Planned Job Cuts Surge to Eight-Month High

Planned Job Cuts Surge to Eight-Month High
CHICAGO, December 1, 2010 - The pace of downsizing surged to its highest level in eight months, as employers announced plans to reduce payrolls by 48,711 jobs in November, according to the report released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

November job cuts were 28 percent higher than the 37,986 planned layoffs reported in October. It was the highest job-cut total since March, when employers announced plans to cut 67,611.

Despite the increase, job cuts this year are still well below last year's levels. Last month's total was 3.3 percent lower than the 50,349 job cuts announced in November 2009. Overall, employers announced 497,969 job cuts from January through November, a 60 percent decline from the 1,242,936 layoffs in the same period a year ago.

Leading the November job-cut surge was the government and non-profit sector, which announced 10,761 layoffs during the month. This marks the seventh time this year that the sector was the largest job cutter. Government and non-profit agencies have cut 138,979 jobs this year, 177 percent more than the second-ranked pharmaceutical industry, which has announced 50,168 job cuts to date.

"Government and non-profit job cuts are down 16 percent from a year ago, but that is probably little consolation to employees in the sector, which is still struggling despite signs of recovery in other areas of the economy. Unfortunately, 2011 may not offer much respite for workers in the sector as many newly elected members of Congress are pushing for significant federal spending cuts. Job cuts that have been concentrated at the state and local level could expand to include federal workers in the new year," said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

"Other sectors have seen significant declines in job cuts this year and, at the moment, there is little evidence of a possible resurgence in 2011. The November increase in job cuts is not indicative of a broader trend. Historically, job cuts tend to increase in the final months of the year. This is the period when many companies make budget and payroll decisions for the coming year," said Challenger.

The November surge in job cuts was somewhat offset by hiring announcements totaling 26,012. Hiring was led by retailers, who reported plans to add 15,900 seasonal workers last month. In October, retailers announced plans to hire 66,000 seasonal workers. Transportation companies added 50,300 seasonal workers in October to help meet increased shipping demands over the holidays, but added only 500 additional workers in November