Halliburton, Baker cut workforces deeper, bringing layoffs to 27,000

HOUSTON — Halliburton has cut nearly 14,000 jobs and Baker Hughes has laid off 13,000 employees since they began trimming their headcounts last year to cope with the oil-market crash, officials said Monday.

Those figures, shown in quarterly securities filings Friday and confirmed by company spokeswomen on Monday, are several thousand more jobs than the last time the oil field service companies gave an estimate of their planned layoffs in April.

Halliburton’s latest layoff estimate exceeds its April figure by 5,000 jobs, bringing its cuts up to16 percent of its workforce. And Baker Hughes’ estimate is up by 2,500 jobs, up to 21 percent of its headcount. Halliburton’s payroll peaked at more than 80,000 last year, spokeswoman Emily Mir said. Baker Hughes had 62,000 at the end of last year, according to regulatory papers.

That means the world’s top four oil field service companies – Schlumberger, Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Weatherford International – have either cut or planned to cut 58,000 jobs this year in response to the collapse of crude prices.

The companies have reduced their headcounts and consolidated facilities across the United States and elsewhere. Houston-based Halliburton and Baker Hughes, which are in talks with antitrust regulators about sealing a $34.6 billion merger, say they haven’t cut any positions because of the deal, but rather because of the global slump in drilling activity.

“With market conditions remaining challenging, we have taken decisive actions to strengthen our revenue and reduce our cost structure companywide to improve profitability and remain competitive in this environment,” Baker Hughes spokeswoman Melanie Kania said in an emailed statement.

“We’ve made efforts to minimize reductions through alternative cost-cutting measures when possible and impacted employees will be eligible for severance benefits.”

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