More from the Bush boom:
Verizon Communications Inc. said on Monday about 21,600 employees -- almost 10 percent of its work force -- accepted an early-retirement buyout offer as it cuts costs to offset weak local phone sales.
...The company had said in late October it expected more than 12,000 employees to accept the buyout, but a spokesman said the actual number was not a surprise.
..."They're cutting deeply into their work force," said John Challenger, of the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "It's a sign they feel they really have to cut out a lot of costs."
"It's kind of a surprise because it looks as though the job market is beginning to turn around," Challenger said. "This would suggest we're still in choppy waters."
A Verizon spokesman said ... no more than one-fourth of the workers leaving will be replaced through promotion or additional hiring....