American Express announced that it will slash 7,000 positions
By Alex Altman
Amid a drumbeat of grim financial updates, two blue-chip companies announced plans for massive layoffs last week, spurring fears that the bloodletting on Wall Street could be just a prelude to deeper job cuts across the nation. American Express announced that it will slash 7,000 positions — some 10% of its staff — as part of an effort to save $1.8 billion next year as a counterweight to the rising number of consumers defaulting on their payments. Within hours of that announcement, communications giant Motorola Inc., which cut some 2,600 jobs in April, said it would trim an additional 3,000 staffers over the next several months after posting a third-quarter loss of nearly $400 million. It will also postpone a planned spin-off of its ailing cell phone division. (See pictures of the global financial crisis.)
A new analysis by Goldman Sachs sounds a similarly somber tone. It suggests that the downturn is still in its incipient phase, and that job losses could surpass 2 million in 2009, with unemployment climbing to 8%. "As the economy slides into a deeper recession, it appears we are closer to the beginning of the labor market downturn than the end," wrote the study's co-author, economist Ed McKelvey. "We anticipate a sharper decline in employment in coming months." Reich also quotes 8% as a likely unemployment figure, though he notes that figure excludes job seekers who have given up searching altogether and part-time workers seeking full-time employment. With those segments of the population added, the figure could skyrocket to 12%, according to Reich.
See: Corporate Layoffs: The Worst is Yet to Come - TIME