posted on 31 March 2016
from Challenger Gray and Christmas
Job cuts declined for the second consecutive month in March, as US-based employers announced plans to trim payrolls by 48,207 during the month.
The March total was 21.7 percent lower than the 61,599 job cuts in February. It was the lowest monthly total since December, when 23,622 were announced.
Despite last month's decline, the March figure was 31.7 percent higher than the same month a year ago (36,594), making it the fourth consecutive year-over-year increase.
Through the first quarter of 2016, employers announced 184,920 job cuts, up 31.8 percent from the 140,241 cuts tracked the first three months of 2015. The first quarter saw 75.9 percent more job cuts than in the final quarter of 2015, when 105,079 job cuts were recorded.
Of the 184,920 job cuts announced in the first quarter, 50,053, or 27 percent, were directly attributed to falling oil prices. That is slightly (5.0 percent) higher than a year ago, when oil-related job cuts totaled 47,610. While there were fewer oil-related job cuts a year ago, they represented a larger portion of total job cuts, accounting for 34 percent of first-quarter layoff announcements. Said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas:
Indeed, first quarter job cuts were dominated by the energy sector, where employers announced 52,901 job cuts in the first three months of 2016. The three-month total is 39.9 percent higher compared to a year ago, when fewer than 37,811 energy cuts were reported.
However, the retail sector has also tallied significant gains in job cuts. To date, it has recorded the second highest number of job cuts, with 31,832, up 41 percent from the 22,502 announced in the first three months of 2015.
Meanwhile, the 17,002 job cuts in the computer sector are 148 percent higher than a year ago, when these firms announced 6,860 in the first quarter. Challenger concludes:
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