Panasonic Cuts 15,000 Jobs; Global Layoffs

A cheap night at home in front of the television may have new appeal for cost-conscious consumers these days, but that hasn't made television manufacturers and their employees immune to the recession.

Panasonic Corp., the electronics giant known for flat-screen TVs as well as digital cameras, announced today that it would slash 15,000 jobs and close 27 plants worldwide. In December, rival consumer electronics maker Sony announced 16,000 job cuts.

Panasonic, which saw its third-quarter sales drop by 20 percent, announced its first annual loss in six years.

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"The current financial crisis originated in the United States has spread across the world and the company's outlook of the business environment has been extremely uncertain," the company said in its financial forecast.

The Osaka-based corporation is one of several Japanese companies cutting back on global production and staff. Japanese corporations are dealing with low sales and implications of a weak global economy set off by the U.S. financial crisis. The company's cost-cutting measures will affect Japan's workforce with plans to close plants by the end of March next year.

Macy's and Financial Giant Morgan Stanley

The crumbling economy has taken its toll on one of the largest department store chains. Macy's announced that it will cut 7,000 jobs, about 4 percent of its work force.

The company's cost-cutting measures include restructuring its retail divisions and reducing planned expenses. Macy's Inc. operates more than 840 department stores -- under Macy's and Bloomingdale's -- across the nation, with corporate offices located in New York and Cincinnati.

Additionally, financial giants Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs said they are considering a second round of layoffs. Morgan Stanley plans to slash around 1,800 positions, up to 5 percent of its 47,000 employees, in the coming weeks -- after cutting 7,000 employees last year -- according to The Associated Press.

Major companies announced massive layoffs last week, blaming the weak economy. The year is off to a somber start for many workers, with news of more job cuts coming amid tough times generally.

AOL and Starbucks

AOL Inc. chief executive Randy Falco sent an internal memo to employees about plans to cut about 700 jobs, 10 percent of its work force. AOL, a division of Time Warner Inc., is an Internet services and media company. But with the recession, many online marketers are tightening advertising budgets. Other cost-cutting measures include freezing salary increases.

Starbucks has announced plans to slash as many as 6,000 jobs and close 300 stores this year. The Seattle-based coffee giant reported a 69 percent drop in profit for the fiscal first quarter. In the summer, the company announced it would close 600 stores, laying off 1,000 employees.

Discount Retailer Target

Target Corp., the popular discount retailer, has also announced major layoffs. Target plans to reduce staff at its Minnesota headquarters, including about 600 employees and 400 open positions, primarily in the Twin Cities area. Later in the year, the company plans to close its Little Rock, Ark., distribution center, which staffs 500 employees.

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