posted on 05 January 2017
from Challenger Gray and Christmas
The pace of downsizing ticked up slightly to close out 2016, as U.S.-based employers announced plans to shed 33,627 jobs from payrolls in December
December job cuts were up 25 percent from November's 26,936, the lowest monthly total of 2016. The December total was well below the 43,910 job cuts averaged monthly throughout the year.
Last month's tally was 42 percent higher than the same month a year ago, when employers announced planned layoffs totaling 23,622, which was not only the lowest monthly total of 2015, but the lowest monthly total in more than 15 years.
December marked the third consecutive month in which job cuts remained significantly below the annual average. In all, just 91,303 planned job cuts were reported in the final quarter of 2016. That is the lowest quarterly total since Q2 of 2000, when employers announced only 81,568 planned layoffs.
Employers announced a total of 526,915 job cuts in 2016. That is 12 percent fewer than the 598,510 cuts tracked in 2015. The 2016 total sits below the 539,581 annual job cuts averaged since 2010, which marked the first year of recovery in the wake of the Great Recession.
The heaviest job cuts in 2016 occurred in the energy sector, which announced 107,714 layoffs during the year. That was up 14 percent from 2015, when these firms cut 94,409 job cuts.
Most of the energy cuts were announced in the first half of 2016, as the industry continued to suffer from historically low oil prices. Between January and June, layoffs in the sector totaled 77,211.
As prices started to recover in the second half of the year, job cuts declined sharply. Additionally, of the 30,503 energy cuts in the second half of 2016, about 20 percent came from companies in the renewable energy industry, including wind and solar. In contrast, cuts from renewable energy firms accounted for just under 11 percent of the 77,211 energy sector layoffs announced in the first half of the year. Said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas:
Job cuts were also up in the computer industry in 2016. These firms announced 66,821 job cuts during the year, 7.4 percent more than in 2015 (62,191).
Rounding out the top five job-cutting industries of the year were retail (59,324), industrial goods (33,435), and financial (22,015), each of which saw annual job cuts decline from the previous year. Challenger concludes:
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