RealTime IT News

The iJobless Factor

It's plain to see that lots of dot-com serfs are looking over their shoulders these days as the ranks of the newly unemployed continue to swell.

In fact, layoff and downsizing announcements have become so common they barely make news. Consider just a few in the past week or so: just today Stamps.com said it would cut 40 percent of its workforce; on Friday drugstore.com said it would cut 60 jobs; last Thursday Red Herring cut 6 percent; earlier MyPoints.com said it's cutting 120 jobs, WebMD is cutting 1,100 jobs, and it goes on and on.

So it comes as no big surprise that a new study from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. predicts the trend will only accelerate.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the study says the number of layoffs at Internet companies increased 18 percent to 5,677 by Oct. 20 from 4,805 in September.

Not even counted in those figures, Internet postage company Stamps.com said today it has reduced its headcount by approximately 240 full-time, part-time and contract employees across all locations.

John A. Challenger, chief executive of Challenger Gray, was quoted as saying that he noticed the first trickle of layoffs at dot-com firms in December, when he recorded 301 layoffs. But he said the rate that dot-com firms were cutting jobs intensified in May, when investors started putting greater pressure on the dot-com firms to generate revenue and turn a profit.

"It will take dot-com firms longer than expected to convince consumers to change their purchasing habits and buy everything online," he was quoted as saying.