Another 15,000 job cuts

Sony, Wyndham, Novellus, Danaher, NFL, Principal Financial are the latest companies to add to the dismal employment picture, bringing the December tally to about 50,000 job cuts.

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By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The job toll continued Tuesday, as Sony Corp. and five other companies announced cuts totaling nearly 15,000 positions.

Sony, Danaher Corp., Wyndham Worldwide, the National Football League and Principal Financial Group announced job cuts totaling about 14,400 positions.

In addition, Novellus Systems said it was cutting 10% of its global work force without specifying a number of employees, but the company had a headcount of 3,678 staffers on Dec. 12, 2007.

Sony (SNE), based in Tokyo, on Tuesday announced the most sweeping job-cutting plan of the three companies. Sony said it planned to "reduce headcount" in its electronics business by 8,000 jobs by March 30, 2010. The cuts will be implemented worldwide, the company said, from a total workforce of 160,000, according to a Sept. 30 headcount.

Sony, which produces a wide variety of consumer electronics, blamed "the acute downturn in the economic climate" for the job cuts. The company also said it was reducing its seasonal and temporary staff.

The Wyndham Hotel Group (WYN), based in Parsippany, N.J.., said late Monday it would "eliminate" about 4,000 positions through the first quarter of 2009. Wyndham's hotels include Ramada, Days Inn and Super 8 chains.

Danaher Corp (DHR, Fortune 500)., a manufacturer based in Washington, said late Monday that it was "eliminating" about 1,700 jobs and 13 facilities in the fourth quarter, to save about $100 million in 2009. The company blamed the "current economic backdrop." Danaher makes tools, sensors and medical equipment.

Novellus (NVLS), a provider of equipment for the semiconductor industry, said on Tuesday that it was cutting one-tenth of its work force "through a combination of attrition and layoffs." The company, based in San Jose, Calif., said the reductions would occur through Jan. 31, 2009.

The NFL said on Tuesday that it planned to reduce its staff by about 150 employees over the next 60 days. The company employs 1,100 workers in its league headquarters in New York City, NFL Films facilities in Mt. Laurel, N.J., and its Los Angeles facilities houses NFL Network and NFL.com.

"These are difficult and painful steps, but they are necessary in the current economic environment," said Commissioner Roger Goodell in a memo to his staff, which was provided to CNNMoney.com.

He said the NFL would "emerge strong, more efficient" as a result of cuts.

Principal Financial Group (PFG, Fortune 500) said it is eliminating about 550 positions. This includes 300 jobs at its Des Moines, Iowa, headquarters and 250 jobs in 45 other locations, the company, equating 3.5% of its total workforce.

"Since September, when market conditions worsened, we have been continuously reviewing expenses and expected revenues," said Mary O'Keefe, senior vice president of Principal Financial, in a prepared statement. "In order to bring expenses more in line with projected revenues, we have already cut many expenses. Unfortunately, this must include eliminating some jobs."

Job cuts have been mounting all year. According to the Labor Department, the U.S. economy hemorrhaged 533,000 jobs in November, the largest monthly loss in 34 years. Through November, the economy lost of total of 1.9 million jobs, the government said, raising the unemployment rate to 6.7%.

The December of our discontent

This does not include December's brutal onslaught of job eliminations, totaling around 50,000 so far.

Just in one day - Dec. 4 - 11 companies announced a total of about 25,000 job cuts. Nearly half of that tally comes from one company: Dallas-based telecom AT&T (T, Fortune 500). Also on that day, Credit Suisse Group (CS) announced 5,300 cuts and DuPont (DD, Fortune 500) reported 2,500.

Also in December, Washington Mutual said it was cutting 7,600 jobs, U.S. Steel said it was cutting 3,500 and State Street Corp. (STT, Fortune 500) announced plans to eliminate 1,800.

Dow Chemical (DOW, Fortune 500) said it was eliminating 5,000 positions and closing 20 plants. The battered automaker General Motors (GM, Fortune 500), which is awaiting a bailout decision from Congress and the White House, said it was cutting 2,000 jobs. Car rental company Avis Budget Group (CAR, Fortune 500) said it plans to eliminate 2,200 jobs.

The Belgian-based brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev said it would reduce 1,400 positions and 3M (MMM, Fortune 500) reported 1,800 job cuts.

Going forward, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its weekly report on initial jobless claims on Thursday. The government is expected to announce 525,000 total jobless claims for the week ended Dec. 6, according to a consensus of economists compiled by Briefing.com. To top of page

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