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Layoffs hit every corner

The first week of November has been brutal for the job market, with nearly 15,000 announced job cuts from a slew of companies across multiple industries.

Eight companies announced job cuts this week as a means of cost-cutting during desperate times, representing industries as widespread as retail, finance, leisure, pharmaceutical and toy and automobile manufacturing.

On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy sloughed nearly 1.2 million jobs through October. Just in the month of October, the economy lost 240,000 jobs, raising the unemployment rate to 6.5%...

Lakshman Achuthan, managing director of the Economic Cycle Research Institute, said that Hartford and Fidelity are getting squeezed by the plunging value of the stock markets. But he said the other companies - and even the drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline - are getting stifled by a consumer lock-down on any type of spending that is not totally necessary.

"You don't have to buy a La-Z-Boy today, but you might have to go to the doctor, you have to eat, and you have to pay rent," said Achuthan. "[The companies] are seeing that the consumer has been stunned or is frozen and will not make any purchases that he will not absolutely have to make."

As for Glaxo, Achuthan said that many Americans get their health insurance through their jobs, and when they lose their jobs, it affects the drugmakers. He said newly-uninsured people are spending their money on food and housing, instead of drugs...