2019 September Challenger Report: Announcements Fall 22% From August

Job cuts announced by U.S.-based employers fell to 41,557 in September, 22.3% lower than the 53,480 announced in August. This is the second lowest monthly total in 2019, according to a report released Thursday from global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Last month’s total is 24.8% lower than the 55,285 cuts announced in the same month last year. It is the lowest monthly total since April, when 40,023 cuts were announced.

Despite the drop, so far this year, employers have announced plans to cut 464,869 jobs from their payrolls, 26.9% higher than the 366,058 cuts announced in the same nine months last year. It is the highest January-September total since 2015, when 493,431 cuts were announced.

Third-quarter job cuts totaled 133,882, 4.8% lower than the previous quarter, when 140,577 cuts were announced. It is 10.8% higher than the same quarter last year, when 120,879 cuts were recorded. It is the highest third-quarter total since 2015, when 205,759 cuts were announced.

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“Employers held off on making any large-scale employment decisions in September. Most likely, companies will monitor consumer behavior, government regulation or deregulation, and market conditions during the final quarter of the year in order to make staffing decisions for next year," said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Retail led all sectors in September with 8,132 announced cuts, bringing the year-to-date total to 65,358. That is 23.5% lower than the 85,385 cuts announced in this sector during the same period last year.

Industrial Goods manufacturers followed with 5,067 cuts in September, 2,261 of which were from steel manufacturers. So far this year, Industrial Goods manufacturers have announced 60,943 cuts, 194% higher than the 20,699 announced through the same period last year.

Automotive companies announced 4,912 job cuts last month, and 41,060 so far this year. That is 194% higher than the 13,963 announced through September 2018.

“Cuts in this sector will likely continue to rise, especially if the strike at General Motors continues and the fallout impacts suppliers. Canadian auto suppliers announced thousands of cuts last month,” said Challenger.

While job cut announcements dropped last month, seasonal hiring announcements surged. Challenger has tracked 432,964 seasonal hiring announcements so far this year, with 424,964 in September (Table 8).

In addition to seasonal hiring, employers announced 34,725 hires in September, 30,000 of which came from Amazon. The company, which has not announced seasonal hiring plans, announced these positions would be permanent (Tables 6, 7).

While job cuts are up in every region, companies located in the Southern United States have seen the largest jump in job cut announcements, as employers in this region have announced 65% more job cuts than through the same period last year: 105,665 compared to 64,117 in 2018. Companies in the Eastern United States had the second-largest percentage increase, with 42%, as employers in this region announced 125,218 cuts in 2019 compared to 87,969 last year (Table 3).

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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).