The Biggest Corporate Layoffs of the Century (So Far)

Tens of thousands of workers felt the axe in these worst cuts since 2000.

Close-up Of Unemployed Businesspeople Carrying Cardboard Boxes Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

If you've ever been through a layoff, you know how traumatic it can be. At least you often have plenty of company: dozens, hundreds or even thousands of co-workers who've also been cut.

That can be consoling -- though it means you'll have lots of competition when you try to find a new job.

Here are painful reminders of how bad job cuts can get: the 12 biggest layoffs since 2000. The numbers were provided to MoneyWise by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an employment services firm that tracks layoff announcements.

12. Wells Fargo

Portland, Oregon, United States - Dec 19, 2017: Building of Wells Fargo Center in downtown Portland
ARTYOORAN / Shutterstock

Layoffs: 26,500

Banking giant Wells Fargo announced in September 2018 that it would shrink its workforce by up to 10% over three years.

The company's CEO told employees the move was partly due to "the accelerating adoption of digital self-service capabilities." Huh? He was talking about the great shift to online banking and away from brick-and-mortar branches.

But news of the job cuts also followed a series of business scandals that drove away customers and saddled Wells Fargo with more than $1 billion in fines and penalties.

11. Hewlett-Packard

PALO ALTO, CA/USA - MARCH 16, 2014: Hewlett-Packard corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley. HP provides hardware, software and services to consumers, businesses and government.
Ken Wolter / Shutterstock

Layoffs: 27,000

In hopes of making itself a more nimble competitor in the tech industry, computer company Hewlett-Packard announced layoffs in May 2012.

At the time, HP was the world's largest maker of personal computers, printers and servers. But sales of its PCs had fallen 15% during the 2011 holiday season, and profits were sliding.

HP was struggling to stay relevant. Though many of its customers were going mobile, the company had no tablet or a smartphone to offer them.