The pace of downsizing remained relatively flat in October, as the nation’s employers announced plans to cut 45,730 jobs from their payrolls during the month. That was up 13.5 percent from 40,289 job cuts recorded in September, according to the latest report on monthly job cuts released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
The October job-cut total was down 4.2 percent from the same month a year ago, when 47,724 planned cuts were announced. This marks the first time in five months that the job-cut total was lower than the comparable period a year ago.
Employers have now announced 433,114 job cuts since January 1. That is virtually unchanged (down 0.14 percent) from the 433,725 job cuts announced through ten months of 2012. At the current pace, annual job cuts are positioned to come in slightly below the 2012 year-end total of 523,362, which was the lowest 12-month figure since 1997, when 434,350 job cuts were tracked by Challenger.
The pharmaceutical industry saw the heaviest job cutting in October, with 10,585 job cuts announced. That is the largest one-month job-cut total for this sector since July 2011, when 13,493 job cuts were announced. In both October and July 2011, the majority of the announced job cuts came from pharmaceutical giant Merck, which, like many other pharmaceutical companies, has had to adjust research focus and workforce levels toward drugs with the highest potential to win regulatory approval and achieve successful sales levels.