Kraft Heinz Plant Closures Add to Growing 2015 Layoffs

Kraft Heinz Food Co. (NYSE: HNZ) announced Wednesday it will close seven plants in the United States and Canada over the next two years. The Kraft Heinz plant closures will eliminate 2,600 jobs and add to 2015's growing layoff tally.

The Kraft Heinz plant closures will trim the newly merged food company's North American factory workforce by 14%. The company also announced in August that some 2,500 non-factory jobs would be shed. The job force cuts are aimed at reducing costs and making the food giant more efficient and nimble.

The Kraft Heinz plant closures add to the October layoff total of 50,504.

October's tally brings the year-to-date total to 543,935. That's 31% more than the 414,591 cuts announced by this point in 2014. In fact, it's 13% higher than 2014's full-year count of 483,171, according to outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

layoffs spikeThe oil price slump is the key culprit in this year's mounting layoff count.

About one in five layoffs announced this year are attributed to low oil prices. In October, oil prices were blamed for 13,671 job cuts. That's 27% of all cuts announced last month. It's also the highest oil-related job cut total since April, when 20,675 job cuts were blamed on oil.

Overall, oil prices are responsible for 101,383 job cuts so far in 2015. A number of companies, including Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX), Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL), Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI), and Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB), have experienced multiple layoff events this year.

But the spike in layoffs hasn't just been limited to the oil industry...

Large-scale military cutbacks in early 2015 thrust the government sector to the second spot in the year-to-date job cut rankings. The 69,105 government cuts announced through October are 226% higher than the 21,200 announced last year.

Layoffs in the retail sector are up 67% to 64,983 in 2015.

And things will likely get worse...

"Now, we are heading into what has historically been a period of heavy job cutting, even in the strongest economy," John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a statement. "The fourth quarter is when many companies make adjustments to operations and payrolls in order to hit year-end earnings goals."

Here are 12 more notable layoffs announced last month...

Kraft Heinz Plant Closures Lead These Major Layoff Announcements

 Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (Nasdaq: AMD) said on Oct. 2 it would cut about 500 jobs, or 5% of its global workforce, amid a restructuring plan expected to save $58 million in 2016. The struggling chipmaker is looking to rein in costs amid weak demand and intense competition.

A&P will layoff as many as 13,000 workers by Thanksgiving as the 156-year old grocery store chain heads toward liquidation. That's nearly 50% of A&P's total workforce of 28,500 workers. Previously, A&P projected a much lower job loss total. Credited with inventing the modern American supermarket, A&P was once the nation's largest food retailer. Just 300 stores remain in the United States, where there once were 15,000.

Baxter International Inc. (NYSE: BAX) announced on Oct. 27 it will cut 1,400 jobs by the end of 2015 amid a sharp Q3 profit drop. That's about 5% of the healthcare product maker's workforce.

Biogen Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB) announced on Oct. 21 it will cut 880 jobs, or about 11% of its workface. Included in the global layoffs are 400 job losses in its home state of Massachusetts. The biotech giant will also end several research programs in a restructuring driven by slower sales growth and a multiple sclerosis drug trial that fell short of expectations.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) reported on Oct. 30 it will shed 6,000 to 7,000 jobs and slash its capital investment plan after lower energy prices walloped Q3 sales and profit.

Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) said on Oct. 27 its will reduce its headcount before 2015's close by 2,000, or 4%, due to weak demand for its engines. The announcement came after the Indiana-based company said it expects the weakness to continue. CMI cut its FY15 outlook and shares sank to a three-year low.

Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE: DB) announced on Oct. 29 it will slash 35,000 jobs and exit 10 countries in a sweeping overhaul, which includes eliminating the company's dividend. The move came amid a hefty 6 billion euro ($6.525 billion) loss.

ESPN, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS), reported on Oct. 21 it's laying off about 300 people as huge programming costs and a declining subscriber base hit a business deemed unshakable just a few years ago.

Harley-Davidson Inc. (NYSE: HOG) said on Oct. 20 it will cut 250 jobs in Q4. The move came as Q3 results showed a 1.4% sales drop and 6.5% profit decline amid waning global consumer appetite for its iconic motorcycles.

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3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) announced Oct. 22 it will cut 1,500 jobs, or 1.7% of its workforce. The move is part of a global restructuring effort. The maker of touchscreens and Post-it Notes is fighting sluggish growth overseas and a strong U.S. dollar that's crimping sales.

Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) reported on Oct. 7 it will eliminate 2,600 jobs, or about 12% of its workforce, as part of a cost-cutting plan. The St. Louis-based agriculture giant is dealing with falling sales of its biotech seeds and herbicides, which pushed its Q3 quarterly losses deeper into the red.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) announced on Oct. 2 that 450 people will be laid off at the company's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. The world's largest retailer is confronting slow sales and shifts in the retail business.

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