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A bit ironic, but certainly not unexpected… Help-wanteds site CareerBuilder has cut 300 jobs — its own — mostly in its small business unit, Chicago Tribune reported. The company wouldn’t tell the Trib its current headcount, though its website does say it has 2,000 employees, suggesting that roughly 15 percent of its workforce is gone now. In another ironic twist, the layoffs were handed down on Friday — the same day the federal government announced that 553,000 jobs were lost in November, representing the highest monthly unemployment in 34 years.
The news did not come up at all during CEO Matt Ferguson’s presentation at Wednesday’s UBS Media Week conference, something of an oversight that would likely make investors who were there to question him furious. I spoke to Ferguson after his appearance and he said that the company had taken a variety of cost-cutting steps recently, but he declined to specify. He added that CareerBuilder had been impacted by the rising unemployment and overall downturn, but noted that the company is nevertheless experiencing greater traffic and revenues than rival Monster.com. Before Ferguson took the podium, Craig Dubow, chairman and CEO of Gannett (NYSE: GCI), which holds a controlling stake in the recruiter, praised CareerBuilder for providing 80 percent of its digital revenues in Q4. Aside from that, I also talked to Ferguson about CareerBuilder’s other owner, The Tribune Company and its bankruptcy filing this week. Ferguson assured me that Tribune’s current troubles will have no impact on CareerBuilder, whose other stakeholders include The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI) and Microsoft.