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Google Prunes Temporary Workers

According to a December SEC filing, the company has been cutting staff.

Google has been reducing the number of temporary workers on its payroll, as it said it would in October.

Associated Press writer Michael Liedtke reported that the AP has obtained a Securities and Exchange Commission filing made by Google on Dec. 15, 2008, that indicates the company has been cutting an undisclosed number of temporary workers on its payroll.

Google's mission is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." Yet the company made its filing on paper, thereby making that information inaccessible to those seeking information about the company online.

The reason for that isn't necessarily because Google wants to hide the information. Rather, at the time the document was filed, not all SEC forms could be filed electronically. That changed, according to an SEC spokesperson, as of Jan. 1, 2009.

At the same time, there are some parts of the filing Google would rather not disclose. According to the AP, parts of the filing remain confidential because Google claims it contains trade secrets.

What the document does say is that Google has about 24,000 employees and 4,300 contractors, temporary workers, and interns.

In an October article in the San Jose Mercury News, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said that Google had about 10,000 contractors in addition to its regular workforce. He called that number "really high" and said that the company had been mulling ways to reduce it since the spring of 2008.

Google spokesperson Jane Penner reiterated what she told the AP, which was that the workers mentioned in the SEC document represent a subset of the 10,000 cited by Brin and that one should not conclude that the difference between the two figures -- 5,700 -- represents the number of temp workers let go. She declined to offer further clarification about where Google was in its effort to reduce its temporary worker count, saying that the company was in a quiet period before its next earnings announcement.

Google ranked seventh out of 11,000 companies in's 2009 Employees' Choice Awards for Best Places to Work, based on reviews submitted by a total of 75,000 employees. It ranked first in Fortune's February 2008 100 Best Companies to Work For list.

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