At Big Companies, The Heads Are Still Rolling

The employment outlook may be brightening considerably, but that hasn't affected the downsizing zeal of major corporations. Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an outplacement firm that monitors announcements of staff cuts, reports that its November tally of 67,632 jobs to be axed brings the year-to-date total to 583,797 cuts, about 5% above the tally for all of 1991, when the U.S. economy was just emerging from a painful recession.

According to the Challenger report, General Motors Corp. led the staff-reduction parade in November, with planned job cuts of 18,000, followed by such companies as Philip Morris, NCR, and Baxter International. For 1993 as a whole, the industries announcing the largest cutbacks have been aerospace, computers, and retailing.

Meanwhile, Human Resource Executive magazine reports in its forthcoming January issue that half of the nation's top 50 employers shed jobs in 1993, compared with 36% who expanded work rolls. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. added the most jobs--some 82,000--while Sears, Roebuck & Co. led the job-shedding parade, with cuts of some 169,000. Despite the latest bloodletting, which resulted in a net shrinkage of 147,000 jobs this year, the magazine reports that the top 50 employers have nevertheless added a net 460,000 jobs in the past six years.