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Economy in Brief

Challenger Job Cuts Near Recovery Low
by Tom Moeller  January 3, 2013

The number of layoffs fell for the holidays. The outplacement firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported that 32,556 job cuts were announced during December. The latest level was nearly the lowest for the economic recovery and more-than-reversed the November rise. Job cut announcements fell most sharply in the health care, electronics and computer industries. They also were down in the aerospace/defense, apparel, automotive, chemical, commodities, education, entertainment /leisure, government, food, energy and retail industries. Layoffs rose in the financial and consumer products industries. During the last ten years there has been a 67% 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 the increase moderated after sharp gains in the health care, retail and financial sectors. The Challenger figures are available in Haver's SURVEYS database. 

Monetary Policy and Interest Rate Uncertainty from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco can be found here.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas Dec Nov Oct Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Announced Job Cuts 32,556 57,081 47,724 22.1 523,362 606,082 529,973
Announced Hiring Plans 16,266 28,526 75,065 15.6 630,447 537,572 402,638
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