posted on 04 February 2016
from Challenger Gray and Christmas
Heavy downsizing in the retail and energy sectors pushed monthly job cut announcements to their highest level since last summer with monthly job cuts surging 218%.
In all, US-based employers reported 75,114 planned job cuts to kick off 2016. That is a 218 percent increase from a 15-year low of 23,622 in December. January was 42 percent higher than the same month a year ago, when employers announced 50,041 job cuts.
Last month represents the highest monthly tally since July 2015, when cuts reached 105,696. It was the largest January total since 241,749 job cuts were announced during the first month of 2009.
Despite relatively strong holiday sales to close out 2015, retailers led all other industries in January job cuts, announcing plans to cut 22,246 jobs from their payrolls. That was the highest retail total since January 2009, when retailers announced 53,968 planned layoffs.
Retail cuts were dominated by Walmart, which announced plans to close 269 stores worldwide, which is expected to impact 16,000 workers. Macys is also planning to close stores in 2016, a move that will affect 4,820 employees.
In addition to increased retail job cuts, January also saw the return of heavy job cuts in the energy sector. Overall, these firms announced plans to reduce headcounts by 20,246, up from 1,682 in December.
The January total for the energy sector was higher than month since the decline in oil prices began in late 2014. The previous high was January 2015, when 20,193 jobs in the sector were eliminated.
Per John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas:
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