Five major U.S. companies announced massive job cuts on Monday morning. The companies all cited the global downturn as the reason for the layoffs. In total, the layoffs will account for 45,000 jobs.

Home Depot

Home Depot: One of Many to Announce Layoffs Today

The following U.S. companies announced layoffs today:

Caterpillar (equipment manufacturer) – 20,000 jobs
Sprint Nextel (telecommunications) – 8,000 jobs
Home Depot (home retail) – 7,000 jobs
General Motors (automobiles) – 2,000 jobs
Pfizer/Wyeth (pharmaceuticals) – 8,000 jobs (pending merger)

In addition, late last week, Microsoft announced that it will be engaging in layoffs for the first time in the company’s history. Outside of the United States, ING and Phillips, both based in the Netherlands, announced layoffs of thousands of workers today.

Currently, the U.S. unemployment rate stands at 7.2, but that number appears certain to rise in the coming months. Meanwhile, as we reported here, Barack Obama urged the American people to support his $825 Billion stimulus plan on Saturday, which he hopes will create up to 2.5 million jobs.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, Caterpillar, which announced the deepest job cuts, lost over 30% of its revenue in the fourth quarter of 2008. It expects an additional 20% drop in 2009. The layoffs represent 18% of the company’s workforce.

As reported in Huffington Post, the Home Depot layoffs will mostly come from its Expo Chain, which it is closing over the next few months. The flagship Home Depot stores will remain fully operational.

The economy now appears to be sinking in all sectors at once, unlike in 2001, when technology and finance collapsed while the rest of the economy remained relatively strong. We have yet to see Great Depression-like numbers, but California, which usually leads economic trends, now has close to a 10% unemployment rate. If that number hits the rest of the country soon, expect Obama’s approval rating, which is currently normalizing, to drop like a rock.