AP says 90 layoffs this week reach payroll goal

AP News
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Posted: Nov 19, 2009 5:14 PM

The Associated Press said Thursday it laid off 90 news employees worldwide this week to reach its goal of cutting annual payroll costs by 10 percent.

The AP set the target in October 2008 and said it achieved most of the reductions through attrition and buyouts. To complete the effort this week, the company resorted to its largest newsroom layoffs in memory _ cutting roughly 2 percent of the work force. An undisclosed number in other departments were cut earlier.

AP spokesman Paul Colford would not specify how many positions were eliminated overall in the yearlong reduction.

The AP, which was founded in 1846, had 4,000 employees at the start of this year. But the company said the payroll reduction would not necessarily translate into a loss of 400 jobs because it was cutting people with a wide range of wages.

The not-for-profit news cooperative said it lowered its expenses to deal with a reduction in the fees it charges newspapers and broadcasters that have been squeezed by the recession and competition on the Internet. The AP's revenue is expected to fall about 6 percent this year to $700 million.

The AP's labor-related expenses were nearly $419 million last year, up 2 percent from 2007.

Although the AP has been increasing the revenue it gets from selling news and photos online, about two-fifths of its revenue still comes from U.S. newspapers and broadcasters. After lowering its fees for U.S. newspapers by $30 million this year, the AP will reduce fees for newspapers and broadcasters by $45 million in 2010.