Last month, the nation’s employers announced plans to cut 53,486 jobs from their payrolls. That was the largest monthly layoff total since 115,730 job cuts were announced last September, according to job cut report released Thursday by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
The January total was 28 percent higher than the 41,785 job cuts announced in December. It was 39 percent higher than January 2011, when employers announced just 38,519 planned cuts.
It is not unusual to see a job-cut surge to start the year. Historically, January is the heaviest job-cut month, averaging 101,084 announced layoffs between 1993 and 2011. October, the next heaviest job-cut month, averaged 82,036 cuts over the same period.
“Last year’s 38,519 January job cuts represent the lowest first-month total on record. Even then, the January 2011 total was higher than the previous month, when 32,004 job cuts were announced. This year marks the sixth consecutive year and the eleventh out of the last thirteen in which January job cuts surpassed the December total,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Leading the January surge were retailers and financial firms, which announced 12,426 job cuts and 7,611 job cuts, respectively. The retail total was the largest experienced by this sector since January 2010 (16,737). The retail job losses are unrelated to the departure of seasonal workers, which typically are not announced or reported as job cuts. Rather, the cuts are related to restructurings, store closings and other cost-cutting measures.