Bank of America announced what's likely its biggest round of layoffs ever Thursday afternoon, confirming plans to eliminate 30,000 to 35,000 jobs over the next three years.

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Bank of America announced what’s likely its biggest round of layoffs ever Thursday afternoon, confirming plans to eliminate 30,000 to 35,000 jobs over the next three years.

Some layoffs are related to the bank’s pending purchase of Merrill Lynch; others are because of the faltering economy that already has forced the industry to shed hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Bank of America is healthier than most of its peers, so its massive job cuts are another signal of the depth of the current financial crisis.

The news comes a month after New York-based Citigroup announced it would lay off 50,000 workers worldwide. Bank of America already laid off 7,500 workers this summer after buying mortgage lender Countrywide, and some analysts fear it could announce even more job cuts next year.

Thursday’s announced cuts, which would amount to about 10 percent of the combined company’s work force, could change: In a statement released just after the markets closed, the bank said a final number on the job cuts will not be determined until early next year.

The layoffs announced Thursday will mostly start in the first quarter of 2009, spokesman Scott Silvestri said.

In a statement, Bank of America said the cuts would eliminate overlapping jobs related to the purchase of Merrill Lynch. The cuts also are related to “the current recessionary environment,” the bank said.