M2 Research market analyst Wanda Meloni estimates that 8,450 game industry employees have been let go since July 2008. North America had approximately 6,300 layoffs (75 percent), which represents 12 percent of the region's workforce -- her piece was published on Gamasutra last Friday, so it likely doesn't take into account the Massive and 3D Realms hits.
Meloni's "glass half full" view of the layoffs is that these folks will start small development studios and form part of what she's calling the "Gaming Renaissance Movement." She feels that these start-ups -- many self-funded through severance packages -- have the "creativity, vision and sheer grit" (not to mention: no other choice) to do their best to make it.
The majority of Meloni's post goes into detail about what tools, funding and partners these start-ups have at their disposal. As for us, we're just looking to give the "layoffs" tag a rest.