U.S. based employers announced planned job cuts totaling 40,559 during April, a 7.1 percent increase from the 37,880 job cuts announced in March, according to a report released Thursday by global outplacement from Challenger, Gray and Christmas, Inc.
April jobs cuts are up 11.2 percent from the same period a year go, when employers announced 36,490 planned cuts, the lowest monthly total recorded in 2011. The Challenger report finds that so far this year, employers have announced 183,653 job cuts, a 9.8 percent increase from the same period last year. But despite the year-over-year increase, the monthly average of 45,913 through the first four months of 2012 is 2011’s 12-month average of 50,507.
The education sector is taking the hardest hit as massive state and local budget deficits are forcing school districts to make severe budget cuts. In April, 9.027 planned cuts were announced by educational institutions across the country, a 142 percent increase from the education job cuts announced in March. On the plus side, the pace of downsizing in education is down 32 percent from a year ago.
For the year thus far, consumer products firms are the leading job cutters, with 20,134 planned job cuts through April, a 257 percent increase over this point a year ago. The bulk of these cuts occurred in February, and has since fallen dramatically, the report found.
The broader government sector is also experiencing a decline in job cuts. Its 3,100 planned cuts in April made it the second largest job cutter of the month, but the 8,850 job cuts announced by government agencies year-to-date is 83 percent lower than the cuts announced in the first four months of 2011.
Texas has experienced the largest number of layoffs in the year thus far, followed by New York, North Carolina, Illinois, and California.
Amidst concerns about a repeat of 2011’s spring and summer slowdown, John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray and Christmas, said in a statement, “”We do not foresee a sudden upsurge in downsizing activity. Even with the increased job cuts…the monthly totals remain well below levels that would signal a reversal in the recovery.”
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.