Layoffs have climbed to their highest level in nearly a year—1.78 million workers were handed pink slips in May, the most since August 2010—increasing ever-present fears about the US economy. The Wall Street Journal highlights the latest casualties: Cisco Systems plans to slash 6,500 jobs; Lockheed Martin this week made a voluntary lay-off offer to 6,500; Goldman Sachs is getting rid of 1,000 jobs; even Cracker Barrel cut 60 employees.
And the cuts are contributing to another gloomy number: Because of them, the country recorded just 21,500 new jobs in May and June. "Layoffs have played a big role [in weak job growth] over the last few months," said one economist. "The soft patch is more layoffs and nothing else to pick up the slack."