A new report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas showed that 43,310 corporate layoffs were announced in America last month. That was a 17 percent increase from February but still 2 percent below the number of separations seen in March 2016. Further, 126,201 job cuts were announced in the United States during the first three months of 2017, a decrease of 30 percent compared to Q1 2016. Much of this improvement has been due to the rebound in the price of oil, as evidenced by the 48,901 energy sector layoffs announced in the first quarter of 2016 that fell to just 7,880 in Q1 2017.
Job cuts are still occurring, though, and the retail sector is currently leading the way with 38,464 layoffs announced last quarter, 21 percent higher compared to Q1 2016. However, retailers have also announced over 121,000 new jobs year-to-date, and John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, added that “Retail is typically an industry in flux … the industry is creating openings just as quickly as they are cutting.” Moreover, U.S. companies’ hiring efforts in general remain historically elevated, and first-time claims for unemployment benefits, a broader measure of separations, continue to signal a healthy overall labor market where employers are reluctant to reduce staff amid strong customer demand and a shortage of skilled and experienced workers.
Sources: Econoday, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, U.S. DoL, Bloomberg, FRBSLPost author: Charles Couch