A Day with a Name

Jeremy Elwood, SBJ ReporterYou know it’s been a bad day for the economy when it gets its own name.

The first day of the stock market crash of 1929 was “Black Thursday”; the crash of October 1987 was “Black Monday.”

With six major corporations announcing job cuts totaling more than 50,000 workers, CNN is dubbing today “Bloody Monday.”

The cuts: Illinois-based machinery manufacturer Caterpillar will cut 20,000 jobs, up from a 15,000 estimate announced in the fourth quarter.

Sprint Nextel Corp. is cutting 8,000 jobs by the end of March, in a move the company says is part of efforts to reduce labor costs by $1.2 billion annually.

Home improvement leader Home Depot is eliminating its Expo Design Center sector and cutting 7,000 employees, roughly 2 percent of its work force. The company cites lack of demand for expensive home-improvement projects.

Dutch financial company ING is cutting 7,000 jobs to go along with $1.3 billion in 2008 losses, though company officials haven’t commented on where the cuts would take place; ING has employees in 50 countries.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced in its earnings report that it is cutting 10 percent of its 81,900 employees and closing five manufacturing plants; that’s added to 4,700 job cuts last year.

Farm equipment manufacturer Deere & Co. is cutting 700 jobs in factories in Iowa and Brazil.

With the six announcements today, about 185,000 jobs have been lost in just the first four weeks of 2009. Add that to 2.6 million employees terminated in 2008 – the most since 1945 – and the current job cycle calls more for a tourniquet than a Band-Aid.

The only good news: Analysts are calling this a “V-shaped” business cycle, meaning the steep decline we’re in should be accompanied by an equally steep recovery … whenever that happens.

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