May Job Cuts Fall to Five-Month Low

Employers announced plans to cut 30,157 jobs in May, according to a report issued by Challenger Gray & Christmas. May’s announced cuts were 53% below April’s total, and 27% lower than the year-ago-rate. Cuts through the first five months of 2015 amounted to 275,218 cuts, up 13% from the same period last year.

“May could be the start of a summer slowdown in the pace of job cutting as companies take a pause following the period of heavy downsizing that started the year,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger Gray & Christmas.

Most job cuts came from the energy sector, with firms announcing 7,572 layoffs during the month – a much lower rate than in previous months. Year-to-date, energy firms have announced more than 75,232 cuts in 2016, up 25% from the 60,210 announced during the same period last year.

“In general, oil prices have improved somewhat since the beginning of the year, though they are still less than half of what they were at oil’s recent peak,” said Challenger. “However, the recent gains may be enough to at least temporarily slow job cuts in the sector.”

Most industries saw cuts decline in May. The computer industry saw cuts decline 83% on the month to 2,836, while cuts in the financial sector fell 68% to 901, after reaching a four-month high in April. Retailers also announced 75% fewer cuts in May.

Read the Challenger, Gray & Christmas release.