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Merck to lay off 2,700 in U.S. out of 7,200 worldwide

Merck says it will cut 6,800 workers -- 40% in the U.S., the rest abroad -- and leave 400 vacant jobs unfilled, one month after finishing a three-year effort to cut 10,400. Nearly a quarter of the company's workforce is in suburban Philadelphia.

"Merck expects to eliminate approximately 7,200 positions — 6,800 active employees and 400 vacancies — across all areas of the Company worldwide by the end of 2011.  About 40 percent of the total reductions (6800 x 0.4) will occur in the United States.  
  "To streamline management layers across the Company, Merck will reduce its total number of senior and mid-level executives by approximately 25 percent.  These positions are in addition to the 10,400 positions eliminated as part of the 2005 restructuring program, which was substantially complete at the end of September 2008.  
  "As of Sept. 30, Merck has approximately 56,700 employees," including 12,500 at its research labs and pill factories in central Montgomery County, and other Philadelphia-area sites, where Merck ranks with Lockheed Martin, Comcast and Acme Marets among the biggest private employers..
  Merck layoff statement in its lackluster third-quarter profit report, here.