The 17 Biggest Mass Layoff Announcements Of The Past Year

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Photo: TheeErin / Flickr

The January U.S. jobs report just came out, and it showed that the unemployment rate climbed to 7.9 per cent and companies added just 157k jobs. Despite beginning its recovery in early 2009, the labour market recovery continues to be painfully slow.

Part of the problem is that companies continue to layoff employees in their efforts to control costs.

With the help of Bloomberg, we compiled a list of the 17 biggest layoff announcements of the past year.

The companies include banks, airlines, and consumer goods companies.  But the tech companies dominate the rankings.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier, we wrote that USG Corp had announced 4,700 layoffs in the past year.  USG actually laid off 30 employees in 2012.  Accumulated layoffs from 2006 to 2012 add up to 4,700. As such, USG has been removed from the ranking.

17. Yahoo Inc: 2,000

per cent of Employees Cut:
14.18%

Number of Employees After Cuts:
14,100

Just three months after Yahoo's new CEO, Scott Thompson took charge, in April the company announced that it would be laying off 2,000 employees. The cuts would save the company $375 million annually, and help revive slumping earnings and a stock price.

Source: Huffington Post, Bloomberg

16. First Solar: 2,000

per cent of Employees Cut:
28.57%

Number of Employees After Cuts:
7,000

First Solar announced that it would layoff almost a third of its workforce early last year, as it was planning on shutting down operations in Germany completely, and on letting its operations in Malaysia sit idle. The European market for green energy had deteriorated for too much to sustain business operations, according to the company.

Source: Business Insider, Bloomberg

15. Colgate-Palmolive Co: 2,316

per cent of Employees Cut:
6%

Number of Employees After Cuts:
38,600

Colgate-Palmolive, which makes a variety of consumer products like shampoo and toothpaste, announced that it would be laying off 2,316 employees by 2016, in an effort to cut costs, after its third quarter earnings dipped by 1% year-over-year. The layoffs would save the company more than $365 million annually.

Source: The Motley Fool, Bloomberg

14. Best Buy: 2,400

per cent of Employees Cut:
1.44%

Number of Employees After Cuts:
167,000

Thanks to showrooming and online retailers like Amazon.com eating into its Best Buy's market share, the brick-and-mortar has to announce half way through 2012 that it would be closing 50 stores and, as a result, laying off 2,400 retail employees as a way of cutting costs.

Source: Yahoo, Bloomberg

13. The Dow Chemical Co: 2,400

per cent of Employees Cut:
4.64%

Number of Employees After Cuts:
51,705

Due to falling sales and declining profits, The Dow Chemical Co. announced late last year that it would be closing 20 plants globally, which would mean that 2,400 of its employees would get a pink slip.

Source: Mlive, Bloomberg

12. Supervalu Inc: 2,500

per cent of Employees Cut:
1.92%

Number of Employees After Cuts:
130,000

Supervalu, which ows the Albertsons supermarket chain, announced at the start of 2012 that it would layoff 2,500 of it's employees in its California and Nevada Albertsons stores because of declining demand. Supervalu is also trying to cut costs while it expands its private-label brands.

Source: Bloomberg

11. Google: 4,000

per cent of Employees Cut:
12.09%

Number of Employees After Cuts:
33,077

Google acquired Motorola last year, and as a part of its efforts to turn the mobile phone maker into a more profitable operation, the company announced that it plans let go of 4,000 Motorola employees.

Source: Marketwatch, Bloomberg

10. Ford Motor: 4,300

per cent of Employees Cut:
2.5%

Number of Employees After Cuts:
172,000

Failing demand in Europe is costing the American car maker a lot of money, so much so that they had to shut down one of the their plants in Belgium last year, and had to let 4,500 employees go.

Source: Yahoo, Bloomberg

9. Canadian Pacific Railways: 4,500

per cent of Employees Cut:
27.39%

Number of Employees After Cuts:
16,428

Canadian Pacific Railway will eliminate more than a quarter of it's workforce over the next 3 years, announced its new CEO Hunter Harrison announced late last year. The freight transport company is also considering selling some of their assets, including the Dakota Minnesota & Eastern Railroad and a Midwestern U.S. line. Investors are reacting positively to these changes, Morgan Stanley recently added the company's stock to their top picks in 2013.

Source: Twin Cities, Bloomberg

8. Research In Motion Ltd: 5,000

per cent of Employees Cut:
Not available

Number of Employees After Cuts:
Not available

Research In Motion profits have been tumbling this year, as Android and Apple devices are eating into more of its market share. The company, which produces Blackberry phones, announced half way through 2012 that it would layoff 5,000 employees in an effort to restructure.

Source: Business Insider, Bloomberg

7. American Express Co: 5,400

per cent of Employees Cut:
8.5%

Number of Employees After Cuts:
63,500

American Express recently announced that it would be letting go of 5,400 employees in 2013 as it shifts more of its customer service online.

Source: CNBC, Bloomberg

6: IBM: 8,000

per cent of Employees Cut:
1.85%

Number of Employees After Cuts:
433,362

IBM announced that it would layoff 8,000 employees from all segments from the company's business, from services to software, in an effort to restructure the company and cut costs.

Source: Reuters, Bloomberg

5. PepsiCo Inc: 8,700

per cent of Employees Cut:
2.93%

Number of Employees After Cuts:
297,000

At the begin ing of 2012, PepsiCo predicted that their profits would decline that year, and decided to make up for it by cutting costs. They announced that they would be laying off 8,700 employees in the U.S. and boosting their marketing budget by about $500-$600 million.

Source: Huffington Post, Bloomberg

4. Lockheed Martin Corp: 10,000

per cent of Employees Cut:
8.13%

Number of Employees After Cuts:
123,000

In the fourth quarter of 2012, government defence spending fell at the fastest rate in 40 years, and defence manufactured Lockheed Martin Corp saw it coming. By 2012, the company had already cut back and let go of 26,000 employees, or 18% of its workforce, but in July, it said that it would need to let of at least 10,000 more if defence cuts went into effect. Which happened.

Source: Business Insider, Bloomberg

3. Citigroup: 11,000

per cent of Employees Cut:
4.21%

Number of Employees After Cuts:
261,000

Citigroup, which still quite hasn't recovered from the financial crisis, announced in December that it was going to layoff 11,000 employees so that it could shrink the bank to a smaller, more profitable size. The bank has been cutting costs since 2007, but investors have complained that it hasn't done so quickly enough. Citi expects the layoff to save them about $1.1 billion.

Source: Reuters, Bloomberg

2. AMR Corp: 13,000

per cent of Employees Cut:
16.23%

Number of Employees After Cuts:
80,100

American Airlines' bankrupt parent company AMR Corp. announced that it would be laying off 13,000 employees in February 2012. Tom Horton, the CEO said that the company must reduce employee-related costs by $1.25 billion per year if it is to emerge from bankruptcy a stronger company. Unionized AMR employees went on strike to protest layoffs.

Source: BizJournals, Bloomberg

1. Hewlett-Packard: 29,000

per cent of Employees Cut:
8.3%

Number of Employees After Cuts:
349,600

HP really hasn't had a very good year, what with having to take an $8.8 billion write down because it turned out Autonomy, the company they bought in 2011, wasn't worth nearly as much as they'd paid for it. They tech company, which employs around 300,000 people around the world, has already laid off more than 11,000 of the planned 29,000 workers it plans to let go over the next couple years, in an attempt to cut costs and stimulate growth.

Source: Reuters, Bloomberg

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