was completed last month with the return of the Atlantis space shuttle. The end of the flights is expected to reduce United Space Alliance's headcount by about half -- to around 2,800.

7. Medtronic

Number of Jobs Killed: 2,000

Another maker of medical devices, Medtronic said in February that a plan to eliminate 2,000 jobs through a combination of layoffs and by not filling positions left open by those who quit or retire. The cuts, part of a restructuring effort to make up for disappointing sales of implants, seek to reduce the Minnesota company's 41,000-strong workforce by 4 to 5 percent.

6. Perkins & Marie Callender's

Number of Jobs Killed: 2,500

Though restaurants tend to be more recession-proof than many industries, increased competition and the weak economy forced Perkins & Marie Callender's to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June. The plans call for the shuttering of 65 stores and the elimination of 2,500 jobs -- about 20 percent of the Memphis, Tenn.-based company's total workforce.

5-4. *Tie* Cisco Systems and Lockheed Martin

Number of Jobs Killed: 6,500

Cisco Systems announced on July 19 that it was eliminating 6,500 positions, or roughly 9 percent of its global workforce, as part of the Silicon Valley-based computer networking giant's restructuring plan. The bulk of the cuts -- two-thirds -- will come from layoffs, with the remainder attained through early retirements. On the same day, Lockheed Martin said it was offering a voluntary layoff program to about 6,500 U.S.-based employees -- just the latest in a string of recent moves to cut jobs at the world's largest defense contractor. A majority of the jobs are situated in the Washington, D.C., area, but workers in Orlando and Lakeland, Fla., as well as Denver, are also affected

3. U.S. Postal Service

Number of Jobs Killed: 7,500

The nation's mail deliverer raised lots of eyebrows last month when it announced plans to close nearly 3,700 post offices, many in rural areas, and eliminate thousands of jobs as it seeks to stem losses that last fiscal year totaled $8.5 billion. But it was earlier this year -- in March -- that the agency first announced plans to close offices and eliminate 7,500 jobs in total during the next two years. The first round of those cuts took place last spring, with the remainder expected to be completed by March 2012.

2. Borders Group

Number of Jobs Killed: 10,700

The once-dominant book and music seller struggled to maintain a foothold in an era of online sales and consumer enthusiasm for e-books. Unable to find a buyer for its business, the Michigan-based retailer said that it was closing shop, resulting in the loss of 10,700 jobs.

1. Merck & Co.

Number of Jobs Killed: 13,000

The maker of consumer products, prescription medications and animal vaccines plans to cut as many as 13,000 jobs by 2015, it announced last week. The company, which employs about 90,000 workers worldwide, is taking the difficult step, CEO Kenneth Frazier said in a statement, "so that we can grow profitably and continue to deliver on our mission well into the future." About 35 to 40 percent of the cuts will take place in the U.S., and will include administrative jobs at the company's headquarters in Whitehouse, N.J. Merck cited increased competition as the need for slimming its workforce.

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