Announced job cuts fell to the lowest level of the year in December as U.S.-based employers reported plans to reduce payrolls by 30,623 during the month. That was down 32 percent from a November total of 45,314. For the year, job cuts were down about 3.0 percent from 2012, according to the latest report on monthly job cuts released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
The December total was six percent lower than the 32,556 job cuts announced in the same month a year earlier, marking the third consecutive year-over-year decline. Last month was not only the lowest job-cut month in 2013; it was, in fact, the lowest job-cut month in more than 13 years. The last time employers announced fewer job cuts was June, 2000, when 17,241 planned layoffs were recorded.
Overall, employers announced a total of 509,051 planned job cuts in 2013, down 3.0 percent from 523,362 in 2012. It is the lowest annual job-cut total since 434,350 cuts were announced in 1997. The fourth quarter of the year saw a slight increase in October job cuts, followed by consecutive declines in monthly job cuts to close out 2013. In all, 121,667 job cuts were announced over the final three months of the year, which was 5.3 percent lower than the previous quarter (128,452) and 11 percent lower than the fourth quarter of 2012 (137,361).