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Layoff shockwaves spreading across corporate America

  In this May 20, 2008 file photo, Pepsi products are delivered to a store in Omaha, Neb. PepsiCo Inc. said Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2008, it plans to elimin...
 An investor stands in front of the stock price monitor at a private security company Friday, Oct. 17, 2008, in Shanghai, China. Chinese stocks reboun...
 Brokers are seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, central Germany, on Friday, Oct. 17, 2008. World stock markets were mixed Friday after Wall Stre...
 Specialists George F. Moerler, right, accompanied by a Broker, left, watch the monitor as they work on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchan...

Earns PepsiCo

In this May 20, 2008 file photo, Pepsi products are delivered to a store in Omaha, Neb. PepsiCo Inc. said Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2008, it plans to elimin...

China Markets

An investor stands in front of the stock price monitor at a private security company Friday, Oct. 17, 2008, in Shanghai, China. Chinese stocks reboun...

Germany Markets

Brokers are seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, central Germany, on Friday, Oct. 17, 2008. World stock markets were mixed Friday after Wall Stre...

APTOPIX Wall Street

Specialists George F. Moerler, right, accompanied by a Broker, left, watch the monitor as they work on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchan...

Shock waves from the global financial crisis are now being felt in almost every corner of working America as companies press the eject button on increasing numbers of employees.
While the ax has been falling for months in the financial and home-building industries - where the current economic downturn started - as well as the Detroit auto industry, makers of everything from soft drinks to water filtration systems have unveiled hefty rounds of job cuts in recent weeks as they brace for what some predict could become a long and deep recession.
In the past week alone, companies including PepsiCo Inc and Danaher Corp said they would lay off thousands of workers, while the state of Massachusetts disclosed plans to cut its payroll by 1,000 as it faces a tax shortfall.
The situation is poised to worsen as the holidays approach and many businesses scrutinize budgets for the coming year. The sad truth is that Christmas layoffs are common in tough times.
"It's a fairly grim outlook," said Michael Goodman, director of economic and public policy research at the Donahue Institute of the University of Massachusetts. "I don't know of any sector of the economy that will be spared."
A four-week moving average of new U.S. government jobless claims last week hit its highest point in seven years.
Ed Yardeni, chief investment strategist for Yardeni Research, is hoping that the U.S. government's US$700 billion bailout package will slow the job cuts.
"If this rescue plan doesn't work, then... you could see something much worse that could feel like a recession or a depression, with all sorts of people losing jobs," Yardeni said.
A survey of more than 100 chief financial officers and other senior executives - conducted Wednesday - found 56 percent expect to reduce payrolls over the coming year. A majority polled by CFO Magazine also predicted falling revenues and plan to cut operating costs by at least 5 percent.
Workers are scared. Some 47 percent polled last month by Workplace Options said news of the financial crisis made them fearful about job security, and 25 percent said they had begun scanning help-wanted ads or updating their resumes.
"I'm being more conservative about spending - I'm concerned," said Donald Gaunt, a 52-year-old construction worker from Smithville, Rhode Island.