Energy and Retail Sectors Cut Jobs in First Half of 2015

Employers announced plans to shed 44,842 workers from their payrolls in June, following the 41,034 planned job cuts announced in May, according to a report issued by Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

June’s job cuts were 43 percent higher than the planned layoffs announced in June 2014. In this first 6 months of 2015, employers have announced 287,682 job cuts—the highest midyear total in five years.

The report indicates that the surge in layoffs was largely due to declining oil prices, which drove 69,582 cuts during the first half of the year. The majority of those jobs were in the energy sector, which cut its workforce by 60,500.

Retailers also announced significant layoffs during the first 6 months of the year—45,230 to date, up 68 percent from a year ago.

“Retailers should be enjoying the benefits of falling oil prices, as consumers have the money they are saving at the gas pump to spend elsewhere. However, it appears that consumers were hording that cash, at least through the first half of the year. The most recent data suggests that consumers are finally starting to loosen up the purse strings,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Consumer spending increased to 0.9 percent in May, the largest monthly increase in nearly 6 years, suggesting that retail sales could increase in the second half of the year.