Revealed: AT&T has cut 9,000 jobs in the last quarter

(Seeking Alpha) – The latest quarter at AT&T also brought what looks like the most aggressive round of layoffs since its $85B embrace of Time Warner, part of a push to save $6B as it looks to slim down a swollen balance sheet.

Nearly 9,000 jobs appear to have vanished since last quarter – about 4% of the total – and that’s before AT&T announced this month that thousands more jobs were coming out of WarnerMedia, which is looking to slash costs by 20%.

The two companies together had employed about 281,450 people in 2015, and the number at AT&T is now 234,630 – lighter by about 47,000 jobs, about 17% of the 2015 total – a cull that looks unprecedented for telecom, LightReading notes.

It’s part of a plan to save about $6B by 2023, including cutting $1.5B from labor expenses. That would have meant about 10,000 total cuts if spread evenly, but the total already looks to go much higher.

At least for the just-reported quarter, operating expenses fell by $479M, just 1.3% of the total, while revenues slumped by 5% to $42.3B (still better than expected).

AT&T’s not along among telecoms, LightReading points out. Verizon (NYSE:VZ) has cut nearly 43,000 jobs since 2015, it says, and even T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) appears to be laying off workers despite comments (during its hunt to merge with Sprint) that it expected to add roles to the combined company. Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY), Telefónica (NYSE:TEF) and Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) have cut thousands as well.

It’s all coming amid a pandemic that is spurring many customers to shop online, giving the telecoms backing to initiate more store closures.