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AT&T, DuPont, Viacom layoff 20,000 staff

AP/ PTI  |  St Louis (US) 

A round of more than 15,000 layoffs announced by AT&T Inc, and Viacom Inc suggests a yearlong wave of US job cuts is accelerating, just as the government is expected to report a higher unemployment rate for November today.

Swiss bank Credit Suisse Group has announced 5,300 job cuts, although it's unclear how many will be in the United States.

The latest layoffs coincided with a government report showing the proportion of workers continuing to receive jobless benefits has matched a level last reached in September 1992. The deepening recession is pressuring companies to slash costs, and payroll is typically the quickest and most efficient way to do it.

Yesterday's announced job cuts spanned an array of economic sectors, hitting telecom workers, bankers, salespeople and chemical manufacturers.

The breadth of the layoffs suggests the pain of the recession will be felt broadly and well into 2009.

Dallas-based AT&T plans to cut 12,000 jobs, about 4 percent of its work force. The nation's biggest telecommunications company said the job cuts will begin this month and continue throughout 2009.

Wilmington, Delaware-based chemical company will cut 2,500 jobs and cut back hours for remaining workers. It also plans to eliminate 4,000 contractors this month, with more contractor cuts in 2009.

New York-based media conglomerate Viacom will cut about 850 jobs, or 7 percent of its work force.

Credit Suisse's 5,300 planned job cuts worldwide represents about 11 percent of its work force.

The layoffs announced yesterday follow others earlier this week.

First Published: Fri, December 05 2008. 10:30 IST