In an internal memo distributed today, Gannett's U.S. newspapers division president Bob Dickey announced that 700 employees—or approximately 2 percent of the company’s overall workforce—would be laid off.
“As we reach the midpoint of the year, the economic recovery is not happening as quickly or favorably as we had hoped and continues to impact our U.S. community media organizations,” Dickey wrote, explaining that weakness in the real estate sector, slow job creation, and a decrease in auto ad demand are all contributing to the stall in revenue growth. “While we have sought many ways to reduce costs, I regret to tell you that we will not be able to avoid layoffs.”
Dickey also added, “In an effort to reduce the number of people being let go, there will be furloughs in the coming months, but they will be limited only to those on the USCP corporate payroll who make over a certain salary.” Many of Gannett’s 22,400 U.S. newspaper staffers already took a one-week unpaid furlough during the current quarter.
According to Gannettblog, the announcement marks the largest single round of company newspaper layoffs since 2009, when the U.S. newspaper division eliminated about 1,400 jobs, and is the fourth mass layoff since August 2008. Meanwhile, Gannett recently disclosed that CEO Craig Dubow was paid $9.4 million last year—double what he earned in 2009—and other company executives also received huge raises.