Layoffs Accelerate at Large Companies


While a few companies, such as Apple (AAPL), are churning out profits and radiating success, the economy of course remains weak in general. Many business are responding to fiscal difficulty with layoffs, some of them quite significant. Below is a list of job cuts announced recently, hitting workers at several of the largest corporations.

Gallery: IN PHOTOS: Companies Facing Layoffs

Layoffs gallery
Layoffs gallery

BNY Mellon (BK) will cut three percent of its workforce, laying off approximately 1,500 employees, as a cost-cutting measure. According to CEO Bob Kelly, revenue has been growing but "expenses have been growing unsustainably faster."

Merck (MRK) plans to cut up to 13,000 jobs worldwide by 2015, on top of almost 17,000 layoffs planned after its 2009 merger with Schering-Plough. This new round of job cuts represents a 12-13% reduction in employment and is intended, in the words of CEO Kenneth Frazier, to address "the need to operate more flexibly and nimbly, from a lower cost base."

HSBC (HBC) will cut around 10,000 jobs, three percent of its worldwide workforce, as part of an aggressive cost-cutting campaign. Stuart T. Gulliver, CEO since January, has said he wants to reduce operating expenses by at least $2.5 billion over two to three years, and plans to do so in part by selling HSBC's bankcard business in the U.S.

In addition to peers HSBC, Credit Suisse, and Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs (GS) is reportedly looking to lay off as many as 1,000 employees in order to boost its bottom line. The secretive firm said only that its cuts would be broad-based but were unlikely to be significant in its growth markets, where investment would continue.

In late July, beleaguered smartphone maker Research in Motion (RIMM) said it would cut 10.5 percent of its employees, or around 2,000 workers. Competition from Google and Android has eaten into the company's profitability and share price, and its foray into the tablet computer market -- the Blackberry Playbook – has so far fizzled.

In July, Cisco (CSCO) announced an effort to save $1 billion that would entail the elimination of 6,5000 employees – 2,100 early retirements and 4,400 layoffs. Management is not immune: In fact, vice presidents and higher are to be cut by 15%, while the full-time, regular workforce sees a 9% reduction.

Barclays (BCS), which already shed 1,400 jobs this year, is said to be preparing for another round of cuts in the second half of 2011, targeting the same figure (or slightly more). The layoffs come on the heels of a fall in profits, which were down by a third.

In June, Sears Holding Corporation (SHLD), employer of 300,000, announced it would cut 700 workers from the more expensive appliances departments at Kmart. Some may have been transferred; remaining employees were trained to answer customers' questions.

Government contractor Lockheed Martin (LMT) -total workforce: 126,00-said in June that it would cut 1,500 jobs from its Aeronautics division. In July, the company announced a voluntary layoff program for 6,500 more employees, offering a severance package to all salaried U.S. workers at corporate headquarters and internal business services.

As Delta Air Lines (DAL) cut back on its number of flights, 2,000 workers took voluntary buyouts near the end of July. That's out of a total workforce of over 80,000.