Lastest report comes the day before the government's closely-watched jobs report
Job cuts fell to their lowest level since December, according to the global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.’s downsizing activity report released Thursday.
The report comes the same day as a report from the Labor Department that initial claims for unemployment fell to a more than five-year low last week, and a day before the government’s closely-watched jobs report. Economist forecast that employers added more than 140,000 jobs in April, a significant job from the 88,000 jobs added in March.
April job cuts were 23 percent lower in April than in March, Challenger reported, and 6 percent lower than the job cuts announced in April of last year.
Year-over-year, the pace of downsizing is virtually equal through the first four months of 2013. Employers have announced 183,162 job cuts to date.
Retail suffered the largest number of job cuts announced in April with 5,897. This is down significantly from the 16,445 retail job layoffs announced in March, but through the first four months of 2013, retail job cuts are up 64 percent from a year ago.
There was also heavy downsizing in sectors not influenced by consumer spending, including health care, industrial goods, transportation, and aerospace and defense. These accounted for 26 percent of the monthly total of job cuts.
The top five cities that have seen the most layoffs year to date include New York, Texas, California, Illinois, and Florida.
CEO John A. Challenger said that stagnant consumer spending is a concern. Consumer spending was up 0.2 percent in March, due primarily to increased heating costs, while spending in other categories declined, according to the Commerce Department.
“Americans’ wages are not quite keeping pace with increased expenses,” Challenger said in a statement. “As a result, we are not going to see a big increase in consumer spending. It is just as unlikely that we will see a significant drop-off in spending. What is most likely is that consumers will simply shift their spending around.”
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.