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Downsizings, December, 2003
[Commentary] ©2003 Phil Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 117, Harvard Square, Cambridge MA 02238 USA (617) 623-8080

12/31/2003   1 downsizing, totaling 113 lost jobs and (1) uncounted economywide downsizing story, in WSJ &/or NYT -

  1. Radian Group plans to close unprofitable online division, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
    ...Insure[r of] mortgages and municipal bonds will close...RadianExpress.com unit and lay off 113 employees in Dayton, Ohio...by March 1.... Radian...based in Philadelphia, bought the business in Oct 2000....
    [Again the lethal takeover-downsizing connection.]
12/30/2003   (1) uncounted economywide downsizing story, in WSJ &/or NYT - 12/27-29/2003   1 downsizing, totaling unspecified lost jobs + (3) uncounted economywide downsizing stories, in WSJ & NYT -
  1. 12/29 Wizard stores face closing, Bloomberg via NYT, A15.
    Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro that makes trading-card and role-playing games like Magic: The Dragon and Dungeons & Dragons, [will] close its chain of retail stores [with]in about 60 days. ...Founded in 1990, [it] has about 80 Wizards of the Coast stores and affiliated Game Keeper stores.
    [Unspecified lost jobs.]

12/26/2003   (1) uncounted economywide downsizing story in WSJ & NYT - 12/24/2003   2 downsizings, totaling 300 lost jobs + unspecified, cited in WSJ & NYT -
  1. FAO Inc. - Attempt to sell Right Start rejected by bankruptcy court, WSJ, D4.
    ...The ruling will trigger liquidation sales at Right Start stores and layoffs of 300 employees....

  2. The death of the mall in Memphis, pointer (to A10), NYT, C1.
    The Mall of Memphis, the biggest enclosed mall in the mid-South, will close tonight.
    [Unspecified jobs lost.]

12/20-22/2003   (4) uncounted economywide downsizing stories in WSJ & NYT & BG (Boston Globe) - 12/19/2003   1 downsizing, totaling 1000 lost jobs cited in WSJ & NYT -
  1. MeadWestvaco to close plants and cut 1,000 jobs, AP via NYT, C4.
    The paper company...plans to eliminate about...3.3% of its workforce...across all corporate and business units..\..as part of a $500m initiative [this isn't an "initiative," it's an act of desperation] to improve earnings.... The company..\..based in Stamford CT...employs about 30,000 people....
12/18/2003   5 downsizings, totaling 950 lost jobs, + unspecified cited in WSJ & NYT
(not counting economy-level "A full-time job," pointer (to A16), WSJ, front page, which states, "The woman [Sawsan al-Dawad] charged with finding employment for millions of Iraqis has her work cut out for her, as the jobless grow angrier.") -
  1. 3Com Corp., WSJ, C11.
    Computer-networking equipment maker 3Com Corp. [of] Marlborough MA..\..posted a much wider net loss in its fiscal Q2 amid a 33% drop in sales. The company also...plans to cut 900 employees [from its] 2,900-member workforce...in the second half of its fiscal year [in line with its] cost-cutting plan...to outsource all mfg operations and close its Dublin plant....
    [900/2900= a 31%, evidently salesdrop-determined downsizing, that could have been done with less economic (consumer base) damage via a 31% salesdrop-determined timesizing.]

  2. Zhone Technologies Inc., NYT, C4.
    ...Oakland CA, which makes switches, software and networking equipment [plans] to close a development center in Oceanport NJ and cut about 50 jobs.

  3. Lehman [Bros. Holdings] plans to continue outsourcing, pointer (to C5), WSJ, front page.
    ...computer tasks to India despite helpdesk problems.
    [Unspecified higher-paid US jobs lost.]

  4. Company to pay $490m for Manitoba Telecom's stake, WSJ, C11.
    BCE Inc., one of Canada's biggest telecom companies...also said it plans a "modest work-force reduction."
    [Unspecified jobs lost.]

  5. Van Der Moolen will close unit, WSJ, C12.
    ...its US options specialist Cohen Duffy McGowan, 2 years after buying into the company...hurt by poor market conditions in some of its markets and...probed for alleged improper trading practices \by\ the NYSE...
    [Again the lethal takeover-downsizing connection. Unspecified jobs lost.]

12/16/2003   1 downsizing, totaling 1,074 lost jobs cited in WSJ & NYT
(not counting economy-level "German leader and opponents compromise on economic plan," by Mark Landler, NYT, A14, which states, " 'The big question people ask is "Will I have a job next year?" ' said Rudolf Hickel, an economist at the University of Bremen. [Yet even so,] the Christian Democrats, who control the upper house of the Parliament, forced the chancellor [Schroeder] to stick to proposed rules that would make it easier for small companies to lay off workers and would force chronically unemployed people to take jobs, even at wages lower than the industry average." - the German power elite are clearly intent on hitching their economy to the American-British race to the bottom, instead of optimizing their economy with timesizing and encysting it with tariffs until the huge downdraft in the rest of the world ends) -
  1. BellSouth Corp., WSJ, C13.
    ...plans to eliminate 1,074 jobs next quarter, but said it isn't clear how many people will be affected [because of] "the opportunity to apply for other jobs within BellSouth, plus many people will be taking our...retirement package"..\..spokesman Jeff Battcher said..\..
    [That's OK, we'll take the 1074.]
    The positions being cut include those lost as the company prepares for its planned exit from the pay-phone business.... BellSouth, Atlanta, employs about 76,000 people worldwide.
    [So they should be doing a 1074/76000= 1.4% timesizing instead of downsizing - "CEOs of the World, Wake Up! - You Can't Get a Recovery Out of Downsizing!"]

12/13/2003   1 downsizing, totaling 4,230 lost jobs cited in WSJ & NYT
(not counting regional-source "Hey dude, where's my job," by B.J. Roche, Boston Globe, B6, which states, "Despite the Dow hitting 10,000, one holiday tradition continues this year - the poorly timed pink slip.
  • 70 workers for the Japanese-owned sprocket maker U.S. Tsubaki will lose their jobs after the company announced it was closing its Bennington VT plant.
  • And Tyson Foods announced it will close processing plants in Manchester NH and Augusta ME early next year, leaving more than 700 people jobless." - counted below on 12/05/2003 #2.) -
    1. IBM to export highly paid jobs to India, China, by William Bulkeley, WSJ, B1.
      In one of the largest moves to "offshore" highly paid US software jobs, IBM Corp. has told its managers to plan on moving the work of as many as 4,730 programmers to India, China and elsewhere.
      The unannounced plan, outlined in company documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal, would replace thousands of workers at IBM facilities in Southbury CT, Poughkeepsie NY, Raleigh NC, Dallas TX, Boulder CO, and elsewhere in the US. Already, the managers have been told, IBM has hired 500 engineers in India to take on some of the work that will be moved....
      [Disregarding the fact that we should be dealing in terms of average-US-job-equivalents, with a factor to correct for lower-wages in India and resulting consumer-base damage in the U.S., we'll simply deduct the new 'jobs' in India from the joblosses in the U.S., leaving us with 4730-500= 4,230 net jobcuts.]
      IBM calls its plan, first presented initially to some medieval oops midlevel managers in October, "Global Sourcing." It involves people in its Application Management Services Group, a part of IBM's giant global-services operations, which comprise more than half IBM's 315,000 employees.
      [So 4230 cuts is only a 4230/315000= 1.3% downsizing which could easily have been dealt with by a 1.3% timesizing for the whole company with damaging its and our consumer base.]
      [Followup -]
      Bracing for the blow - Waving good jobs goodbye at I.B.M., op ed by Bob Herbert, NYT, A35.
      ..."Offshoring" and "outsourcing" are two of the favored euphemisms for shipping work overseas. IBM prefers the term "global sourcing."...
      [Suddenly, natural market-demanded employable manhours have become every nation's most precious vanishing resource.]

    12/12/2003   3 downsizings, totaling 1,615 lost jobs + unspecified, cited in WSJ & NYT
    (not counting economywide "Greenspan said the U.S. wouldn't regain jobs even if China lets its currency rise," pointer {to A2}, WSJ, front page) -
    1. Gillette plans to close 2 [blade and razor] plants in England, NYT, C4.
      ...and move production to a new plant...in Eastern Europe...eliminat[ing] 1,200-1,500 jobs...to cut costs....

    2. PolyOne to close vinyl film plant in [Burlington] New Jersey, NYT, C4.
      ...in Feb., eliminating 115 jobs....

    3. Kroger Co. - Workers ratify labor contract in three states and end strike ...Kroger said three of the 44 stores affected by the strike won't reopen.
      [Unspecified job loss.]

    12/11/2003   3 downsizings, totaling 1,420 lost jobs + unspecified, cited in WSJ & NYT -
    1. Abitibi-Consolidated Inc., newsprint producer, closes 2 mills, Bloomberg via NYT, C3 (??WSJ, A12).
      in Lufkin TX and Port-Alfred QUE on Sunday, putting about 1,220 employees, or 8% of its workforce, out of work..\..in the face of slack prices for newsprint....
      [Let's see. Was it a Lufkin in Tove Jansson's "Moominvalley in November" (1971)? Naw, it was a Snufkin. And a Fillyjonk. And a Toft. And a Hemulen. And a Mymble. And a Nummulite.]
      The company, which is based in Montreal \and\ produces nearly 1/5 of the total newprint worldwide, will also permanently close two idled paper machines, one in Port-Alfred and one in Sheldon TX....

    2. Dana Corp., NYT, C3.
      ...Toledo OH, an autoparts supplier [will] lay off 200 workers at its plant in Ft. Wayne IN, 1/3 of the plant's workforce, next spring after losing a contract with DaimlerChrysler.

    3. Warnaco to cut costs by closing Speedo stores, Bloomberg via NYT, C3.
      ...its 44 remaining Speedo Authentic Fitness.stores...to focus on...wholesale....
      [Unspecified jobs lost.]

    12/10/2003   6 downsizings, totaling 11,800 lost jobs + unspecified, cited in WSJ & NYT -
    1. Lender sees weaker profit as mortgage boom eases - Washington Mutual [WaMu] to cut jobs as its key business shrinks, by Kenneth Gilpin, NYT, C4.
      ...to cut costs by $1B over the next year and a half, beginning in 1Q04,.\..reflecting the sharp slowdown in home mortgage and re-fi activity. The company, ...based in Seattle, [plans to] eliminate 2,900 jobs.... From August through November, WaMu...eliminated the equivalent of 4,500 full-time positions in its home-lending support operations. The bulk of this total reflects a reduction in temporary and contract personnel and in decreased overtime....
      [If we knew the percentage done by decreasing overtime, we could give them credit for timesizing to reduce downsizing. But we don't.]
      Currently WaMu has about 59,000 employees....
      [So we count 2900+4500= 7,400 eliminated positions, which is a 7400/59000= 12.5% downsizing.]

    2. SBC Communications plans to cut up to 4,000 jobs (2.3%), AP via NYT, C4 (//WSJ, B6).
      ...[the 2nd-largest US phone company]...through employee buyouts and attrition...no layoffs....

    3. America Online to trim 2% of workforce, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
      ...400 jobs, [mostly] software engineers, with about 375 of them at the Mtn View CA campus.

    4. Georgia-Pacific to combine units in cost-cutting move, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
      ...a leading maker of plywood.... The number of jobs affected by the combination is not known yet....

    5. Hewlett-Packard merging 2 units, NYT, C4.
      ...its services and business-computer divisions to avoid duplicating sales work.... The new business, tech solutions, cuts the company's operating units to 3 from 4....
      [Unspecified jobs lost.]

    6. Abercrombie & Fitch to end its racy magazine, by Carr & Rozhon, NYT, C1.
      ...The apparel retailer [will] no longer publish its provocative quarterly magazine...A & F Quarterly..\..which included photos of nude and nearly nude young models....
      [Unspecified jobs lost.]

    12/09/2003   6 counted downsizings, totaling 6,200 lost jobs + unspecified, cited in WSJ & NYT, + (3) uncounted economywide downsizing stories -
    1. Job cuts follow recovery in South Korea, by Samuel Len, NYT, W1.
      ...SOUTH KOREA...- Employment worries are growing [here] as signs proliferate that lifetime jobs are now a luxury of the past.
      [Looks like S.Korea is poised to screw itself with downsizing just as Japan did in the late 1980s.]
      The big blow came this fall, when the KT Corp., the country's largest phone company, said it was shedding more than 5,000 employees, or 1/8 of its workforce [12.5%]....

    2. Job cuts follow recovery in South Korea, by Samuel Len, NYT, W1.
      ...Last month, LG Card, [positioned as] the country's largest credit card company and recently rescued by emergency loans from creditors, said it planned to shed about 700 of its 2,800-member workforce....

    3. Job cuts follow recovery in South Korea, by Samuel Len, NYT, W1.
      ...Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, a unit of the Doosan Group that builds powerplants, shed about 300....

    4. Job cuts follow recovery in South Korea, by Samuel Len, NYT, W1.
      ...SK Chemical, a unit of one of S. Korea's largest conglomerates, cut more than 100 at a regional branch....

    5. U.S. Steel to close distribution center and record charge, Bloomberg via NYT, C4 (//WSJ, A8).
      ...Its Straightline Source steel distribution center...which has been losing money, will close on Dec. 31.... Straightline, which was started in Oct/2001 with about 100 employees to increase sales to smaller customers, never turned a profit.... US Steel is based in Pittsburgh.

    6. Spiegel seeks to close stores after holidays, Bloomberg via NYT, C10.
      ...A bankrupt chainstore and catalog retailer has asked a federal judge for permission to close 30 Eddie Bauer stores and to hire companies to sell inventory at the locations after the holidays. Spiegel Inc. has [already] closed 60 Eddie Bauer stories along with distribution and customer service centers since filing for bankruptcy protection in March....
      [Unspecified job loss.]

    12/06/2003   2 downsizings, totaling 550 lost jobs, + (1) uncounted downsizing story, cited in WSJ & NYT -
    1. Mitsubishi plans to lay off 425 at Illinois plant, AP via NYT, B4.
      ...assembly plant in Normal, Ill., next year because of a deep sales slump....
      [Sales slump? - how can that be, in a "recovery"!]
      The layoffs...planned for 1Q04 \and\ the first at the plant since 1999, will cut up to 350 union workers and as many as 75 nonunion workers.... The plant, Mitsubishi's only production plant in North America, has 2,870 union workers and 490 nonunion employees....
      [So 425 cuts is 425/(2870+490)= 425/3360= 12.6, say a 13% downsizing, which should have been handled with a 13% timesizing.]

    2. Citing weak demand, 3M says it is cutting 125 more jobs, AP via NYT, B4.
      ...citing weak demand for industrial products like sandpaper and industrial adhesives and tapes....
      [Weak demand? - how can that be, in a "recovery"!]
      The layoffs affect salaried employees at the company's campus in Maplewood MN..\..
      [Campus? "Cut 125 of those students!" However -]
      Layoffs at 3M have slowed since it cut an estimated 6,500 jobs during a restructuring in 2001-2....
      [No wonder there's weak demand today.]

    + (1) uncounted downsizing story - 12/05/2003   3 downsizings, totaling 3,720 lost jobs, + unspecified, cited in WSJ & NYT -
    1. Schering-Plough to cut 10% from payroll expenses, AP via NYT, C3.
      ...in a move that could eliminate more than 3,000 jobs...with the goal of cutting annual expenses by more than $200m. [The drug maker's cuts will] include an estimated 1,000 positions being eliminated through an early retirement program announced in August for employees in the United States.

    2. Tyson Foods to close two older plants, ending 720 jobs, Reuters via NYT, C3.
      ...in February...in Manchester NH [550, and] Augusta ME [170]..\..to improve its manufacturing efficiency.... The company [is] based in Springdale, Ark....
      [That's what you get for selling your local New England plants to an outfit in Arkansas.]

    3. Oneida, flatware maker, may shut last plant, AP via NYT, C3.
      ...unless financial recovery comes soon....
      [Well, forget that. Unspecified job loss.]
      On Wed...the world's largest maker and distributor of flatware and tableware reported a quarterly loss of $74.8m, more than half of it related to the closing of 5 factories in Buffalo and overseas..\..
      [Talk about a self-fueling death spiral. The management skills of today's morons are nowhere displayed to greater disgrace -]
      Its CEO, Peter Kallett...said the company might have to outsource manufacturing if it cannot keep its plant open.
      [Compare -]
      Indictment alleges Westar's former CEO [David Wittig] sought to loot firm, WSJ, C1.

    12/04/2003   3 downsizings, totaling 3,470 lost jobs, + unspecified, cited in WSJ & NYT -
    1. Tata Iron & Steel will cut 3,000 jobs [7%], WSJ, B4.
      ...based in Bombay, India..\..by the end of the fiscal year. A senior official said, "...40,000 is an ideal staff size that we would like by March."...
      [No reason given. So first we lost jobs to Mexico but now Mexico is losing jobs to India and now even India is losing jobs.]
      \Tata\ has a voluntary-manpower reduction program [what a contrast to a real recovery!] to which about 800 people have already applied..\.. The reduction in staff will also include employees who retire by March [and] an additional 500 people will soon retire....

    2. France: Alcatel CIT to cut 470 jobs, Bloomberg via NYT, W1.
      ...the biggest maker of broadband Internet equipment...in France at its fixed-line communications and optical systems units...at which demand has declined..\.. and redeploy 900 others in 2004.... Alcatel CIT, which employs 7,600 people, will offer early retirement to employees who volunteer. The company, which is based in Paris, [will] reorganize its teams so that more people work on the mobile unit where demand is growing.
      [Sounds vaguely like our own dear overtime-targeted training, redeployment & hiring.]

    3. Canada: Bombardier job cuts, by Bernard Simon, NYT, W1.
      The Canadian aircraft and railcar manufacturer Bombardier...based in Montreal..\..said that it would close some European plants and cut management jobs to improve the profitability of its rail unit....
      [Unspecified job cuts.]

    12/03/2003   3 downsizings, totaling 3,250 lost jobs, + unspecified, cited in WSJ & NYT -
    1. Aviva PLC, WSJ, D9.
      ...will 'move' [from UK - our quotes] about 2,500 jobs to India in 2004, increasing its total number of staff in India to 3,700 by the end of next year....
      [From high wage to low wage. From real jobs to 3rd-world drop in bucket and closer to 3rd-world in UK.]
      The company estimates that running call centers in India costs 30-40% less than in the UK..\..
      About 2,000 of the jobs that are 'moving' are in administration and IT, while 500 are at call centers.
      [We have never seen this strained a positive spin on job loss. Watch this -]
      Aviva said 80% of the jobs 'created' in India would be accommodated in the UK by a combination of staff turnover, voluntary redundancies [= layoffs] and current vacancies. But Aviva...couldn't rule out [forced] redundancies among the remaining approx. 500 workers. The company estimates that running call centers in India costs between 30% and 40% less than in the UK..\..
      The UK insurer said the jobs will support its businesses in the UK and Canada. Aviva has 59,000 employees in total, including 33,000 in Britain....
      [2500 vanishing UK jobs are 2500/33000= 7.5% of total UK jobs which could easily have been handled by a 7.5% hourscut for all UK employees if maintaining UK consumer markets were any consideration.]

    2. PepsiCo plans to cut 750 jobs and close several plants in Kentucky & Florida, NYT, C2 (//WSJ, B6).

    3. FAO Inc. to file for bankruptcy, pointer digest (to C6), NYT, C1.
      ...owner of the F.A.O. Schwarz toy stores, plans to file for bankruptcy protection a second time and...immediately liquidate its 89 Zany Brainy stores....
      [Unspecified jobs lost. It's the toxic takeover-downsizing connection again - since it follows close on RightStart's 2002 takeover of FAO Schwartz for $155m, plus assets of the bankrupt Zany Brainy chain. (RightStart subsequently namechanged to FAO Inc.)]
    12/02/2003   3 downsizings, totaling 330 lost jobs, + unspecified, cited in WSJ & NYT
    (not counting economywide "Gushers of growth," by Chris Zook, WSJ, B4, which states, "After more than 3 years of debilitating downsizings and quest upon quest for greater efficiency, finding the next wave of profitable growth is again at the top of the CEO agenda.") -
    1. Hartford Financial Services Group to buy unit from CNA Financial for $½B, AP via NYT, C4.
      ...The combination could result in the elimination of 10% of the 3,300 jobs at the [group benefits] unit, a Hartford spokeswoman said....
      [Again the toxic takeover-downsizing connection. Assuming they don't get this specific unless it's beyond 49-51% probable to 80-90% likely, this means 330 jobcuts.]

    2. DuPont plans to cut costs, jobs, by Thaddeus Herrick, WSJ, D7 (//NYT, C4).
      ...number...will be disclosed in April....

    3. Japan moves to expand cleanup of banks, by Ken Belson, NYT, W1.
      ...There are no more reprieves for Ashikaga Bank.... In [its] case, even though it had laid off 60% of its workforce, losses kept mounting because falling land prices and a sagging local economy undermined its loan portfolio....
      [Unspecified job losses.]

    Click here for downsizing stories in -
    May/2003 (+Jun.1-2).
    Jan. 16-31/2002.
    Jan. 1-15/2002.
    Dec. 16-31/2001.
    Earlier 2001 downsizings accessible via links at bottom of Dec.16-31/2001 page.
    Earlier Y2000 downsizings accessible via links at bottom of Dec.16-31/2000 page.
    Earlier 1999 months accessible via links at bottom of Dec/1999 page.
    Earlier months accessible via links at bottom of Dec/98 page.

    For more details, our laypersons' guide to our great economic future Timesizing, Not Downsizing is available at bookstores in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass. or from *Amazon.com online.

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