December Job Cuts Reach 15-Year Low

Employers announced plans to cut 23,622 jobs in December, the lowest number of planned layoffs since June 2000, according to a report issued by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. December’s announced job cuts were 24 percent lower than November’s, and 28 percent lower than a year ago. In addition, the month’s job cuts represent the lowest December total on record since monthly tracking began in 1993.

“It used to be that companies would not hesitate to announce job cuts around the holidays. In fact, the heaviest job-cut period of the year was often in the closing months,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger Gray & Christmas. “However that appears to have changed in the wake of the Great Recession.”

During 2015, employers announced 598,510 cuts, up 24 percent from 2014 and the heaviest cuts since 2011. The energy sector led cuts in 2015, announcing 94,409 layoffs, nearly seven times more than the cuts announced in 2014. The military sector followed with 70,029 planned cuts, 57,000 of which were announced in July.

“We are at the point in this economic expansion where we could see a lot of volatility as companies make strategic moves to make the most of growth opportunities. That could mean more mergers, more leadership changes and more movement of resources from weak business lines to those with more promise.”

Read the Challenger Gray & Christmas release.