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AT&T Slices Jobs Ahead of Earnings

Just days before announcing its first-quarter earnings, AT&T Inc. said it’s axing 4,600 employees, or about 1.5 percent of its workforce.

The nation’s largest phone company said it needs to streamline operations now that it has integrated BellSouth, Cingular, Dobson Communications Corp. and other acquisitions. It will shed mostly management employees, or those in “non-customer-facing areas,” AT&T said in a Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

AT&T will take a $374 million pre-tax charge for the layoffs.

Despite the news, AT&T said it will hire more workers throughout 2008 “to support growth areas.” AT&T’s largest growth is coming from wireless and IPTV.

AT&T on Tuesday will report its first-quarter earnings. The company’s previous numbers skyrocketed thanks to partnerships and acquisitions. Analysts expect that momentum to continue, especially as rival Sprint Nextel struggles with churn.

AT&T stocks were up 22 cents during early afternoon trading, at $37.79.


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