Job Cuts Remained Low in January

Employers announced plans to cut 45,934 jobs in January, according to a report issued by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. January’s announced cuts were 37% higher than December’s. However, the month’s figure was 39% lower than January 2016.

The steepest job cuts for the year occurred in the retail sector, which announced 22,491 layoffs. These accounted for 49% of all job cuts during the month. Macy’s led the way, reporting plans to close 68 stores and cut 10,000 jobs.

“A January surge in retail hiring has become the standard. Most retailers ramp up hiring in the final three months of the year to handle the holiday rush. However, as consumers increasingly go online to shop, retailers are not only dismissing temporary seasonal workers, but also increasingly closing stores and laying off permanent staff,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The energy sector, on the other hand, reported only 1,853 job cuts in January. This is compared to 20,103 job cuts in January 2016.

“Oil prices were already starting to rebound in the last half of 2016. Now, with an administration that is expected to be very friendly to the oil, gas, and mining industries, many are forecasting a swift and sustained turnaround for these firms in 2017. The fact that January job cuts in the sector were 91 percent lower than a year ago, certainly appears to support that outlook,” said Challenger.

Read the Challenger Gray & Christmas release.