PepsiCo Layoff Rumblings Confirm Trend for Mass Firings

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi
PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi has been rumored to be a candidate for World Bank president, according to various reports. Jim Young/Reuters

PepsiCo is considering laying off 4,000 employees -- a fraction over 1 percent of its total global workforce -- to boost its bottom line, the New York Post reported Thursday.

If confirmed, it would be only the latest in a round of mass layoffs large American manufacturers have announced or put into effect just 5 days into the new year. 

The newspaper report, citing sources close to PepsiCo, said the action was being considered by CEO Indra Nooyi as a way to boost earnings.

They are burning the furniture, the newspaper cited an unnamed source as saying.

On Wednesday, aerospace behemoth Boeing announced it will shutter its Wichita, Kansas plant by 2013, as a result of the decline in military-related orders. More than 2,160 workers are expected to lose their jobs as a result. Days earlier, competitor Northrop Grumman said it will close shop in Fort Worth, Texas, putting 210 people on the street.

Also Thursday, Montreal-based rail-car maker Bombardier said it would be temporarily laying off 100 from an upstate New York plant, according to an NBC affiliate.

The sudden rash of layoff announcements could put a dent in what had been seen as a modest retreat in the number of new unemployment claims. After worryingly high numbers during the summer, the number of new jobless claims submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor has been under the psychologically important 400,000 mark for eight of the last nine weeks. That threshold is a finger-in-the-wind benchmark used by economists to demarcate a struggling labor market from a growing one. 

At press time, PepsiCo had not returned a request for comment on the layoffs report.

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