After three consecutive months of increased layoff activity, the number of planned job cuts announced in December plunged to 32,556, the second lowest monthly total of 2012. Overall, the year ends with the lowest 12-month job-cut total since 1997, according to the latest report from global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
The 32,556 planned job cuts announced last month were 43 percent fewer than the 57,081 November cuts. The December total was 22 percent lower than a year ago, when employers announced 41,785 in the final month of the year. The only month in 2012 to see fewer job cuts than December was August, when job cuts totaled 32,239.
Despite the December decline, planned layoffs in the fourth quarter were up 33 percent from the previous quarter. Employers announced 137,361 job cuts in the final three months of year, compared to 102,910 in the third quarter. The third-quarter total was the lowest quarterly total since 81,568 job cuts were announced in the second quarter of 2000.
Due in large part to the slow pace of downsizing in the third quarter, annual job cuts totaled 523,362, which is the lowest year-end total since 1997, when employers announced 434,350 job cuts during the year. The 2012 total was 14 percent lower than the 606,082 job cuts announced in 2011.