Year-to-Date Job Cuts Fall to Lowest Level in 20 Years

Employers announced plans to cut 29,831 jobs in October, according to a report issued by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. October’s announced cuts were 3% lower than September’s. The month’s figure was 25.0% lower than October 2016. So far this year, 351,309 job cuts have been announced, the lowest ten-month total since 1997.

The retail sector continues to lead the way in job cuts, with 72,600 so far this year. This is 36.7% higher than the same period last year. However, October’s pace slowed as retailers shed 1,543 jobs. The energy sector continued to hold strong, announcing 1,846 cuts in October, which brings the total to 14,843 in 2017. This is an 85.6% decrease from this point last year when the energy sector had shed 103,147 jobs.

“Companies are currently holding on to their workforces, but this may be the calm before the storm” cautioned John Challenger, Chief Executive Officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. “Another downturn could be on the horizon for early to mid-2018 and with it, the large-scale layoff announcements that typically follow. Adding to this is the possibility that global factors, including Brexit, could usher in a recession,”

Telecommunications companies have reported 13,091 job cuts through October this year, 25.3% less than the 17,516 cuts through this point last year.

The services industry shed 3,939 jobs last month, totaling 28,916 through October this year. This is a 201.7% increase from October 2016.

Read the Challenger, Gray & Christmas release.

About Stephen Newton

Stephen Newton is an economic research associate at ABA.
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