Number, length of layoffs up, but severance down

Today's Wall Street Journal has a lengthy front page article about executives and professionals who blithely burned through what many would regard as generous severance packages, thinking they'd be re-employed at another big-salaried job long before the severance was gone. 

Although this issue won't be a problem with many facing joblessness – people cited in the article received severance packages of as much as $200K – one nugget of information did: companies have been steadily decreasing or outright eliminating severance packages in the past decade. For those who do receive severance in today's brutal employment market, the median amount is equivalent to 12.5 weeks' of their salary, down from 21.8 weeks in 1999, according to figures the article cites from Chicago-headquartered outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

This is occurring at a time when a) unemployment is the highest it's been in 26 years; and b) the long-term jobless rate is greater than it's been since the government began tracking it ... in 1948.

For the entire article, click here (although it will only be available to non-subscribers of through Nov. 17).

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