New York: Nicolas Cage took just a minute to vanish away with one car in the 2000 Hollywood blockbuster Gone in 60 Seconds, but the jobs seem to be disappearing at a faster rate, with companies laying off at least one employee every 10 seconds to cut costs and fight the economic crisis.
So far in December, companies across the world have announced at least 1.15 lakh job cuts — a figure which translates into an average of more than 8,200 people being laid off a day or about six every one minute.
In reel scenes, the plot might have been thrilling but in real sequences, the story is getting gloomy, with layoffs happening across diverse sectors — right from finance to electronics to mining, to name a few.
While the financial crisis cost more than 30,000 jobs in the first week of December, the number nearly trebled to touch about 85,000 in the following seven days.
More than one-third of the layoffs happened in the US, which has already seen a stunning 5,33,000 job losses in November alone.
Last week’s layoff wave was led by banking firm Bank of America, which announced plans to axe 35,000 jobs in the coming months.
In terms of sheer numbers, Japanese electronics giant Sony Corp came next with 16,000 layoffs followed by mining major Rio Tinto, which is all set to trim its headcount by 14,000.
Adding to the global market woes, Swedish auto components maker SKF would be reducing its workforce by 2,500 employees and French telecom entity Alcatel-Lucent would be slashing 1,000 jobs.
Both the world’s first and second largest economies — the US and Japan — already in recession, are bearing the brunt of the worsening labour market.
Other companies which announced layoffs include Abx Air (1,900 jobs), International Paper(1,500), Delta Airlines (1,000), Fairchild Semiconductor (1,100) diversified consumer business group Sara Lee (700 jobs) and world’s largest steel maker ArcelorMittal has said it would cut 650 positions at its largest plant in Belgium.
All the firms have cited cost cutting measures amid the ravaging financial turmoil as the prime reason for layoffs.
“Bank of America expects to have a final plan early in 2009 and estimates it will project reduction of about 30,000 to 35,000 positions over the next three years,” the company said.
Sony would be axing 8,000 full-time positions and 8,000 temporary jobs. Further, the company plans to reduce the total number of manufacturing sites by 10 per cent from the present 57 by March 2010.
Rio Tinto would trim its global workforce by 14,000 employees as part of a slew of measures to reduce its debt of 10 billion dollar by the end of 2009.
In the first week of December, the telecom giant AT&T said it would slash 12,000 jobs or about 4% of its total workforce.
Further, Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse would be axing 5,300 jobs, accounting for 11% of its global workforce, by the first half of the next year.
Other major job cuts have been announced by ArcelorMittal (over 9,000 jobs), American car rental firm Avis Budget Group (2,200 jobs), Japanese financial services major Nomura (about 1,000 jobs), General Motors (2,000 jobs) and chemical company Dupont (2,500 jobs).