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By Matthew Boyle
With the economic outlook worsening by the day, corporations have been jettisoning employees at an alarming rate. In the fourth quarter alone, employers let go more than half a million workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But there are many other ways to cut costs, and in some instances a creative alternative can stave off a layoff. Only 2% of companies have used permanent layoffs as their sole cost-containment tactic, according to a February survey by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, so it's clear that alternatives like furloughs and pay freezes are being aggressively pursued. Here are some examples from companies big and small around the globe.