MASSIVE LAYOFFS AS GLOOM DEEPENS!
Many firms expect 2009 to be very tough.
Workers around the world face losing their jobs as several big corporations announced more than 70,000 layoffs in one single day.
The biggest cuts came in the US where construction equipment maker Caterpillar said it would cut around 20,000 jobs.
In Europe, electronics group Philips, financial firm ING and UK steelmaker Corus announced cuts.
The announcements underscore the depth of the global downturn.
"Without a doubt, 2009 will be a very tough year," said Caterpillar chief executive Jim Owens.
Many of the companies making layoffs unveiled poor financial results and issued gloomy outlooks for 2009.
Caterpillar said its fourth-quarter net profit fell 32% from a year ago to $661m (£482m).
US President Barack Obama cited the layoff announcements as he urged Congress to approve an $825bn economic stimulus package of tax cuts, emergency benefits and public spending projects.
"Those are not just numbers," he said, but more working men and women "whose families have been disrupted and whose dreams have been put on hold".
GLOBAL JOB CUTS
Caterpillar - 20,000
ING - 7,000
Philips - 6,000
Corus - 3,500
Home Depot - 7,000
Pfizer/Wyeth - 20,000
Texas Instruments - 3,400
Sprint Nextel - 8,000
General Motors - 2,000
- US technology firm Texas Instruments, which makes chips for mobile phones and other gadgets, said it would cut 3,400 jobs, or 12% of its workforce, because demand for electronic devices had fallen.
- Dutch banking giant ING, which said it was to cut 7,000 jobs as it seeks to save 1bn euros ($1.29bn; £949m).
- Steelmaker Corus confirmed that it was cutting 3,500 jobs worldwide, including about 2,500 in the UK. The firm is a subsidiary of India's Tata Steel.
- Consumer electronics giant Philips has reported a fourth quarter loss of 1.47bn euros and said it would cut 6,000 jobs.
- US retailer Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement chain, said it would eliminate 7,000 jobs, or 2% of its work force, as it closes its Expo home design unit.
- US mobile phone service provider Sprint Nextel says it plan sto reduce its workforce by 8,000 as it seeks to cut costs.
- US drugmaker Pfizer said it planned to cut up to 20,000 jobs after it announced a $68bn (£50bn) deal to buy rival Wyeth.
- General Motors said it would shed 2,000 jobs at plants in Michigan and Ohio and cut production at several plants over the next six months.
- Last week Microsoft said it would cut 5,000 jobs, while Intel said it would eliminate 6,000.