Wave of job cuts sweeps across corporate America

NEW YORK Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:35pm EDT

The Chrysler LLC logo is seen during a news conference at Chrysler Headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan August 6, 2007. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

The Chrysler LLC logo is seen during a news conference at Chrysler Headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan August 6, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Rebecca Cook

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Corporate America is bleeding jobs and wielding the ax well beyond the financial sector.

As companies look at their prospects for the final quarter of the year and begin to see increasingly grim outlooks for 2009, they are cutting jobs from many different parts of their businesses. They are also slashing capital spending and, in some cases, dividends and even wages.

Government figures released on Thursday showed the number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 478,000 in the week ended October 18.

Whether it is a hotel company fearing declining bookings or room rates, a funds management company facing redemptions from clients who have seen the value of their investments plunge, or an office equipment firm facing slowing demand, many entities are urgently seeking to cut costs. And the payroll is often the critical focus.

"I suppose what we're really seeing is the movement that the government's been worried about," said John Challenger, chief executive officer of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "How will the credit crisis move off of Wall Street and onto Main Street? Now we're able to see that. These companies needed credit to keep their business going."

Here are a sample of announcements and reports from the past 36 hours:

* Chrysler LLC said on Thursday it is slashing 1,825 jobs after losing $1 billion in the first half of the year.

* Goldman Sachs Group Inc plans to cut 10 percent of its staff, or almost 3,300 jobs after laying off hundreds of support staff and junior bankers in June.

* Money manager Janus Capital Group Inc said it would cut 9 percent of its staff a day after rival AllianceBernstein Holding Holding LP said it would make unprecedented job cuts.

* Xerox Corp announced job cuts of 5 percent, or 3,000 positions, due to a "tough business environment."

* Mining equipment maker Terex Corp said it would lay off hundreds of workers and suspend its share buyback program to preserve cash.

* Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc said it plans to cut an unspecified number of jobs to offset slowing travel demand.

* United Parcel Service Inc sees layoffs in 2009 as customers need less shipping due to cutbacks on holiday gift purchases.

* Computer systems vendor Agilysys Inc cut three senior management positions and is consolidating headquarters in Ohio.

* Merck & Co Inc announced plans on Wednesday to cut 12 percent of its workforce, citing a need to change its business model in order to survive.

* Fidelity National Financial Inc, which controls one of the largest U.S. title insurers, announced 1,000 job cuts, office closings, a 10 percent pay cut and a 50 percent dividend cut

* Biotechnology company Maxygen Inc plans to cut nearly 30 percent of its workforce and explore strategic options due to the current financial environment

* Popular Inc, parent of Banco Popular, is cutting 600 positions and more than a quarter of its branches in the United States.

(Reporting by Helen Chernikoff and Martin Howell; Editing by Andre Grenon)

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