Year-to-date job cuts down 11 percent, Media and financial services suffer biggest gains
U.S.-based employers announced fewer job cuts for the third consecutive month, according to a report released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
Employers announced 36,398 job cuts in May, a 4.5 percent decrease from April, and 41 percent lower than the same month a year ago.
Year to date, U.S. employers have announced 219,560 planned job cuts, down 11 percent from the comparable period in 2012. May is historically the slowest job-cut month of the year, averaging 57,688 since 1993, the report states. The next lowest job-cut month is June, which show it averaging 59,887 since 1993. The overall average monthly total across all months since 1993 is 70,288, according to company data.
The health care sector saw the heaviest job cutting—4,886--in May. This was up slightly from April, but more than double the number of job cuts announced in May 2012. Overall, layoffs in health care are up 71 percent this year compared to the first five months of last year.
Job cuts in media over the past five months have increased 249 percent vs. the comparable period in 2012. The financial sector has seen job cuts increase by 103 percent. Financial firms have announced 35,091 job cuts to date, making it the sector with the highest number of layoffs. Retail ranks a close second, with 32,683 job cuts this year, including 1,386 in May.
“Despite the increases in some sectors, the overall pace of downsizing has slowed from 2012 levels,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in a statement. "That is particularly good news in light of the fact that 2012 saw the fewest annual job cuts since 1997… So far, the threat of massive job cuts related to federal spending cuts has failed to materialize.”
The report anticipates Friday’s U.S. jobs report, which is projected to show modest job gains of 170,000 in May, up slightly from the 165,000 jobs that were added to the economy in April. On Wednesday, payroll processor ADP released its job creation report, which found a less than forecast 135,000 jobs added in May.
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.