The bleak start to 2009 for the labor market continued today with several major companies — from a wide range of industries — announcing big cutbacks to their workforce. Among U.S. corporations, the layoffs amounted to 45,000.
The most significant reduction came from heavy-equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Inc., which says it will trim 20,000 jobs worldwide. Sprint Nextel will cut 8,000 jobs and Home Depot will slash 7,000.
For more, here’s a recap of the job losses from the New York Times.
The United States economy has dropped some 2.59 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007, and unemployment rose to 7.2 percent last month. Economists worry that the economy could now be losing as many as 600,000 jobs a month, and they said Monday’s layoff announcements served to underline the stricken state of the labor market. Last week, the government reported that first-time unemployment claims had risen to 589,000 for the week ending Jan. 17, tying a record high set in December.
“This is a big deal,” said Dean Baker, a director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “We’re losing jobs at an incredibly rapid rate, and even with that, I’m worried they’re accelerating. We’re seeing a much more rapid rate of layoff announcements.”
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