There was a plague of firings across some of the world’s largest companies. While not related, they are an ominous sign of restructuring among corporations bent on cutting costs due to economic conditions.
Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) said it cannot make money in Russia, at least at the current level of plant activity. It will close three plants and leave a fourth open. Its joint venture with local company Sollers PJSC will control the business going forward. Ford said the operation had 3,700 workers in total. It is not clear how many will be laid off.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) said it would cut hundreds of workers in its wealth management business and some supporting roles in its asset management operations. These are spread around the world, and no one location will be walloped. JPMorgan apparently makes regular reassessments of its staffing.
Another of the world’s largest financial institutions, Japan’s Nomura Holdings Inc. (NYSE: NMR), will cut 300 jobs in Europe and the United States, mostly in trading and institutional banking operations. It said early in the year that it expected consolidation in some of its business.
Finally, WarnerMedia, part of the consolidation of the assets of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Time Warner that the telecom bought, will cut jobs as it puts together HBO and Turner. These will be voluntary buyouts for employees who are 55 years old and have 10 years of service, according to documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal.
While none of these stands out alone, it is worth keeping an eye on whether these sorts of announcements continue. There increasingly have been observations that chief executives are seeing the economy slowing, and some are acting accordingly before they are absolutely forced to.
No matter what the reason, thousands of people lost jobs yesterday.