MassMutual to layoff 5 percent of workforce

One of the state’s largest companies, Springfield-based MassMutual Financial Group, said it will lay off 360 workers, primarily in Massachusetts.

The layoffs account for 5 percent of the insurance and financial services company’s 7,200-person workforce, spread between Springfield and Enfield, Conn. The staff reductions will happen across all divisions, the company said.

“MassMutual routinely and carefully examines all of its operations to ensure we are focused on activities that effectively and efficiently deliver the greatest value to our policy owners and customers,” said Jim Lacey, a spokesman for the company. “At times, this means making decisions that impact our staffing levels.”


The company reported that its profits were down significantly through the first nine months of 2015. MassMutual made almost $54 million in profits through the end of September 2015, a nearly 90 percent plunge from the $413 million that the company posted for the same time the previous year. Profits in 2014 were significantly higher due to the sale of the Fan Pier development in Boston’s Seaport District, in which MassMutual was an investor, Lacey said.

Still, MassMutual announced last year that it would make a record $1.7 billion dividend payout to eligible policyholders in 2016, a $100 million increase over the 2015 dividend. The company expects to report “strong” earnings for all of 2015 in the next week, Lacey said.

Like most financial companies, MassMutual has had to contend with low interest rates and volatile stock markets, which can hurt investment income and profits. New regulations that emerged from the 2008 financial crisis also have added costs.

“We have achieved these strong results despite significant headwinds,” Lacey said of MassMutual’s 2015 earnings.

MassMutual has adjusted its workforce several times over the past few years. The company laid off about 500 workers in 2009 after posting investment losses during the recession. In 2011, in another restructuring effort, the company cut about 75 information technology workers.


The company, however, later added workers in some divisions and in 2013 bought the retirement planning business of The Hartford, which boosted its workforce by about 700 employees.

The layoffs could further worsen the unemployment rate in the Springfield metropolitan area, which has recovered more slowly than the state as a whole. The state’s unemployment rate had dropped to 4.7 percent in December 2015, while the unemployment in the Springfield metro area was 5.5 percent.

Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at deirdre.fernandes@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @fernandesglobe.