IBM lays off at least 40 Watson Health employees, reports say

IBM laid off an undisclosed number of employees from its Watson Health group, with at least 40 workers cut from its Cleveland office, according to cleveland.com.

Online commenters at TheLayoff.com and a Facebook page called Watching IBM said nearly 50 to 70 percent of staff had been affected, noting Watson Health's Dallas office employs 230 people, but its Cleveland office and its health analytics unit — the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Truven Health Analytics — likely staff more.

Although the actual scope of the cuts is unclear, some online commenters shared their experiences. Many posted anonymously and said the company told them the layoff was the result of a resource action. Others suggested this is only the first wave of layoffs.

Posting anonymously to the Facebook page May 25, one former employee wrote, "Part of Watson Health layoff today. Over 50 years old. IBMer over 30 years. The message was that there are about 7,000 people in Watson Health today and this was a cost-cutting exercise. 90 days notice with 30 days severance."

Another former employee wrote May 29 on TheLayoff.com that he or she had been "axed last week" from Watson Health. "They are keeping about 15 people to close the shop, will happen in early 2019. ... This round of cuts is much bigger than anyone is reporting, they [are] cutting deep and wide, there is no recovery from this one. ... We all knew it was coming but nobody expected it'll be this fast and rampant," the poster wrote, although it is not clear which location he or she had been cut from.

In March, the company announced plans to scale back staffers in certain areas, including Watson, cloud and sales, but no specific numbers or timelines were provided at the time.

Becker's Hospital Review reached out to IBM Watson Health for confirmation. This story will be updated as more information becomes available. 

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