Downsizing’s Steady Drumbeat

We’ve been conducting research on organizational downsizing for more than two decades, but even so, it is next to impossible to keep up to date on downsizing activity in the U.S. and around the globe.  Nonetheless, we’ll post here some of the downsizing efforts taking place that we don’t comment on elsewhere in our blog.  Here are some of them:


General Mills Unveils Restructuring, Job Cuts


Capital One to lay off 850 employees in Salinas


Bank Of America Plans To Lay Off 2000 Senior Bankers: Report

Frontier Airlines files formal layoff notice for 129 Milwaukee job cuts


American Airlines announces 1200 layoffs of nonunion workersPrimeFlight To Lay Off More Than 300 At Texas AirportsHawker Beechcraft warns employees of 350 layoffs


First Solar plans to lay off 2000 workers, California-ordered cuts will shutter 56 courtrooms, lay off 350


Sony confirms 10000 layoffs as part of ‘One Sony’ initiativeHawker Beechcraft warns employees of 350 layoffs


Sony to cut an estimated 10,000 jobs.


PPG to cut 2,000 jobs, J.C .Penney to lay off 14% of its headquarters staff.


Dow Chemical plans to lay off 900Yahoo Layoffs To Start This Week,


T-Mobile to lay off 1900 employees,


Jackson Memorial to layoff over 1000 workersUnion reports layoffs at IBM.


Nokia to layoff 4000: Europe’s pain is Asia’s gain

2-9-12:  Pepsi to cut workforce by 3% or 8700 employees in 30 different countries.


Supervalu to Layoff 800, 200 in Minnesota


Verizon to lay off 336 employees in New JerseyBose laying off 200


American Airlines to lay off at least 13,000UMass Memorial to lay off at least 700 (report)San Diego Unified Prepares to Lay Off 1100+ Employees


Sub-Zero Releases Layoff Information involving 100 employeesP&G marketing layoffs new sign of the times, expert says,


P&G To Lay Off 1600 After Discovering It’s Free To Advertise On FacebookUBS reportedly to lay off 10% of staff in Germany

1-25-12:  UPS plans 400 layoffs at northern Ky. facility

1-24-12:   Texas Instruments to close 2 plants in cost-cutting move that will lay off about 1000 employees.

1-18-12:  Kraft to lay off 1600 in 2012Oakland gives layoff notices to 2500 city workersBMO Harris Bank to lay off 350.

1-12-12:  MetLife to lay off more than 800 in Irving, TXArcher Daniels To Lay Off 1000 Jobs Sanofi Canada to lay off 100 employeesCSC to lay off 114 local employees

1-5-11:  Health Plus in Virginia to lay off almost 900 employeesUMMC to lay off 115 workers, leave unfilled positions vacant.

1-4-12:  Northrop Grumman layoffs planned for Fort HoodPhilly schools send layoff notices to 1400The potential hidden costs behind temporary layoffs (Canada),

12-29-11  102 Holiday Inn hotel workers in Charlotte, NC get layoff notices.  No, make that Hawaii Medical Center layoffs number 500.

12-23-11:  Hawaii Medical Center to lay off employees on Christmas Eve

12-22-11:  Vulcan to layoff 200, consolidate regionsHarley asks for layoff volunteersAttleboro metals company announces layoffs

12-20-11:  Harley-Davidson offers voluntary layoffs in Wisconsin

Harley-Davidson Inc. is offering voluntary layoffs to hourly workers at three plants in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area to reduce staff by about 26 percent, giving itself flexibility to hire seasonal workers.

Nassau OKs over 300 layoffs
The Nassau County Legislature voted along party lines Monday to approve the layoff of more than 300 municipal employees by year’s end.

Jefferson County, Alabama eliminating hundreds of jobs

12-16-11:  Morgan Stanley to Cut 1600 JobsAT&T passes out 100 layoff notices

12-13-11:  Tampa Tribune begins layoff of 165, NPR Reports two Make It Through Five Layoffs In Five YearsPostal Service downsizing will be messy,

12-11-11:  Mosinee Factory Closure.

12-8-11:  AstraZeneca to lay off another 1,250 employees in the U.S..

12-7-11:  Citigroup To Layoff 4500 Employees, To Take $400 Mln ChargeBristol Compressors Announces Major Layoff.

12-2-11:  Ingalls Shipyard to lay off 500 non-union employees, Wisconsin Public Service to lay off 74 union employees.

11-30-11:  In Germany, Eon to eliminate 11,000 jobs and Manroland to file for bankruptcy.

11-23-11:  U.S. Navy to lay off 3,000 mid-career sailors, Ovonic Energy Products,  Motiva to lay off 500, Nokia to downsize its global workforce by 17,000 or 23%.

11-22-11:  Sikorsky to cut workforce another 3%, Booth Newspapers and to cut workforce in half, The Wilderness Society to cut staff by 17%.

11-20-11:  City of Detroit to lay off 1,000, reduce workforce by 9%, Citizens Financial Group.

11-18-11:  UBS to downsize investment banking unit by 11 percent by 2016.

11-17-11:  Citigroup to lay off more than 3000, Pella Corp., ITT Exelis,

11-16-11:  Stryker Corp. to lay off 5% of its workforce worldwide, Capella University to lay off 4%, Nassau University Medical Center.

11-13-11:  Women’s clothier Christopher & Banks to close 100 stores and lay off 7% of its HQ staff.

11-12-11:  Dozens of layoffs at CNN, 300 laid off at Hawker Beechcraft.

11-11-11:  Simplot to lay off at least 800.

11-10-11:  Andesen Corp. to lay off 250,


Adobe lays off 750, Excite Technologies in Tennessee.

11-8-11:  Lansing, Michigan police slower to respond, make fewer arrests after layoffs.

11-3-11:  Element K, AMD to cut 10% or 1,400 jobs, Gameforge, and 3500 layoffs avoided in New York as a result of a new deal with the Public Employees Federation union.

11-1-11:  Kudelski Group to lay off nine percent (9%) of its workforce, Illinois’s Cook County, software developer Silicon Knights.

10-29-11:  Whirlpool to downsize in Europe and North America by 10% or more than 5,000 jobs, Motorola, BuyWithMe, Clearwater Paper in IdahoHewlett-Packard may kill off WebOS and lay off 500 .

10-26-11:  Mass layoffs in September affected 153,000 workers, and Procter and Gamble plans to downsize through early retirements, but not how much or why.

10-20-11:  Amgen to lay off 226.

10-18-11:  Kimberly-Clark, Babcock & Wilcox, Lowes Home Improvement to close 20 stores and lay off 2,000 employees, mass layoffs at Goldman Sachs,

10-10-11:  Ararmark lay off 128 at Disney locations.

10-9-11:  AstraZeneca to lay off 400 in Wilmington, DE.

10-8-11:  BBC to downsize by 2,000 jobs over the next five years, Navistar by 130 jobs by year’s end, and NV Energy 100 jobs by spring of 2012.

10-7-11:  Compensation Insurance Fund to lay off 30%, or 1,800.

10-5-11:  Illinois companies to lay off 650 workers, and Friendly’s Ice Cream restaurants files for bankruptcy and will lay off 1,200 employees.

10-4-11:  Hanford Nuclear Reservation to cut 1,000 jobs.

9-30-11:  Nokia to cut 3,500 jobs.

9-29-11:  Governor Andrew Cuomo sends layoff notices to first of almost 3,500 New York State employees to be laid off, and the union develops a proposal to try to avoid the layoffs.

9-28-11:  MetroHealth Systems in Cleveland, OH to eliminate 450 jobs, cut $30 million in expenses over next two months; more than 500 Lockheed will lose their jobs as a result of previously announced downsizing of 1,500.

9-27-11:  Novartis announces new, unspecified layoffs in addition to 2,500 already downsized in the past year, and Georgia Health Sciences University to lay off 150.

9-24-11:  Red Bull Nascar Racing Team,

9-23-11:  Viacom.

9-22-11:  You’ve got to be kidding me:  Hallmark Produces Layoff Greeting Cards.

Duke Energy-Progress Energy merger will lead to 2,000 jobs lost.

WIPP announces layoffs to start in October.

H-P Starts Layoffs in WebOS Unit, and has eliminated or will eliminate more than 34,000 jobs since 2005.  Is it any wonder that H-P is considering getting rid of its CEO after he’s been on the job for only a few months, as reported in today’s WSJ??

United States Postal Service (USPS) would like to eliminate 120,000 employees.

How to Lay Off People Properly Amidst the Unrelenting Downsizings

Even though we believe that layoffs should be used as a last resort, and have the published research to support it, there do come times when it’s necessary to lay off employees.  That’s why it was good to see Simon Constable in the Wall Street Journal recently recommend several ways in which to do it properly that fit with our findings and recommendations we made a decade ago in the MIT Sloan Management Review.  This includes our counterintuitive but important recommendation not to fire people on a Friday:

Don’t fire people on a Friday.

Don’t fire people late in the day.

Don’t make any layoff announcement until everyone affected has been informed.

Do offer to provide a good reference.

Fire people before Thanksgiving or after New Years, but not between.

Don’t piece-meal your chopping.

Don’t fire anyone by email.

We have an article in this spring’s issue of MIT Sloan Management Review that reflects upon and updates our article we published a decade ago:  “How do Downsize Your Company without Downsizing Morale.”  For  additional ideas and case studies on how to downsize or lay off people properly, be sure to read our book, Trust is Everything.

If you’d like a copy of our previous MIT Sloan Management Review article, Preserving Employee Morale During Downsizing, please contact us.


Below is a listing of downsizings that I have been keeping track of over the past several months, using data published by the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.  The list does not include the 2,000 job cuts that GM announced today as well.  It is by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives an idea of the horrific toll that downsizing is having in the U.S. and abroad:

Company Downsizing Percent Date
Citigroup 50,000 14% 11/17/08
Bank of America(Merrill Lynch) 35,000 11% 12/11/08
Caterpillar 20,000 18 1/27/09
AT&T 12,000 4% 12/4/08
DHL (U.S. staff) 9,500 73% 11/10/08
Dell 8,900 10% 10/22/08
Circuit City 8,000 20% 11/10/08
Sony (electronics division) 8,000 5% 12/9/08
Sprint Nextel 8,000 N/A 1/27/09
Merck 7,200 12% 10/22/08
Home Depot 7,000 N/A 1/27/09
NG Groep NV 7,000 N/A 1/27/09
DuPont 6,500 4% 12/4/08
UBS 6,100 26% 10/3/08
Sun Microsystems 6,000 18% 11/14/08
Credit Suisse 5,300 10% 12/4/08
Chrysler 5,000 25% 10/24/08
Dow Chemical 5,000 11% 12/8/08
J.P. Morgan Chase (Washington Mutual) 4,000 21% 12/1/08
National City 4,000 14% 10/21/08
U.S. Steel 3,500 13% 12/2/08
Texas Instruments 3,400 12 1/27/09
Goldman Sachs 3,260 10% 10/23/08
Fidelity Investments 3,000 7% 11/14/08
Motorola 3,000 4.50% 10/30/08
Xerox 3,000 5% 10/23/08
Micron Technology 2,850 15% 10/9/08
Textron 2,200 5.20% 12/23/08
Applied Materials 1,800 12% 11/12/08
State Street 1,800 6% 12/3/08
Yahoo 1,500 10% 10/21/08
Nortel Networks 1,300 5% 11/10/08
Unisys 1,300 4.30% 12/22/08
eBay 1,000 10% 10/6/08
Mattel 1,000 3% 11/6/08
Viacom 850 7% 12/4/08
Adobe Systems 600 8% 12/3/08
Carlyle Group 100 10% 12/3/08

Diversify Your Assets Before Downsizing Takes Them Away

In our published research on how to downsizing effectively and in ways that preserve morale, one of the issues we didn’t think about tackling was the need for individuals to diversify their pensions and other savings well before any downsizing effort took place.  I guess we just assumed that people diversified their savings as part of a general financial risk management strategy.

Well, based on the number of articles I’ve been reading lately, it appears that many people, including supposedly financially savvy ones, haven’t been doing this, including at Citigroup:

Don’t invest too much money in your employer’s stock. If you want to know why, look at Citigroup.

The troubled bank has just this week announced another 53,000 layoffs.

Thousands of those workers have lost a large slice of their savings, as well as their job, thanks to the 85% collapse in the bank’s stock price over the past two years.

Citigroup, like so many banks and other big companies, paid many of its workers partly in shares. It did so with good intentions: To motivate them, and to give them a piece of the rock.

Instead they’ve lost billions. And many suffered further, because they had to pay hefty income taxes when they got the stock. Today their shares may actually be worth less than the taxes they paid.

Consider for a moment: That’s like paying a marginal tax rate of more than 100% on your income… just before losing your job.


Given the fact that well over a million people are downsized each year, and for 2008 it looks like a lot more than a million people will lose their jobs, it makes sense more than ever to diversify your pension and savings, or what’s left of them.