July Job Cuts Surpass 100,000, Already 2nd Time This Year

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Challenger Grey Report, issued this morning, says 103,312 July job cuts are up 141% from a year ago.

CHICAGO – Planned job cuts announced by employers in July totaled 103,312, a 26 percent increase from the 81,755 job cuts announced in June. It was the second time in three months that job cuts exceeded 100,000, according to the latest job-cut report released Monday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The July figure is the second largest of the year, behind the 103,522 planned job cuts announced in May. It marked a 141 percent increase from July 2007, when employers announced job cuts totaling 42,897.

Employers have now announced 579,260 job cuts this year, which is
33 percent more than the 436,396 job cuts announced through July a year ago. The pace of job cutting over the last four months is significantly higher than the first quarter of the year, when job cuts averaged 66,885 per month.

Since April 1, monthly job cuts have averaged 94,651, a 42 percent increase. Employers in the transportation industry announced the highest number of job cuts last month, with 17,051. It was closely followed by the financial sector, which announced 15,517 job cuts during the month.

Financial firms remain the leading job cutters for the year, having already announced 100,775 job cuts through July. That is 50 percent more than the 2007 seven-month total of 67,006.

Each of the top five job-cutting industries has seen a significant increase in job cuts from last year. In fact, 17 of the 25 industries tracked by Challenger (68 percent) have seen job cuts increase from a year ago.

“Transportation cuts in 2008 have been dominated by airlines, which are reeling from higher fuel prices and cutting flights, amenities and workers to offset their costs. At the same time, many cash-strapped Americans are increasingly frustrated by higher ticket prices, baggage fees, airport delays and cancelled flights that they are simply forgoing vacations that require air travel and staying closer to home,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“Meanwhile, financial firms are just 52,330 job cuts away from breaking last year’s record total. At the current pace, we could surpass the 2007 year-end figure of 153,105 by the end of October.

“At the same time, we have seen job cuts increase in the majority of industries that we track, indicating that the downturn, which was isolated to the housing and financial sectors just a few months ago, has spread throughout much of the economy. While the latest reading on gross domestic product confirms that we have not yet fallen into recession, the big worry is that the economy will continue to under-perform. If that persists for several quarters, or even years, it will seem like we are in a recession, particularly for job seekers,” Challenger concluded.

Reported by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc

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