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Strong franc woes Almost 50% more Swiss companies opt for job cuts in 2015

Richemont, one of Switzerland's largest watch groups, recently announced 350 job cuts

(Keystone)

The number of Swiss companies that announced major job cuts in 2015 increased by 45% compared to the year before. The cantons of Geneva and Zurich were the hardest hit. 

The German-language programme “10vor10” on Swiss public television, SRF revealed on Monday that 387 companies opted for major job cuts in 2015 compared to 268 in 2014. In total, almost 14,000 job cuts were announced in 2015. Companies blamed the strong franc for the layoffs. 

The canton of Geneva came out worst in the belt tightening measures. A total of 84 firms cut 1,700 jobs in 2015 compared to just 49 companies and 1,300 layoffs in 2014. 

In canton Zurich, 67 companies cut close to 4,100 jobs in 2015 compared to 53 firms letting go of 2,200 employees in 2014. 

Major job cuts was defined as laying off at least ten employees for a firm with 20 to 100 employees, 10% of staff for a company with 100 to 300 staff, and 30 jobs for firms with over 300 employees. 

Exporters hit

 In January 2015, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) dropped its defence of the franc, allowing it to soar against the euro and other currencies. A study of 208 publicly-listed Swiss firms conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) found that revenues of export-oriented companies declined by 16.3% on average in the six months after the SNB decision, while profits dived 20.4%. 

Exporters also scaled back investments by 30%, according to the data. However, the remaining investments were focused heavily outside of Switzerland. The proportion of infrastructure and production sites bought abroad increased from 45% to 63% of total acquisition outlay, researchers found.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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