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Economy in Brief

Challenger Layoffs Ease Slightly Second Month
by Tom Moeller April 1, 2009

The outplacement firm of Challenger, Grey & Christmas reported that March job cut announcements eased for the second month to 150,411 following 186,350 layoffs during February. Both of the figures were down from the cycle high of 241,749 reached in January. Challenger also reported that announced hiring plans picked up somewhat from February.

Announcements of job cuts in the pharmaceutical industry were a strong 17,796 which was the second most on record. Announcements in the electronics industry also were strong. Another 11,550 jobs were shed and that was near the rate of decline during the prior three months.

Job cut announcements in the automotive sector eased sharply to 6,806 after a huge jump during February and the financial business shed 8,651 jobs. Employment in the retail industry fell 3,821 after the 18,759 February cut. Employment in the industrial goods industry also fell a more moderate 8,787. The computer industry shed 5,290 after the 3,960 February cutback.

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.

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

Challenger, Gray & Christmas March February Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Announced Job Cuts 150,411 186,350 180.7% 1,223,993 768,264 839,822
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