New Survey Finds Obstacles To Post-Recession Job Creation

A new survey of human resources executives provides further evidence of just how difficult it is in a non-manufacturing-based economy to quickly increase employment following a downturn and why it could be another year or more for the unemployment rate to fall to pre-recession levels.

In the survey conducted by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., just over half (53 percent) of the human resources executives polled said their companies implemented workforce reductions as a result of the recession that began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.  The good news is that 82 percent of companies have added new workers since January 2010.  However, while 33 percent of those hiring were able to bring back some of their former workers, 67 percent indicated that the re-staffing process started from scratch.

Meanwhile, less than half (43 percent) of the companies adding new workers have reached or surpassed the number of workers employed prior to workforce reductions.  Nearly 15 percent said they expect to eventually return to pre-layoff workforce levels. However, 43 percent indicated that their companies will meet future demand with fewer employees, suggesting that their payrolls will never return to pre-recession peaks.

“What we have come to know as ‘the jobless recovery’ may be the new post-recession norm, as employers rebuild their workforces from scratch, take more time to vet candidates, and find ways to operate with fewer workers,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Get the survey results here.

May Job Cuts Hit 36,398; YTD Down 11%

Monthly job cuts declined for the third consecutive month in May, as U.S.-based employers announced plans to trim payrolls by 36,398 during the month, 4.5 percent fewer than 38,121 cuts in April.  The May total was 41 percent lower than the same month a year ago, when employers slashed payrolls by 61,887 , according to the report Thursday from global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

To date, the nation’s employers have announced 219,560 planned job cuts in 2013.  That is down 11 percent from the 245,540 planned cuts announced in the first five months of 2012.

It is not unusual to see job cuts decline during the summer months.  In fact, May is historically the slowest job-cut month of the year, averaging 57,688 since 1993.  The next lowest job-cut month is June, according to Challenger records, which show it averaging 59,887 since 1993.  The overall average monthly total across all months since 1993 is 70,288.

The heaviest job-cutting last month occurred in the health care sector, where 4,886 job cuts were tracked.  That was up slightly from 4,268 health care job cuts in April and more than double the 2,353 announced in May 2012.  Overall, layoffs in health care are up 71 percent in 2013 to 20,867, compared to 12,177 in the first five months of 2012.  

Only two other sectors have seen bigger gains: media, where job cuts have increased 249 percent from 1,829 in the first five months of 2012 to 6,388 as of May; and the financial sector, which has seen job cuts increase by 103 percent from 17,284 in 2012 to 35,091 this year.

Largest Job Cut Increases

 

Jan-May 2012

Jan-May 2013

% Change

Media

1,829

6,388

249.3%

Financial

17,284

35,091

103.0%

Health Care/Products

12,177

20,867

71.4%

Retail

20,983

32,683

55.8%

Non-Profit

938

1,443

53.8%

Get the full report here.

Slight Increase In Travel Could Mean Uptick In Jobs

While prices at the gas pump are still higher than most drivers would like, more American workers are expected to use their vacation days this summer, thanks to the steadily improving economy, increased job security and reasonable airfares.  Increased summer travel, beginning with the Memorial Day holiday, is likely to boost hiring across several travel-related sectors, including leisure and hospitality, food service, retail, and entertainment, according to the employment experts at global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“For young job seekers on break from high school or college, travel and leisure-related industries offer a wealth of employment opportunities.  While many employers have already hired the bulk of their seasonal workers by this point, it is still not too late to find openings, particularly for those who live near or are willing to temporarily relocate to popular travel destinations,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Continue reading

More Opportunities for Teens This Summer

More opportunities for teens this summer if they get off the computer and in front of employers.

Continued employment gains across the economy, but particularly in lower-skilled, lower-paying hourly wage categories, are expected to benefit teenagers seeking jobs this summer, according to a new outlook released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

While job-seeking teens are likely to face competition from recent college graduates, as well as those at the opposite end of the age spectrum, employment gains for 16- to 19-year-olds in May, June and July should surpass last year’s levels.

“There will definitely be more opportunities for teenagers seeking employment this summer.  Of course, it is still a competitive environment.  So, teens should not expect employers to come knocking on their door.  The search will require maximum effort, starting now, in order to have a position lined up before the school year ends,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Get the full outlook here.

 

US Employers Announce 49,255 Job Cuts In March

The nation’s employers reported job cuts totaling 49,255 in March, a decline of 11 percent from the 55,356 cuts announced in February, according to the latest report on downsizing activity released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.  Despite the decline, quarterly job cuts reached their highest level since 2011.

March job cuts were 30 percent higher than a year ago, when employers announced plans to shed 37,880 workers from their payrolls.  This marks the second consecutive month and the fourth time in the last six months that the job-cut total was higher than the year-ago figure.

Employers have now announced 145,041 job cuts through the first three months of 2013.  That 5.6 percent higher than the previous quarter’s 137,361 job cuts and 1.4 percent higher than the 143,094 job cuts announced in the first quarter of 2012.  The first-quarter total is, in fact, the highest quarterly tally since 233,258 job cuts were tracked in the third quarter of 2011.

Get the full report here.