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Economy in Brief

U.S. Challenger Layoffs More Than Doubled Y/Y To The Highest Since 2002
by Tom Moeller December 3, 2008

According to the Challenger, Grey & Christmas survey, layoffs jumped last month to their highest level since January of 2002, just following the last recession. The level of 181,671 was more than double the year-earlier level of 73,140. The three-month average level of layoffs at 129,883 was its highest also since 2002.

The rise in layoffs last month was led by 91,356 job cuts in financial industries and 5,459 cuts in the insurance industry. There also were 11,073 layoffs in the retail sector and 10,877 in the transportation industry.

During the last ten years there has been a 76% (inverse) correlation between the three-month moving average of announced job cuts and the three-month change payroll employment.

Job cut announcements differ from layoffs. Many are achieved through attrition, early retirement or just never occur.

The causes and consequences of economic restructuring: evidence from the early 21st century from the Federal Reserve Board can be found here.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas November October Y/Y 2007 2006 2005
Announced Job Cuts 181,671 112,884 148.4% 768,264 839,822 1,072,054
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