The company did not reveal what percentage of its workforce that entailed, but it’s believed the U.S. theme parks employ about 200,000 people, which would make the layoffs a workforce reduction of 14 percent.
Disney parks in California remain closed while Florida parks, which reopened in July, have been underperforming.
The company had furloughed 100,000 employees worldwide at the height of the lockdowns in the spring. Many were brought back when Walt Disney World reopened this summer.
Theme parks have taken the brunt of the toll as the virus has limited or scuttled public gatherings. In the most recent April-June quarter, Disney’s theme-park division reported less than a billion dollars in revenue, after taking in nearly $7 billion in the same period in 2019. The division posted a loss of $2 billion over the period.
Business has not significantly picked up since. On an earnings call in August, Bob Chapek, the Disney chief executive who previously ran the theme-park division, acknowledged that its Walt Disney World locations in Central Florida have not seen the traffic executives had hoped for when they reopened in July. The parks, he said, had undergone a “higher-than-expected level of cancellations.”
In response the company cut back the parks’ hours. Walt Disney World in particular relies on travel from other states. Airlines are preparing to cut 35,000 jobs this week as people ground their travel plans.
The layoffs came as the company prepared to end its fiscal 2020 on Wednesday; the timing, some Wall Street analyst believe, is not coincidental as Disney seeks to shore up its expenses heading into a new period.
In a statement Tuesday, the company partly pointed the finger at California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who has kept bans on large public gatherings in place in his state. The situation, it said,