posted on 07 May 2015
from Challenger Gray and Christmas
Falling oil prices contributed to a 68 percent surge in job cuts last month, as US-based employers announced workforce reductions totaling 61,582 in April, up from 36,594 in March.
The April total was 53 percent higher than the same month a year ago, when 40,298 planned job cuts were recorded. It represents the highest monthly total since May 2012 (61,887) and the highest April total since 2009 (132,590).
Year to date, employers have announced 201,796 planned job cuts, which marks a 25 percent increase from the 161,639 layoffs tracked in the first four months of 2014. This is the largest four-month total since 2010.
Driving the increased pace of job cutting in April and for the year is the dramatic decline in oil prices, which is forcing producers and suppliers to cut production. Of the 61,582 job cut announced last month, 20,675 or 34 percent were directly attributed to oil prices.
For the year, oil prices were blamed for 68,285 job cuts, or about 34 percent of the 201,796 planned layoffs announced between January 1 and April 30. Said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas:
Most of the oil-related layoffs have occurred in the energy sector, which is the top job-cutting industry to date, with 57,556 planned cuts. That is more than double the second-ranked retail sector, which has announced 26,096 job cuts this year.
The pace of retail sector job cuts is slightly higher than a year ago, when these employers announced 25,224 job cuts through the first four months. Challenger added:
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