Meet the New Layoff Kings of Late 2012

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As corporate earnings are disappointing and as the economy remains very sluggish, companies are announcing big waves of layoffs. Some have said that the layoffs this time of year are seasonal, as managers start to budget for the next year. Unfortunately, there are many companies that are sending workers home with pink slips due to what looks and feels like fundamental business changes that are happening right now.

24/7 Wall St. has identified more than a dozen companies with decent-sized to large-sized layoffs. Some of these companies may very well be laying off workers soon as well, due to weaker and weaker fundamentals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently said that mass layoffs — 50 or more workers fired — were up in September from August. Challenger, Gray & Christmas also agreed and said that the September job cuts were up slightly from a month ago. While the trend was higher in September, most of the layoffs featured here were not announced until the end of September, and most of these layoff announcements are so fresh that they are hot off the press.

These companies make up the newest round of the 24/7 Wall St. Layoff Kings.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) recently announced that, as a part of its breakup and restructuring, it laid off 550 employees in several units and several hundred more workers would be let go in 2013. With this ongoing reorganization, management could continue to streamline operations for some time ahead.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) is obviously one of the weakest companies in the PC supply chain. The company just announced recently that it is firing 15% of its workforce, or about 1,800 people. While Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) is also under layoff review for its McAfee security unit, AMD’s woes are far worse. We even worry about AMD as a viable entity if it does not have a major development soon.

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) has been laying workers off since the recession, and on last look we still have another 16,000 jobs or so being cut through the end of this year. As of May 12, 2012, Bank of America’s network was about 272,000 workers and about 5,700 banking centers. With all of those locations and with its many back office locations, layoffs may just be normal here.

Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) recently lowered its annual outlook for sales and profits and said that cost-cutting measures would bring about 1,000 to 1,500 layoffs from its workforce of more than 40,000. The engine company also is looking at shortened work weeks and lower production at some factories. Elsewhere in trucking, Navistar International Corp. (NYSE: NAV) has been in the process of was cutting white-collar jobs, and layoffs, all said and done, could come to about 800. A year ago it employed about 19,000. Much of Navistar’s layoffs might be finished, but the company signaled that it may shut more locations.

The Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW) is looking to close and consolidate plants and local facilities, and its cuts will be about 2,400 jobs, or about 5% of its workforce of around 70,000.

E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (NYSE: DD) also is seeing lower guidance after lower earnings. The chemical and ag giant announced 1,500 fresh job cuts.

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) may not be considered a perpetual grower any longer. The company hired about 1,800 workers for its core business operations in the past quarter, but more than 2,800 jobs were cut in the second quarter at its recently acquired Motorola unit. With its recent earnings Google said that its global workforce was 53,546 full-time employees (36,118 in the Google business and 17,428 in the Motorola business), versus 54,604 full-time employees as of June 30, 2012.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) has been slashing and burning its workforce as it retools for the business ahead. Many employees have taken buyouts, and the most recent addition was about 2,000 more layoffs. Unfortunately Meg Whitman outlined that this turnaround was going to be a multiyear effort. That is not very attractive.

Imation Corp. (NYSE: IMN) has freshly reported a 19% drop in revenues. The storage and data security company announced that it plans to cut expenses by approximately 25%, and part of that plan involves a 20% reduction from its workforce of 1,100 in 2013.

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) is in the midst of 500 or so layoffs as it plans to trim its workforce by about 5%. This is after rival Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) slashed its workforce last year to be more focused. The difference here is that Juniper is believed to be positioning itself for a sale.

Kimberly-Clark Corp. (NYSE: KMB) said after its recent earnings that total workforce reductions are expected to be in the range of 1,300 to 1,500 positions, or about 2.6% of its workforce. The consumer products giant said that the streamlining will be in its manufacturing and administrative functions in Europe, so it is possible that the US operations will not suffer a big blow.

Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) is slashing its workforce by 5%. While this is only 170 or so workers getting pink slips, Zynga was supped to be a massive growth stock up until reality set in that playing social games with virtual farm animals is really not all that cool.

And Then the “Maybe, Could Be, Likely” Layoff Kings …

Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) is a turnaround that just cannot turn around. The company has signaled that more layoffs could be coming down the road.

Reports have been out that eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) plans to streamline its PayPal payments business. Streamlining usually comes with layoffs, and layoffs were widely reported as coming soon.

Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) is set to announce layoffs ahead of the coming fiscal cliff. The defense contractor will not be alone in its layoffs if the fiscal cliff comes, although there is a general feeling that defense contractors may push back that official November 1 notification to employees until after the election.

Two rather well known layoffs have also been telegraphed if Obama is reelected. Koch Industries and timeshare company Westgate Resorts have both issued warnings that layoffs will be coming if President Obama is reelected.

JON C. OGG

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