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posted on 06 October 2016

September 2016 Job Cuts Increase 38 Percent

from Challenger Gray and Christmas

Monthly job cuts increased to close out the third quarter, as employers announced plans to shed 44,324 workers from the payrolls in September.

Last month's total was 38 percent higher than August, when announcements fell to 32,188, the second lowest total of the year behind May's 30,157.

While September job cuts were up from the previous month, they were 25 percent lower than the 58,877 planned layoffs announced in September 2015.

Despite the September increase, the third quarter saw an overall decline in the third quarter. Employers announced 121,858 job cuts during the three-month period ending September 30. That was down 8 percent from the second quarter (132,834) and 41 percent lower than the 205,759 job cuts announced in the third quarter of 2015.

So far this year, employers have announced a total of 435,612 planned job cuts, which is 12 percent fewer than the 493,431 job cuts reported through nine months of 2015. Said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Heavy job cutting in the energy sector defined the first half of the year. But, each quarter has seen the number of overall job cuts decline, as this sector stabilized and the economy continued to improve.

It is not unusual to see a decreased job-cut activity in the third quarter, as many employers postpone major workforce decisions during the summer months. We could see a resurgence in cuts to close out the year. The fourth quarter is typically when companies make strategic moves to prepare for the coming year.

This year could be particularly volatile in the fourth quarter, with employers holding off on significant moves until they see election results. It's not simply who wins the White House, but there are Senate races and countless ballot initiatives on issues like minimum wages that will influence business strategies going forward.

The September increase was led by the education sector, where job cuts increased by 363 percent to 8,671. The bulk of the job cuts came from the collapse of for-profit college ITT Technical Institute, which led to 8,000 job losses.

The computer industry continued to see heavy job cutting in September, announcing another 4,152 job cuts during the month. That brings the annual job-cut total for the sector to 59,719, which is second only to the energy sector, which has announced 98,733 job cuts, to date.

Meanwhile, the retail sector, which announced 7,296 job cuts in September, ranks third in year-to-date job cuts with 51,939 planned layoffs through three quarters. However, those losses will be more than offset by seasonal hiring that has already seen nearly 230,000 new jobs announced. Challenger concluded:

Retailers aren't the only ones boosting their hiring. Transportation and warehouses are adding workers, as more holiday shopping is completed online. Job seekers can also find opportunities at restaurants, caterers, and entertainment venues.

The vast majority of these jobs are temporary in nature. However, many seasonal workers will be able to turn them into full-time positions. For those hoping to work beyond December 31st, it is critical to make a positive impression during the holidays.

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