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Economy in Brief

Challenger Job Cut Announcements Slip
by Tom Moeller  January 8, 2015

The outplacement firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported that job cut announcements fell to 32,640 (+6.6% y/y) during December from 35,940 in November. It was the lowest layoff level in three months. For all of 2014, layoffs totaled 483,171, the fewest since 1997. Layoffs fell m/m in the consumer products, health care, aerospace/defense, chemical, computer, education, entertainment/leisure, financial, government, industrial goods, real estate, retail and transportation industries. Layoffs increased in the automotive, construction, electronics, energy, entertainment/leisure, food, legal, media, pharmaceutical, services, telecommunication and utility industries. During the last ten years there has been a 68% correlation between the level of job cut announcements and the m/m change in payroll employment.

Challenger also samples firms' hiring plans. For all of 2014 they totaled 821,506, the strongest level on record which dates to 2005. Hiring declined in December, however, to 7,332 (-35.5% y/y) due to less hiring in the chemical, construction, financial, food, health care, industrial goods, insurance, retail and telecommunications industries, many of which posted greater increases in November. Hiring increased in the aerospace/defense, automotive, commodities, computer, electronics, media, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, transportation and utility industries.

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

Challenger, Gray & Christmas

Dec Nov Oct Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012

Announced Job Cuts

32,640 35,940 51,183 6.6 483,171 509,051 523,362

Announced Hiring Plans

7,332 11,291 147,935 -35.5 821,506 764,206 630,447
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