Disney-ABC Cutting Staff

Company is slashing 400 jobs, about 5% of its workforce

Disney-ABC is slashing 400 jobs, about 5% of its workforce. Staffers were informed on Thursday.

"After months of making hard decisions across our business to help adjust to a weakening economy, we're now faced with the harsh reality of having to eliminate jobs in some areas," wrote Anne Sweeney, president of Disney-ABC Television Group, in an e-mail message to employees.

About 200 of the job cuts will come from the elimination of unfilled positions.

The cuts are company wide. ABC News will lose 35 positions. Some of them will come from political units beefed up to cover the long presidential campaigns. Additionally, open positions at World News and Good Morning America will not be filled.

ABC last week announced the merger of its entertainment division with ABC Studios, a move undertaken to streamline operations and eliminate redundancies. That restructuring will evolve over the next several months and could result in additional job losses.

The dire economic forecast has taken a particularly grim toll this week as myriad companies, including Caterpillar, John Deere, Home Depot, AOL and Sprint Nextel have announced significant layoffs. The unemployment rate stands at 7.2%, a 16-year high and many economists are predicting it will hit 10% this year.