Suddenly job cuts are in vogue, or so it seems.

Last Thursday’s surprise news that 19,500 jobs were lost in May seems to have triggered the flow of other reports of job cutting.

It’s coincidence, but there’s a change in tone in many of the commentaries on the economy. Recession is being more freely discussed (or rather, the possibility of it) and one leading economist has wondered out loud if there’s too much information flowing from the Reserve Bank.

In the past few days, 1,000 or more jobs have gone in announcements from companies large and small.

Qantas and Virgin Blue have yet to fully detail job cuts and losses from reshaping of their airline routes, capacity and changed business practices. But the losses could total, between the two, in the low hundreds.

Yesterday, struggling miner CBH revealed plans to cut its costs by $100 million ahead of a merger with rival, Perilya. It said a total of 247 jobs, full-time and contractors, would go at head office in Sydney and at its mines in NSW.

Adelaide-based electrical products manufacturer Clipsal said last Thursday it would close its Barossa Valley plant with the loss of about 200 jobs. The company said rising transport costs had led to the decision to close the Nuriootpa plastics plant by mid-2009 and transfer the operations to the Clipsal plant at Gepps Cross in Adelaide.

Electrical, plumbing and business supplies group, Crane Group, yesterday revealed plans to cut 90 jobs in Australia and NZ through the merger of its Trans Tasman plumbing and electrical products distribution businesses.

The Kleins jewellers chain closed last weekend after going into administration a month or so ago. Around 100 jobs will be lost.

And the gas supply crisis in Western Australia will trigger unspecified job losses in the boom state that is already seeing the first signs of a slowdown. Last Thursday’s ABS jobs figures showed that 400 jobs were lost in WA in May.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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