28,307 July Job Cuts – Lowest Monthly Total Since November; Hiring At Record Number

U.S.-based employers announced plans to cut payrolls by 28,307 jobs in July, the lowest monthly total since November 2016. Meanwhile, over 88,000 hiring announcements were recorded last month, the third-highest hiring month of the year and highest July total on record, according to a report released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The July job-cut total is 9 percent lower than the 31,105 cuts recorded in June, and 37.6 percent lower than the same month last year, when 45,346 cuts were recorded. Last month’s job cuts were the lowest monthly total since November 2016, when 26,936 cuts were announced.

So far this year, employers announced 255,307 planned job cuts, down 28.9 percent from the 359,100 cuts announced through the first seven months of 2016.

“Job cuts have slowed significantly as we reach mid-year. This month’s total was the lowest July total since 23,238 cuts were recorded in July 1995,” said John Challenger, Chief Executive Officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

In fact, monthly job cut totals have fallen under 30,000 only three times in the last ten years, all of which occurred in the last three years.

“While we have yet to see the large-scale layoffs of previous years, especially as oil and tech rebound, the specter of a downturn is on the horizon and could spell massive cuts as we head into the fourth quarter and into next year,” said Challenger.

Retail continues to lead all sectors this year with 63,989 announced cuts, 3,862 in July. Retail job cuts are 46.7 percent higher this year than through the same point last year, when 43,618 retail cuts were announced.

Health care products and services announced the second-highest number of job cuts in July, with 3,634, bringing that sector’s year-to-date total to 21,554. Companies in the services sector cut 2,607 jobs in July for a seven-month total of 18,022. Aerospace/defense companies announced 2,295 cuts in July, bringing that sector’s total through July to 11,092.

“While retailers are cutting the most jobs this year, those companies are also announcing the most hiring. These jobs are not the typical retail job, as consumers increasingly turn to online shopping. New retail jobs could be going to places like fulfillment and distribution centers, which increasingly need talent, as well as to workers with the tech skills necessary to interact with and manage the automation that’s revolutionizing the industry,” said Challenger.

Retailers have announced 245,616 of the 556,493 new jobs that have been announced so far this year, according to Challenger tracking. The seven-month hiring total is 500 percent higher than the 92,802 new jobs announced through July 2016. Computer firms have announced the second most new jobs this year 126,121, and the technology sector – Computer, Telecommunications, and Electronics combined – has announced 157,052 new hires.

“We typically see the most hiring announcements in September and October, as companies prepare for the holiday rush. It will be interesting to see whether there are such large gains again this year, or if the staffing that is currently occurring will keep those gains at bay,” said Challenger.