Job cuts mount: 8,000-plus

The bad news hits across the economy: PNC, Liz Claiborne, Rockwell Collins, Huntington Bank, King Pharma.

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By Aaron Smith, staff writer

In which institution are your savings the safest?
  • Community bank
  • Regional bank
  • Nationwide chain of banks
  • Credit union

NEW YORK ( -- Thousands more workers got bad news on Tuesday as companies in fields ranging from financial services to retail announced job cuts.

All told, companies said they would eliminate more than 8,000 positions.

The biggest cuts were declared by regional bank PNC (PNC, Fortune 500), based in Pittsburgh, which said it plans to reduce 5,800 jobs through 2011 from its current base of 59,595 positions.

PNC said it was reducing its staff in the wake of last year's acquisition of National City. PNC acquired the bank for $5.6 billion after receiving $7.5 billion in TARP funds.

Another bank, Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington Bank (HBAN), said it would cut 500 jobs, or 4% of its total workforce. Huntington said it planned to save $100 million because of the cuts, which would occur through March 1.

Liz Claiborne (LIZ, Fortune 500), a New York-based retailer of women's clothing, said it was cutting costs by eliminating 725 jobs, or 8% of its workforce.

The retailer said the reductions would come on top of 2,200 jobs it has eliminated since 2007.

"While reducing head count is not the only cost cutting measure being implemented, it is certainly the most difficult," Chief Executive Officer William McComb said in a press release.

King Pharmaceuticals (KG), based in Bristol, Tenn., announced that it would reduce its workforce by 22%, or 760 jobs.

The drugmaker said that 240 of the job cuts are associated with its 2008 acquisition of Alpharma, another drug company.

Rockwell Collins (COL), a maker of aviation electronics based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, plans to eliminate 600 jobs, including 500 employees and 100 contractors.

Rockwell Collins said its sales declined by 5% in the fourth quarter. Chief Executive Clay Jones blamed the slowdown in orders for business jets.

Video game maker Electronic Arts Inc. (ERTS) said it would be cutting an additional 100 jobs on top of the 1,000 job cuts announced in December.

Additionally, home goods retailer Pier 1 Imports Inc. (PIR) said it would be closing a St. Charles, Ill. distribution center and cutting about 10% of its workforce in its distribution, home office and field administration divisions, but did not say specifically how many workers would be affected.

The job cuts announced Tuesday follow a brutal week, when companies said they plan to cut more than 100,000 jobs. So far this year, at least 97 companies have said they would eliminate nearly 300,000 jobs.

Last year, the U.S. economy lost 2.6 million jobs, according to government reports. For this year, the Conference Board forecast another 2 million lost jobsTo top of page

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