Layoffs mount, but media not worst off

It might be little consolation, especially considering that Sony Pictures reportedly is preparing to cut 300 jobs, but layoffs in the media business don't come close to the carnage in some other sectors. During the first two months of this year, 7,453 jobs were lost at media companies. Even when combining that with the 2,183 jobs cut from entertainment/leisure (a sector that includes movie theaters and theme parks), it's relatively mild.

The worst industry, for example, is retail, which slashed 72,727 jobs in January and February.

The data are based on announced cuts and comes from a Challenger, Gray & Christmas report released Wednesday.

The industry with the second-most job losses was automotive, at 70,058, followed by industrial goods, with 51,545 jobs lost.

Challenger, an executive outplacement firm, breaks down its data into 25 industries. There are 14 industries that suffered more layoffs than media and 18 more than entertainment/leisure.

In all of 2008, the media sector suffered 28,083 layoffs. In the first two months last year, 5,544 jobs were lost, 34% fewer than in the first two months this year.

As for Sony, the studio had no comment on impending layoffs, though the cuts reportedly are linked to poor DVD sales and not related to the 8,000 jobs recently slashed from Sony's electronics unit.

Sony's 7,000 studio employees worldwide aren't the only ones feeling the sting from a broken U.S. economy. Universal, Paramount and Warner Bros. have all announced layoffs.

And the jobs lost at WB came despite the fact it collected $1.79 billion in grosses at the domestic boxoffice in 2008, a one-year record for any movie studio.

Fox is the most notable film studio to have not announced mass layoffs during this recession. (partialdiff)