Annual Job Cuts Total Lowest Level Since 1990

Employers announced plans to cut 32,423 jobs in December, according to a report issued by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. December’s announced cuts were 7.8% lower than November’s and 3.6% less than last December’s. In 2017 418,770 job cuts were announced, 20.5% lower than the announced cuts in 2016. This was the lowest annual total since 1990.

The retail sector continues to lead the way in job cuts, with 76,084 so far this year. This is 24.8% higher than the same period last year. However, December’s pace slowed as retailers shed 1,419 jobs. The energy sector continued to hold strong, announcing 787 cuts in December, which brings the total to 16,631 in 2017. This is an 84.6% decrease from this point last year when the energy sector had shed 107,714 jobs.

“The retail pivot that caused thousands of store closures and job cuts was not seen in any other industry this year. While companies in the Pharmaceutical, Health Care, Construction, and Food industries did announce more job cuts than last year, it was nothing like the Energy cuts seen in the last two years or the Financial cuts seen during the recession,” said John Challenger, Chief Executive Officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Telecommunications companies have reported 14,223 job cuts through December this year, 29.3% less than the 20,118 cuts through this point last year.

The services industry shed 3,338 jobs last month, totaling 36,174 through December this year. This is a 264.8% increase from December 2016.

Read the Challenger, Gray & Christmas release.

About Stephen Newton

Stephen Newton is an economic research associate at ABA.
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