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Job Losses TODAY
AT&T, DuPont, Viacom and Credit Suisse combine to take another 20,000-plus jobs out of the work force.
By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer
Last Updated: December 4, 2008: 1:29 PM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The nation's job market, in the final month of a brutal 2008, was dealt a savage blow Thursday when four major companies - AT&T Inc., DuPont Co., Viacom Inc. and Credit Suisse Group - announced job cuts that total 20,650.
And this is just the latest bit of bad news. On Wednesday, State Street Corp., Jefferies Group and The Carlyle Group announced job cuts totaling about 3,000.
This follows a brutal November, when U.S. employers announced plans to cut 181,671 jobs, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. ADP's monthly employment report showed that private sector payrolls fell by 250,000 jobs in November compared to the prior month.
Just in the week ended Nov. 29, 509,000 Americans filed initial jobless claims, according to the Labor Department. That was less than expected by economists, but only the fifth time since 1992 that job cuts exceeded a half-million.
The department is expected to announce Friday that the nation hemorrhaged 325,000 jobs in November, according to a consensus of economists surveyed by Briefing.com.
This tally will be added to the 1.2 million jobs that were already lost in the first 10 months of the year.
Nonetheless, at least one expert says the job market isn't as bad as could be, or as bad as it's likely to get.
"This is going to be a bad recession, but it's not of Biblical proportions however," said David Wyss, chief economist for Standard & Poor's.
Just in the first 11 months of the year, job losses could match or exceed the 1.5 million job losses that occurred in a 12-month span that overlapped 1990 and 1991, said Wyss. But he noted that the current unemployment rate of 6.5% pales in comparison to 1982, when the rate was nearly 11%.
"I don't think this is the 1930s, but it's certainly the worst recession we've seen since 1982," said Wyss.
The Thursday job cuts
AT&T (T, Fortune 500), a Dallas-based telecom operator, said it would slash 12,000 jobs, totaling 4% of its workforce.
AT&T attributed the staff cuts to "economic pressures, a changing business mix and a more streamlined organizational structure" in a news release.
The telecom also said it would take a charge of $600 million in the fourth quarter to make severance payments. It said it would reduce its 2009 capital expenditures from its 2008 levels.
Credit Suisse Group (CS) said it would cut 5,300 staff jobs, 11% of its worldwide work force, as part of a restructuring effort. The majority of the cuts would be to investment bank jobs, said Chief Executive Brady Dougan.
In addition, the Zurich, Switzerland-based company said it would eliminate 1,200 contractor positions.
DuPont (DD, Fortune 500), a chemical company based in Wilmington, Del., said it would cut 2,500 jobs.
DuPont Chief Executive Charles Holliday said his company was making the cuts "in response to current market challenges" and to increase the company's competitiveness in the coming year.
DuPont said it expected a loss of 60 cents to 70 cents per share for the fourth quarter, including an 40-cent-per-share charge from the company's restructuring plan. Going forward, the company expects full-year earnings to be $2.25 to $2.75 per share in 2009.
Full-year earnings of $2.75 to $2.85 are expected for 2008, said DuPont, down from its previously announced range of $3.25 to $3.30 per share.
Viacom Inc., (VIA) an entertainment company that includes MTV Networks and Paramount Pictures, said it would cut 850 jobs, or 7% of its workforce.
Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman said it was restructuring its company "to adapt to the challenges presented by the current economic environment."
In addition to the job cuts, New York-based Viacom said it was suspending senior level management salary increases throughout 2009. The company expects the restructuring to result in pre-tax savings of $200 million to $250 million in 2009, but it will take a pre-tax charge of $400 million to $450 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, or 42 cents to 48 cents per diluted share.
Credit Suisse stock jumped 5% on the news, while DuPont rose a fraction of a percent. Viacom stock fell 1%, and AT&T was flat.
The Wednesday job cuts
This follows a slew of bad employment news on Wednesday, when State Street Corp. (STT, Fortune 500) said it was cutting from 1,600 to 1,800 workers, or 6% of its total workforce.
The Boston-based company, which provides financial services to institutional investors, said these job cuts would occur between now and the end of the first quarter of 2009. Two-thirds of the cuts will occur in North America, with the rest in Europe, Asia and the Pacific region.
Also on Wednesday, Jefferies Group (JEF) said it was shedding 18% of its work force throughout 2008, as part of a wider restructuring plan to "restore profitability in 2009." The investment bank said it planned to end the year with 2,150 staffers. That's 358 less than it started with. The company also said it was closing offices in Dubai, Singapore and Tokyo.
The Carlyle Group, a private equity investment firm based in Washington, said Wednesday that is laying off 10% of its work force, with most of the layoffs occurring in the U.S. offices. The Carlyle Group, has more than 1,000 workers, according to the company.
"The markets are terrible and we need to adjust accordingly," said Carlyle spokesman Christopher Ullman. "We're making the adjustments to deal with the current realities of the economy."
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