The weak economy is dragging down the workforce of Carlson, the Minnetonka-based travel, hospitality and marketing giant, which announced Tuesday that it would eliminate 200 jobs by the end of the year.

The layoffs come just three months after Hubert Joly succeeded Marilyn Carlson Nelson as chief executive of the family-owned company. Joly is the first non-family member to run the company founded by the legendary Curtis Carlson.

The job cuts will come from corporate headquarters and in the hotel and marketing divisions. Joly is meeting with employees this week to explain the company's situation.

"These are related to a slowing economy that has affected many of our businesses," said Carlson spokesman Sam Macalus.

Macalus said the hotel business has slowed during a period of high travel costs. Likewise, he said, meetings and events coordinated for clients by Carlson Marketing also have begun to dry up, particularly in the automotive and financial sectors.

Company officials previously have said that the economic slowdown also has affected its casual dining segment, including T.G.I. Friday's.

Rising food prices and soaring fuel costs are cutting into discretionary spending and keeping people at home more.

"Our businesses were asked to review their costs and staffing levels in light of the economy," Macalus said.

Most of the layoffs will be in the Twin Cities. There are 4,000 Carlson employees in Minnesota, including 650 at the headquarters.

Some of the cuts take effect this week, some later in the year, Macalus said.

Affected employees will be offered a severance package, outplacement services and employee assistance.

The company reported revenues of $39.8 billion last year, although that amount also included the revenues of franchisees who are licensed to offer Carlson products, including travel agencies and hotels.

Earlier this year, Carlson got out of the cruise and leisure-travel business as part of an effort to refocus on business travel, lodging and restaurants.

The layoffs at Carlson are the latest in a string of job losses to hit Minnesota companies this year. In February, Macy's pared 950 employees. Medtronic announced cuts of 350 last month. Champion Air, which employed 550, announced in March that it was set to go out of business in May. And Residential Capital cut 600 workers earlier in the year.

David Phelps • 612-673-7269