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Where mergers hit hardest

Merger-related job cuts in 1999 are up 52 percent over the same period last year, according to a recent report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an international outplacement firm. The financial sector ranks first among all industries in merger cuts.

Of the 49,664 merger-related job cuts announced in 1999, 19,395, or 39 percent, occurred in financial services, which includes banks, securities firms, mortgage companies, and collection agencies, says the report.

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The second-place commodities industry accounted for 9,125, or 18 percent, of the merger-related cuts. Industrial goods, aerospace/defense, and insurance following in descending order.

Employees in financial institutions can be particularly vulnerable to job loss following merger transactions. Many financial institutions are shifting services to the Internet, which means consumers can now do almost everything online: trade stocks, secure a mortgage, transfer funds between bank accounts.

Additionally, in the financial sector there tends to be much more overlap of job responsibilities - and more consolidation, leading to branch closures, the report says.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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