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Economy in Brief

U.S. Challenger Layoffs Again Rise Just Slightly But Hiring Plans Slack Off
by Tom Moeller   December 01, 2010

The outplacement firm of Challenger, Grey & Christmas indicated that the level of layoffs during November again increased slightly to 48,711. The level was the least since March. Planned layoffs announced during the first eleven months of 2010 totaled 497,969, down nearly two-thirds from 1,242,936 announced during the first eleven months of 2009. Despite the decline in layoffs, the unemployment rate from the Census Department remains high as the number of long-term unemployed has surged.

Layoffs rose in November in the apparel, consumer goods, electronics, energy, food, government, industrial goods, insurance, pharmaceutical, services, telecommunications and utility industries. Layoffs fell elsewhere. 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 in payroll employment. Job cut announcements differ from layoffs. Many are achieved through attrition, early retirement or just never occur.

Challenger also samples firms' hiring plans and they fell sharply last month to just 26,012. Plans fell hardest in the apparel, automotive, computer, energy, financial, retail, services, transportation industries. The Challenger figures are available in Haver's SURVEYS database.

Why Have The Dynamics of Labor Productivity Changed? from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City is available here.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas Nov. Oct. Sept. Y/Y 2009 2008 2007
Announced Job Cuts 48,711 37,986 37,151 -3.3% 1,288,030 1,223,993 768,264
Announced Hiring Plans 26,012 124,766 123,076 158.2% 272,573 118,600 365,583
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