AT&T is laying off 1.5 percent of its 309,000 workers, which will be reflected in a Q1 pretax charge of $374 million, WSJ reported, citing a 10-K filing on Friday. The job cuts will mainly be felt by those in management positions. AT&T (NYSE: T) said that the reason for the cuts is to streamline operations “after bringing together several companies in recent years.” The San Antonio telco also said that its staffing levels would otherwise remain stable this year and that it expects additional hires to support growth areas.
– Update: A later WSJ item pegs the number of layoffs around 4,600. But over the course of the year, AT&T plans to hire back the same number of employees, as it shifts resources away from its landline business to concentrate on expanding its wireless, TV and broadband services. UBS analyst John Hodulik estimates that even though the employment numbers will remain basically the same by the end of the year, the cuts could still help AT&T realize significant cost savings around half a billion dollars.