posted on 02 April 2015
from Challenger Gray and Christmas
Following two consecutive months of job cuts in excess of 50,000, the pace of downsizing slowed significantly in March, as US-based employers announced plans to trim payrolls by 36,594 during the month, The March total was 27.6 percent lower than the 50,579 job cuts in February. It was the lowest monthly total since December, when 32,640 were announced.
Despite last month's decline, the March figure was 6.4 percent higher than the same month a year ago (34,399), making it the fourth consecutive year-over-year increase.
Through the first quarter of 2014, employers announced 140,214 job cuts, up 15.6 percent from the 120,341 cuts tracked the first three months of 2014. The first quarter saw 17 percent more job cuts than in the final quarter of 2014, when 119,763 job cuts were recorded.
Of the 140,214 job cuts announced in the first quarter, 47,610 were directly attributed to falling oil prices. Said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas:
First quarter job cuts were dominated by the energy sector, where employers announced 37,811 job cuts in the first three months of 2015. The three-month total is up a whopping 3,900 percent compared to a year ago, when fewer than 1,000 energy cuts were reported. Noted Challenger:
The good news is that the pace of energy-sector job cuts appear to be slowing. Only 1,279 job cuts were announced by energy firms in March, which is 92 percent fewer than the 16,000 announced in February.
The retail sector has tallied the second highest number of job cuts this year, with 22,502 planned layoffs through the first three months of 2014. That figure includes 6,640 in March, most of which were due to a major announcement from Target.
While energy and retail top the year-to-date job-cut tallies, the heaviest job cutting in March occurred among industrial goods manufacturers, whose payroll reductions totaled 9,383 during the month. That brings the sector's 2015 total to 17,738, which ranks third among all industries. Challenger concludes:
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