Layoff Nation: Job Losses Keep Coming

Starbucks. Circuit City. American Airlines. The list goes on and on.

Every day it seems another massive layoff is announced at some of the country's best-known companies. Those job losses, in addition to thousands of mom-and-pop businesses, made 2008 one of the worst years for employment in our country's history.

This morning the Department of Labor announced that in December alone, employers shed 524,000 workers. Unemployment now stands at 7.2 percent, the highest since January 1993.

The losses make 2008 the worst year for layoffs since 1945 when 2.75 million jobs were lost. Granted, the U.S. workforce was smaller back then, but it's still a shocking number.

Lost Your Job or Worried About Losing It? Share Your Story With ABC News

The December losses also show an accelerating number of layoffs in recent months, leaving the prospect for workers in 2009 that much more grim.

"Many Americans are both anxious and uncertain of what the future will hold," President-elect Barack Obama said during a speech on the economy Wednesday.

And many investors on Wall Street look toward Obama to see how exactly his proposed stimulus plan "will save or create at least 3 million jobs over the next few years," as he says.

How he will do that is not yet clear. Obama said he plans to invest in energy, education, health care and new infrastructure.

"We will put Americans to work in new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced -- jobs building solar panels and wind turbines; constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings and developing the new energy technologies that will lead to even more jobs, more savings, and a cleaner, safer planet in the bargain," Obama said Wednesday.

But, in the meantime, a growing number of Americans are collecting unemployment and desperately searching for new jobs, ones that pay close to what they used to make.

Beyond that, fear of layoffs is taking its own toll on the economy. Some workers who still draw a weekly paycheck are cutting back on their spending for fear of losing their job down their road. While they might be saving for that rainy day, their lack of spending is driving the country deeper into a recession and putting their own jobs in jeopardy.

Biggest Layoffs of 2008

Here's a snapshot of some of the biggest layoff announcements of the past 12 months, provided to ABC News by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. While some of these have already been reflected in the government data, others will be phased in during the next few months.

The financial sector has been hit particularly hard in this recession as bad investments and risky loans have gone bad. Banking giant Citigroup had more layoffs than any other company in 2008, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, first with a 9,000-job cut announced in April and then another 50,000 jobs eliminated right before Thanksgiving.

It would be an understatement to say that 2008 was a bad year for U.S. automakers who had to turn to the government to bail them out for the time being. First, record-high gas prices drove consumers away from large SUVs and trucks that had been the bread and butter of the automakers for years. Then, banks started to cut off credit to consumers, making car loans harder and harder to come by. As part of its efforts to try and remain profitable, GM in May announced the layoff of 19,000 hourly workers.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: The fake baby a man was carrying as he and another woman tried to sneak into the mother and baby unit at Mercy Medical Center in Merced, Calif., hospital officials said.
Dignity Health Security/Mercy Medical Center Merced
Leopard Cub Chills in a Basket
Odd Anderson/AFP/Getty Images
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine.
(Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Center/AP)
PHOTO: Left, actor/comedian Robin Williams arrives at the premiere of Monty Pythons Spamalot in this March 31, 2007, file photo; right, actress Mila Kunis arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of Third Person at Pickford Center for Motion Study.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images| Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic