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Economy in Brief

U.S. Challenger Layoffs Are Another Sign Of Firming Job Market
by Tom Moeller  February 2, 2011

The outplacement firm of Challenger, Grey & Christmas reported that the level of layoffs during January picked up slightly to 38,519. The level still was near the lowest since June 2000. Despite the decline in layoffs, the unemployment rate from the Census Department remains high as the number of long-term unemployed has surged.

Layoffs picked up in the aerospace, chemical, construction, consumer goods, energy, financial, government, media, real estate, retail insurance, pharmaceutical, services 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 which rebounded to 29,492.

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

Challenger, Gray & Christmas Jan Dec Nov Y/Y 2010 2009 2008
Announced Job Cuts 38,519 32,004 48,711 -46.1% 529,973 1,288,030 1,223,993
Announced Hiring Plans 29,492 10,575 26,012 -6.0% 402,638 272,573 118,600
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