August Job Cuts Spike to 50,462, Led By Manufacturing

Monthly job cuts surged to the highest level since February, as U.S.-based employers announced plans in August to slash payrolls by 50,462, a 33.8 percent increase from the 37,701 planned job cuts announced in July, according to a report Wednesday from global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Job cuts last month were 57 percent higher than a year ago, when employers announced plans to reduce payrolls by 32,239.  This marks the third consecutive month in which job cuts outpaced the comparable period from 2012.  August ranks as the second largest job-cut month of the year behind February, when announced layoffs reached 55,356.

Employers have now announced 347,095 job cuts so far this year.  That virtually matches the 352,185 job cuts announced from January through August 2012.

August workforce reductions were dominated by the industrial goods sector, where manufacturers announced 22,162 job cuts.  That was the largest job-cut total for this sector since January 2009, when 32,083 planned layoffs were announced.  It is the largest one-month job-cut total for a single industry category this year and nearly surpasses the 26,103 job cuts announced by industrial goods manufacturers in all of 2012.

Get the full report here.


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









Health Care/Products












Get the full report here.

November Job Cuts Reach 57,081

Job cuts increased for the third consecutive month in November, as employers announced plans to shed 57,081 workers from their payrolls.  That was up 20 percent from the previous month when announced layoffs totaled 47,724, according to the latest report from global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

November cuts were 34 percent higher than the 42,474 job cuts announced by employers in the eleventh month of 2011.  Last month was only the fourth time this year that job cuts exceeded 50,000.

Employers have now announced 490,806 job cuts this year.  Despite the faster pace of downsizing as the year comes to a close, the year-to-date total is 13 percent lower than the 564,297 job cuts announced through November 2011.

The November surge was led by the food industry, which saw 19,709 cuts during the month.  The bulk of those resulted from the bankruptcy of Hostess Brands which, after years of declining sales of its high-calorie snack cakes in a more health-conscious America, was forced to shutter its operations and dismiss all 18,500 employees.

The next largest job-cutting industry was the computer sector, which announced 3,313 job cuts in November.  That was up 208 percent from the 1,076 announced by these firms in October.  The computer industry remains the top job-cut industry for the year, with a total of 45,060 announced layoffs since January.  About 60 percent of those cuts, however, were the result of the 27,000 job cuts announced by Hewlett-Packard in May.

Get the full report here.

Technology Sector Cuts Surge in 2012

Planned layoffs that will impact 30,000 workers at computer giant Hewlett-Packard helped push job cuts announced by technology-sector firms to their highest level in three years, according to a report on tech-sector downsizing released Monday by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Technology firms, including those in computer, electronics, and telecommunications, combined to announce 51,529 job cuts in the first half of 2012, a 260 percent increase from the 14,308 cuts announced during the same period a year ago.  The midyear total is, in fact, 39 percent higher than the 2011 yearend total of 37,038.  It is the largest midyear total since 2009, when the sector announced 118,108 job cuts in the first six months of the year.

The surge in tech-sector job cuts occurred amid an increase in overall job cuts.  However, the 283,091 job cuts announced across all industries in the first half of 2012 were up just 15 percent from the 245,806 total industry job cuts at the same point last year.

Due primarily to the large job-cut announcement by Hewlett-Packard, the computer industry led the way in first-half job cuts with 34,380.  That marks a substantial increase from a year ago, when computer firms announced just 3,178 job cuts from January through June.  The computer industry alone announced more than twice as many job cuts in the first half of 2012 than in all of 2011 (14,677).

Read the full report here.

June Job Cuts Fall To 13-Month Low

Planned layoffs fell to a 13-month low in June, as U.S.-based employers announced job cuts totaling 37,551 during the month.  That is down 39 percent from the 61,887 announced job cuts in May, according to the latest report on downsizing activity released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The June total is 9.4 percent lower than the 41,432 planned job cuts announced during the same month a year ago.  It is the lowest monthly total since May 2011, when employers announced plans to eliminate 37,135 workers from their payrolls.

At the midway point of 2012, job cuts total 283,091, an increase of 15 percent from a 2011 six-month total of 245,806.  The pace of downsizing has remained relatively steady throughout the year, with job cuts in the second quarter totaling 139,997, just two percent fewer than the 143,094 job cuts announced during the first three months of the year.  Second quarter job cuts were up 22 percent from last year, when employers announced 115,057 layoffs from April through June.

Read the full report here.

Municipal Bankruptcies May Soar – Dimon Warns

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon warned today that more U.S. municipalities may file for bankruptcy in coming months, with five filing in 2010 after 10 filings in 2009. Increased bankruptcy filings could lead to more layoffs. Over the last two years, government and non-profit sector employers announced 313,108 job cuts, 50,667 of which were announced by cities (28,493 in 2009 and 22,174 in 2010). Those figures do not include retirements or furloughs. Moreover, bankruptcy across all sectors resulted in 50,911 job cuts in 2009 and 10,172 in 2010. How at risk are government workers in the coming months? What cost-cutting measures can municipalities make to avoid layoffs? What sectors are likely to stay strong in 2011?

Workplace discrimination complaints soared in 2010, as 99,922 workers filed grievances with the EEOC. Grievances typically increase during an economic slump due to increased downsizing activity and the increased difficulty of finding new employment. Making matters worse is the fact that workplace stress is on the rise as depleted workforces are being asked to maintain high output with less support and fewer resources. For companies that are not quite ready to accelerate hiring, what are some ways to keep existing employees motivated and maintain morale? What can workers do to reduce stress in their jobs?