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Disney increases layoffs to 32,000 workers as coronavirus batters its theme park business

CNBC logo CNBC 11/26/2020 Sarah Whitten
  • Disney will layoff 32,000 employees in the first half of fiscal 2021.
  • This figure includes the 28,000 workers that the company previously announced in September.
  • In addition, as of Oct. 3, around 37,000 employees who were not expected to be laid off were placed on furlough.
a building with a metal fence: An employee cleans the grounds behind the closed gates of Disneyland Park on the first day of the closure of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks, in Anaheim, California, on March 14, 2020. © Provided by CNBC An employee cleans the grounds behind the closed gates of Disneyland Park on the first day of the closure of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks, in Anaheim, California, on March 14, 2020.

Disney is expanding the scope of its layoffs to around 32,000 workers as the coronavirus pandemic continues to pummel the theme park industry.

In an SEC filing published Wednesday, the company revealed that thousands of employees will have their jobs terminated in the first half of fiscal 2021. The majority of these layoffs will be from its parks, experiences and products division and include the 28,000 workers that the company previously announced in September.

Prolonged closures at Disney's California-based theme parks and limited attendance at its open parks has forced the company to slim down its workforce. In addition, as of Oct. 3, around 37,000 employees who were not expected to be laid off were placed on furlough.

As of Oct. 3, Disney employed around 203,000 people, with its global workforce comprised of around 80% full-time workers and 20% part time employees. Of its total workforce, around 155,000 employees work as part of the parks, experiences and products segment.

This division includes all of Disney's domestic and international theme parks as well as its resorts, cruise line and merchandising.

Earlier this month, Disney said the Covid-19 outbreak cost its parks, experiences and products segment around $2.4 billion in lost operating income during its fiscal fourth quarter. The segment saw revenue fall 61% to $2.6 billion.

In the fiscal second quarter, the company had reported it lost $1 billion in operating income due to the pandemic, and in the fiscal third quarter, the pandemic cut its operating income by $3.5 billion.

All theme parks in California remain shuttered, as state guidelines prohibit reopening until coronavirus cases in counties fall below 1 per 100,000 — a target that will be difficult to achieve as cases soar throughout the country.

As of Wednesday, Orange County, where Disneyland's two California parks are located, is seeing 20.2 cases per 100,000 people.

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