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AT&T, BofA Plan to Cut 11,500 Jobs

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Corporate America braced itself for another wave of pink slips as Bank of America and AT&T Corp. today announced layoffs totaling more than 10,000 jobs.

The payroll reductions were announced only a few days after a private employment report showed that layoff activity jumped in September. Layoffs announced in September rose more than 40% from the same month last year to nearly 108,000 workers -the highest monthly loss this year.

AT&T, which is turning away from its traditional residential service, will slash 7,000 jobs, a figure that when combined with previously announced cutbacks amount to about 20% of the company's workforce. The cost of the layoffs will force the company to post a $1.1-billion charge against profits

Earlier in the day, Bank of America said it would lay off about 4,500 workers nationwide as it combines operations in the wake of its merger with FleetBoston Financial.

The job cuts will begin this month, and Bank of America, one of the nation's largest financial companies, estimated they will cost $150 million in severance payments. The reductions amount to 2.5% of the company's 178,000 workers.

It was not clear how many jobs will be lost in California, where Bank of America employs about 40,000 people. Bank officials could not be reached for additional comment.

On the New York Stock Exchange, Bank of America shares ended the day with a slight gain, rising 18 center to close at $45.43. Shares of AT&T, which announced its cutbacks after the close of financial markets, fell more than 1%, or 16 cents, to $15.04 on the NYSE.

Bank of America, which is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., said the layoffs were made after a reorganization last month simplified the bank's operating structure. The job cuts "ensure the company is operating as efficiently and effectively as possible," Bank of America said in a statement.

The layoffs announced today are in addition to 12,500 jobs cuts announced in April, when Bank of America completed its $48-billion acquisition of Boston-based FleetBoston.

The new round of layoffs will be made companywide and primarily involve positions that have little or no customer contact, Bank of America said.

Charlotte, N.C.-based NationsBank bought San Francisco's BankAmerica for $57 billion in 1998, taking the BofA name and setting up the new company in North Carolina.
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