Fidelity on Tuesday began the second phase of job layoffs which started last year. In this phase, 1,700 people will lose their jobs.

Before the layoffs began last year, Fidelity employed 44,000 people. With the first round of job cuts late last year, Fidelity eliminated 1,300 positions, or 2.9% of its total workforce. The latest round represents 2.9% of its workforce.

Beginning Tuesday, “and over the next several weeks, Fidelity is proceeding with the second phase of the layoff we announced last fall,” Fidelity spokeswoman Anne Crowley said. “These layoffs are part of the plan our executives announced to deal with the unprecedented worldwide economic downturn which continues to persist in 2009.”

She added: “These layoffs and other expense reduction steps we have implemented over the last several months will ensure our company maintains its strong financial status while also continuing to provide our clients and customers with the best products and services.”

According to Crowley, Fidelity is giving those being laid off a generous severance package, including access to an outplacement service for three months.

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