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Economy in Brief

Challenger Layoffs Highest Since 2002
by Tom Moeller February 4, 2009

Challenger, Grey & Christmas reported that January job cut announcements soared to 241,749 following 166,348 layoffs during December. The latest figure was the highest since early-2002.

Job cut announcements in the retail industry led overall with 53,968. The industrial goods industry was not far behind with 32,083 layoffs and in the computer industry there were 22,330 job cuts. Announced were 22,063 layoffs in the pharmaceutical industry, 17,195 layoffs in the chemical industry and the electronics industry shed 11,050 jobs

During the last ten years there has been a 67% (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.

Challenger also reported that announced hiring plans were up sharply from the prior three months.

The Challenger figures are available in Haver's SURVEYS database.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas January December Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Announced Job Cuts 241,749 166,348 222.4% 1,223,993 768,264 839,822
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