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Economy in Brief

U.S. Challenger Layoffs Increase Sharply
by Tom Moeller  March 2, 2011

The outplacement firm of Challenger, Grey & Christmas reported that the level of layoffs during February jumped to 50,702, the highest level since January of last year. The rise in layoffs was led by government and retail sectors with lesser increases in utilities, transportation, industrial goods, automotive, electronics, apparel, food and insurance industries. Layoffs fell elsewhere, notably in pharmaceutical, construction, entertainment & leisure, services, telecommunications, real estate, media and energy. 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 Feb Jan Dec Y/Y 2010 2009 2008
Announced Job Cuts 50,702 38,519 32,004 20.5% 529,973 1,288,030 1,223,993
Announced Hiring Plans 72,581 29,492 10,575 774.5 402,638 272,573 118,600
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