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One in Two Companies Hit By Job Reductions So Far in the 90s, Survey Shows With AM-Economy,

September 26, 1991

One in Two Companies Hit By Job Reductions So Far in the 90s, Survey Shows With AM-Economy, Bjt

NEW YORK (AP) _ Nearly one in two companies has trimmed its workforce since the start of the decade, said a survey released Thursday by a leading business consulting firm.

The survey of 1,800 businesses by Towers Perrin found that workforces were reduced by an average of 11 percent between the start of 1990 and mid-1991.

Hardest hit was real estate, followed by the transportation and electronics sectors. More than three-quarters of firms in these sectors reported reductions. Least affected were drug companies.

″The trend toward reducing staffing is just phenomenal and appears to be continuing rather than letting up,″ said Bruce Pittenger, a managing director of New York-based Towers Perrin.

The survey found that while 25 percent of respondents were adding jobs this year, one-fifth plan to cut jobs next year.

Despite some spotty signs of an economic recovery, several major corporations have announced major staff cutbacks in recent weeks.

For example, Ameritech Corp., a Chicago-based holding company for telephone utilities, expects to trim 3,000 jobs; Union Carbide Corp. plans to slash its worldwide work force by 5,500; and Harris Corp. said it was cutting 2,000 jobs because of a worldwide semiconductor glut.

Pittenger said the layoffs particularly affected middle management ranks that were beefed up in the expansionary 1980s and which corporations are now trying to trim.

The survey also looked at business’s methods of staff reductions. Of those reporting staff reductions, 90 percent trimmed ranks through attrition; about 80 percent laid off workers, and 38 percent enticed employees into early retirement.

Towers Perrin is a leading consulting firm specializing in employee benefits and compensation.

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