Report: 300 CareerBuilder layoffs follow tax break

The big employment listings website controlled by Gannett has laid off more than 300 employees, a published report says today — just two months after winning a $2.9 million tax break to add 185 jobs at its Chicago headquarters.

This is at least the second time a Gannett business has won a tax break for creating jobs in one city, while simultaneously eliminating jobs elsewhere. CareerBuilder had threatened to leave Chicago without the public money.

“Most of the laid-off workers are from the Chicago corporate headquarters,” the East Valley Tribune near Phoenix, Ariz., reports. “However, some have also been let go from the Atlanta offices. The company’s public information office in Chicago refused to answer questions about the layoffs, although a telephone call by the East Valley Tribune to a branch office near O’Hare Airport confirmed the layoffs were made Friday morning.”

CareerBuilder won the nearly $3 million in Tax Increment Financing to help pay for an $11.6 million renovation of Chicago office space at 200 North LaSalle St., the city’s Department of Planning and Development said in a statement on Oct. 8.

“Eight hundred employees will be located at the headquarters,” the statement says. “CareerBuilder will also retain 615 positions at three other affiliate offices in Chicago, and add 185 jobs over the next two years. CareerBuilder had been considering relocating the majority of its employees to one of its other locations before selecting Chicago for its corporate headquarters.”

The impact of any layoffs on the Tax Increment Financing isn’t clear. I’ve asked CareerBuilder and the Chicago planning department for comment.

Earlier tax breaks in Indiana
Gannett owns 50.8% of CareerBuilder. Tribune Co., which just filed for bankruptcy protection, owns 30.8%. The rest is held by McClatchy Co. and Microsoft.

In September, the state of Indiana agreed to give GCI up to $935,000 in tax credits for creating up to 200 jobs at a new finance center in Indianapolis. A second finance center is being developed in Springfield, Mo. The centers will consolidate accounting and other work that’s been done at the local level across Gannett. A net 167 jobs were to be eliminated in this consolidation.

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