Whatever recovery the jobs market posted in 2012, mass layoffs remained impressively high. Dozens of companies each fired thousands of workers, with failing firms at the top of the list based on total cuts. Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), which is so badly off that investors now question its viability, fired 27,000 people in May. That number could rise rapidly as some of its core tech divisions struggle for sales. The botched buyout of Autonomy almost certainly will cause more job cuts in that division, which has, according to HP, much lower profits than forecast. CEO Meg Whitman has said HP sales may not improve for two years or more. Hostess moved into Chapter 11 so quickly that the public only watched the process in its late stages, when it became clear that Twinkies might disappear. Friction between management and labor did not improve during negotiations, and 18,500 people lost work. Read more: Companies with Record Layoffs in 2012 - 24/7 Wall St. Companies with Record Layoffs in 2012 - 24/7 Wall St.