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Acxiom layoffs appear greater than in the past.

Acxiom Corp. declined last week to say exactly how many Arkansas employees it has laid off in recent days, but a written statement suggests the company has been eliminating more positions than is typical.

The 7,300-employee company has averaged about 65 "involuntary terminations" each quarter during the past fiscal year, according to the statement, but has eliminated about 100 so far in the current quarter, which began Jan. 1. The company did not answer specific questions about the number of Arkansas jobs eliminated this month, which is the final month of its fiscal year.

Arkansas Business began receiving tips about ongoing layoffs earlier in March, but spokeswoman Suellen Vann initially indicated there was nothing unusual about the number of terminations. The statement she sent to Arkansas Business last week seemed to suggest the data mining company has adopted a new approach to staffing levels:

"Throughout the year our leaders have made business decisions across the enterprise to reduce expenses; these isolated changes were done as needed to prevent wide-scale layoffs that Acxiom experienced a few years ago," it said.

And:

"This will be the norm for Acxiom as we move forward--continually review business operations; then, adjust for client contract changes by ending projects in a timely manner and transferring associates to another part of the business, where possible, and eliminating positions when necessary."

The company is advertising about 130 vacant positions, according to the statement, but it is not known how many of those jobs are in Arkansas. The company has also increased its total employment by 440 net positions in the fiscal year that began last April 1. On Monday, the company provided information for this week's list of the state's largest employers: 2,789 Arkansas employees compared with 2,672 a year ago.

"[T]he position reductions occurred in multiple locations across Acxiom's lines of business--both within and outside Arkansas," Vann said in an e-mail. "It's my understanding from our Organizational Development team that position reductions were over the course of the quarter, not confined to March."

Acxiom, which last year survived a hostile takeover attempt, has a history of conducting large rounds of layoffs.
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Title Annotation:TECHNOLOGY & COMPUTERS
Author:Moritz, Gwen
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Mar 26, 2007
Words:358
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