2019 October Job Cuts Report: Announced Cuts Edge Up 21% in October

Job cuts announced by U.S.-based employers jumped to 50,275 in October, 20.97% higher than the 41,557 announced in September, according to a report released Thursday from global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Last month’s total is 33.5% lower than the 75,644 cuts announced in the same month last year. October was the second consecutive month during which cuts were lower in 2019 than in the corresponding month one year earlier.

Employers have announced plans to cut 515,441 jobs from their payrolls, 16.6% higher than the 441,702 cuts announced through October last year. It is the highest January-October total since 2015, when 543,935 cuts were announced.

“For the most part, job cut announcements are holding steady as we enter the final quarter of the year. We’ve seen increases in certain industries, particularly those experiencing disruptions from new technologies, uncertainty from government regulation or issues with trade, or slumping from demand shifts,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

October cuts were led by the Technology sector, which announced 15,898 cuts last month, mostly from Hewlett-Packard’s announcement that the company would cut up to 9,000 jobs by 2022. So far this year, Technology companies have announced plans to cut 56,155 jobs from their payrolls, the third-highest total for any industry through October.

Health Care companies, including hospitals and medical products manufacturers, announced the second-highest total in October, with 5,400. Hospitals cited lower Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, declining revenue, and the changing care landscape.

Retail leads all sectors in 2019 with 71,485 cuts, 6,127 of which occurred in October. Industrial Goods manufacturers follow with 63,505, 183% higher than the 22,446 announced through October last year. It is the highest January-October total for the sector since 2009, when 105,027 cuts were announced.

“We saw many steel companies announce cuts last month, attributed to a number of reasons, including tariffs on steel, declining demand, and market conditions,” said Challenger.

In fact, of the 2,562 Industrial Goods cuts tracked last month, 1,188 were from steel companies, 355 of which were attributed specifically to tariffs on steel. Of the 1,368 cuts attributed to tariffs last month, 768 were attributed to steel tariffs. Those cuts came from companies in the Automotive, Industrial, and Aerospace industries.

Of the 3,826 announced cuts companies attributed to the tariffs this year, 1,571 were specifically due to steel tariffs. (See Table 4).

Automotive companies have announced 43,025 job cuts this year, 197% higher than the 14,489 announced through the same point last year. It is the highest total in the first ten months of the year since 2009, when 164,440 cuts were recorded.

Meanwhile, hiring plans by U.S.-based employers are at a record high. Through October, companies have announced 1,162,375 hiring plans, 431,781 of which are for the holiday season (Table 8).

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Note: Challenger has updated the names of two industries to better describe the companies that are tracked therein. “Computer” will now be labeled “Technology” and “Commodities” will now be called “Mining.”

Challenger is also breaking out Financial Tech firms, which will be referred to as “FinTech.” These changes are represented in Table 2 (Job Cuts by Industry) and Table 7 (Announced Hiring Plans).

  • Download tables below.