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700 More Jobs Gone at Publicis Groupe

For only the second time this year Publicis (PUB) has shown some candor regarding job cuts at its various ad agencies (including Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett): It has cut 2,900 jobs. That's 1,100 more than the network previously admitted to. Adweek reported on the appearance of Publicis Groupe CFO Jean-Michel Etienne at the UBS Media Conference in New York:
...[he] told investors and analysts yesterday that the Paris-based agency holding company reduced its workforce by 6.5 percent (or 2,900 people) from last December, and that the company's ongoing hiring freeze would remain in place at least until the middle of 2010.
The last time Publicis confessed that it had laid anyone off was in July when CEO Maurice Levy admitted he'd cut 1,800 of his underlings. Prior to that -- and during the rest of this year -- Publicis has acted, in turns, as if the recession has not affected it or by expressing surprise when it did.

The disclosure also adds more evidence to BNET's pet theory that ad agency layoffs have been much worse than previously reported, and that such job losses remain a threat to the recovery of consumer demand -- and the ad budgets they depend on.

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