Planned job cuts fell to their lowest level in three months, as U.S.-based employers announced plans to reduce payrolls by 40,289 in September. That was down 20 percent from August, when job cuts reached a six-month high of 50,462, according to the latest report on monthly job cuts released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
The September total was 19 percent higher than the 33,816 planned job cuts announced the same month last year. This marks the fourth consecutive month that saw heavier job cutting than a year ago.
As a result of this trend, job cuts in the third quarter were up 25 percent from a year ago. Overall, 128,452 planned cuts were announced during the three month period ending September 30, compared to 102,910 over the same stretch last year. The third-quarter total was 13 percent higher than the second quarter, when 113,891 job cuts were announced.
Despite the recent surge, the overall pace of job cutting in 2013 is virtually unchanged from a year ago. To date, employers have announced 387,384 job cuts, up 0.4 percent from the 386,001 announced from January through September in 2012.
For the third time in the last five months, the health care sector was the leading announcer of job cuts, with reported layoffs totaling 8,128. That is the highest monthly job-cut total for this sector since November 2009, when these organizations announced 9,558 job cuts. The sector has now announced 41,085 job cuts in 2013, which is 13.4 percent more than the 36,212 health care job cuts announced in all of 2012.
Corrects earlier version which stated September had the highest health cuts since December 2004. We tracked 9,588 health cuts in December 2004, but November 2009 saw 9,558 health cuts.