80,000 lose jobs in US and Europe, Iceland govt collapses

THE world went dark for a while as a partial solar eclipse occurred on the Lunar New Year. The sun shone through again but for many parts of the United States, Europe and Asia, the gloom is here to stay.

A wave of job cuts hit major American and European companies which are facing lower demand for their products and even a government collapsed.

Heavy equipment maker Cater-pillar, Dutch financial services giant ING, Dutch electronics giant Philips Electronics and home improvement retailer Home Depot were among the large corporations which announced yesterday that they would shed a total of 80,000 jobs as business conditions deteriorate and profits dip.

Iceland has also been forced to seek a new coalition after the government and its prime minister resigned amid huge protests over the country’s dire economic state.

Job cuts have worsened as economies sour as a result of the global financial crisis, which now threatens to see economic growth in the United States, Europe and Japan contract in 2009.

For Malaysian employees, there was a silver lining of sorts. A job survey by a consultant has found that Malaysian employees feel more secure about their prospects compared to their counterparts in Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Chi-na, Japan and South Kor-ea.

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