27 Jan 2009

Wave of job losses in US, Europe

6:46 am on 27 January 2009

Companies in the United States and Europe have announced they are cutting tens of thousands of jobs as firms buckle under the weight of the economic downturn.

In the United States, construction equipment giant Caterpillar said it planned 20,000 job cuts worldwide to cope with plunging sales.

US telecom operator Sprint Nextel announced 8,000 cuts, or 14% of its staff, and top US home improvement retailer Home Depot said it would cut 7,000 jobs.

US president Barack Obama warned that the United States could not afford delays in Congress over his $US825 billion stimulus plan.

He called for "swift and extraordinary" action, after earlier saying the downturn could get "dramatically worse."

Europe

Dutch electronics giant Philips said it would eliminate 6,000 jobs.

Dutch banking and insurance group ING announced 7,000 job cuts and a deal for the Dutch state to guarantee billions of euros' worth of troubled assets.

Europe's second-biggest steelmaker, Indian-owned Corus, said it would cut more than 3,500 jobs around the world, most of them in Britain.

European shares surged on Monday however with sharp gains in the banking sector on positive news from British group Barclays, whose share price surged more than 75% on unexpectedly strong profit expectations, analysts said.

London closed 3.86% higher, Paris added 3.73% and Frankfurt climbed 3.54%.