Top 10 Companies That Laid Off the Most Workers in 2014

Job cuts in the U.S. this year have totaled nearly 333,000. However, only 10 companies have been the reason behind more than 20 percent (nearly 72,000) of the layoffs.

Data provided by Challenger, Gray & Christmas revealed how job cuts have improved since 2013, where 347,000 jobs were cut out of the workforce.

The recent analysis examined the 10 companies responsible for these layoffs and the reasoning behind the job losses:

Microsoft Corporation:

Although Microsoft earned nearly a $22 billion net worth last year, the company has announced the most layoffs within the last year. In an effort to restructure the corporation, Microsoft closed down its research facility in Silicon Valley and cut nearly 18,000 jobs—12,000 of which were related to its Nokia services.

  • Total # Of Employees: 128,000
  • Job Cuts: 18,000

Hewlett-Packard Company:


Computer company Hewlett-Packard Company has seen it’s sales gradually fall since 2011. The company says the reason behind the drop in profit is due to the decrease in popularity of home computers—especially desktop computers. HP has let roughly 16,000 workers go.

  • Total # Of Employees: 317,500
  • Job Cuts: 16,000

 Cisco Systems:

Since 2009, Cisco Systems has eliminated more than 25,000 global workers due to sluggish revenue growth. New inexpensive software has been the culprit of this decline. Cisco customers are now investing into the company’s inexpensive software rather than older high-end hardware. The technology company doesn’t plan to stop reducing its employee count any time soon. 

  • Total # Of Employees: 74,042
  • Job Cuts: 6,000

 United Continental Holdings:


The Chicago-based company saw a 4% decrease in the number of employed workers. Merger UAL CORP bought United Continental Holdings’ airline a few years prior in hopes to improve the company’s profitability, productivity, and operational performances. After failing to do so, more than 2,000 workers were laid-off at the start of 2014, followed by 3,000 in June.  

  • Total # Of Employees: 86,000
  • Job Cuts: 5,521

Cold Water Creek Inc.:

In April, apparel company Cold Water Creek cut 5,500 workers and closed down 350 stores after filing for bankruptcy. Other retailers have bought leases from the struggling company since its insolvency. It’s unknown how many workers are now employed by Cold Water Creek, but the company plans to make a comeback through the help of a new private owner. It plans to revamp itself by targeting female customers through online and catalog shopping.  

  • Job Cuts: 5,500 

J.P. Morgan Chase and Co.:

This is not the first time J.P. Morgan Chase has decided to cut off a large number of workers from its company. In 2013, the bank and financial corporation let go approximately 20,000 workers. Within the last year, 17,000 mortgage employees and 7,500 bank workers were cut due to dwindling trading profits.

  • Total # Of Employees: 245,192
  • Job Cuts: 5,500


Slow growth and poor earnings forced Intel to cut 5% of its workers at the start of 2014, including over 1,000 jobs in Costa Rica. The company stated that most of its laid-off workers were “people retiring, redeploying, or leaving voluntarily.”

  • Total # Of Employees: 107,600
  • Job Cuts: 5,350

Bank of America:

The world’s largest bank has cut nearly 4150 jobs in the U.S. and overseas. Texas and California locations experienced nearly 600 job cuts in the beginning of the year while Charlotte, North Carolina had 540 jobs cut over the summer. During the spring season, Bank of America moved its layoff plan overseas. Approximately 3,000 positions were eliminated.

  • Total # Of Employees: 233,000
  • Job Cuts: 4,146

 Best Buy:

This retail store has cut nearly 1,000 jobs in Canada and 2,000 management positions in the U.S since the beginning of 2014. Best Buy’s “Renew Blue” restructuring plan aims to revive the company’s sales performance–especially during the holiday season.

  • Total # Of Employees: 140,000
  • Job Cuts: 3,000

 Amgen, Inc.:

Job cuts in the pharmaceutical industry declined by 15.4% between 2013 and 2014. Since August, drug manufacture Amgen has contributed to this statistic. The corporation has laid-off nearly 3,000 employees and has shut down facilities located in Colorado and Washington.

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  • Total # Of Employees: 20,000
  • Job Cuts: 2,950

While most “companies face difficult obstacles to return to profitability, or are insolvent,” Challenger, Gray & Christmas says, “more of the layoffs are occurring now because companies are shifting their business strategies, they’re buying other companies and they don’t need two headquarters.”

Three factors that mainly determine if a company will resort to employee downsizing include:

Consumption Evolution: Some companies, especially those in the retail sector, have to compete with evolving consumption methods. This is largely due to convenient online shopping, which sometimes affects the number of store workers needed within a company.

Competitiveness: Companies restructure their operations to generate the highest return that would appeal to shareholders. They do this by reducing costs and increasing profits.

Bankruptcy: When a company reaches an insolvent state, they tend to file for bankruptcy, which also causes most shareholders to be wiped out. 

The industries with the highest job cuts this year include financial and banking, retail, and technology. These industries also had the highest number of employees. 

Image: istock




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