Sectors feeling the squeeze

Some industries are more likely than others to find themselves in the throes of a merger - and in layoff mode.

"Merger-and-acquisition activity has been on the rise lately," especially in telecommunications, banking, oil, and the computer industry, says John Challenger, chief executive officer of the Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Telecommunications mergers might have been the newsmakers of late, but that industry doesn't make the top five on this year's list - compiled by Mr. Challenger's firm - of overall merger-related job cuts through October:

1. Financial services. Banks, securities firms, mortgage companies, and collection agencies.

2. Commodities. Oil, mining, and energy companies.

3. Industrial goods. Companies that make products made for businesses, not consumers - scientific equipment, for example.

4. Chemicals

5. Aerospace/defense

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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