What is the appropriate response for the survivors?
Saying, "It'll all work out" doesn't work. You still have a job.
"I'm so sorry?" Better, but it doesn't really make either of you feel better.
Calling in favors to try to help the layoffee find a new job. Slightly better, but you still feel like it's not enough.
While McClatchy does layoffs in a manner I'd consider the "right" way (People are called into the publisher's office so there's not a string of people going into the EE's office, then allowed to go home for the rest of the day, paid. They then continue to work for up to two weeks before receiving their severance and cleaning out their desk), that doesn't make it any easier -- on the person laid off or on their co-workers. What are you supposed to say? How are you supposed to treat them?
But hey, at least the big wigs got to fly the private jet with its flatscreen TVs to places they could have driven to in two hours for an extra few months.