August Job Cuts Fall After Record July

Employers announced plans to cut 41,186 jobs from their payrolls in August, according to a report issued by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. August’s announced cuts were more modest than the 105,696 announced in July. Last month’s announced cuts, due to planned reductions in military staffing, marked the highest monthly total since 2011.

August’s job cuts were 2.9 percent higher than the planned layoffs announced in August 2014. In the first 8 months of 2015, employers have announced 434,554 layoffs – 31 percent more than the number of cuts announced in the first 8 months of last year.

The retail sector was the hardest hit in August, with 9,601 planned layoffs for the month. Grocery store chain A&P was the largest contributor, announcing that it will terminate 8,500 employees by Thanksgiving due to bankruptcy. Year to date, the retail sector has announced 57,363 jobs, up 90 percent from last year. Many of these cuts were from long-time retailers which have not been able to keep up with consumer trends.

The report noted that market volatility may begin to affect the retail environment. “Overall, we have not seen any job cuts attributed to the stock market’s swoon,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “We are more likely to see cuts resulting from the underlying cause of the volatility, which is the weakening economy in China and other developing nations.

Industrial goods also saw an increase in planned layoffs, with 7,949 announced. Twenty-two percent of the industrial goods cuts were related to falling oil prices. Year-to-date, the Challenger report attributed 82,268 layoffs to the fall in oil prices, most of which were in the energy sector.

“It’s too soon to say if we have seen the last of the big oil cuts,” said Challenger. “The problems that China is facing could send shockwaves throughout the global economy, including the United States.”

Read the release.