The pace of downsizing decreased in April, as US-based employers announced workforce reductions totaling 36,602 during the month, according to the latest report released Thursday from global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
The April figure represents a 15 percent decrease from March, when employers announced 43,310 planned layoffs. Last month’s job cuts were 43 percent lower than the 64,141 recorded in April 2016*.
Employers have announced a total of 162,803 planned job cuts through the first four months of 2017. That is down 35 percent from the 249,061 job cuts tracked during the same period a year ago. It is the lowest January-April total since 2014, when the opening four months of the year saw 161,639 job cuts.
“Although restructuring in the retail sector continues to shed jobs, we aren’t seeing the wide scale layoffs in other sectors, like energy or tech,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
The retail industry announced 11,669 job cuts in April, the highest total among all industries, bringing the year-to-date total to 50,133. That is up 36 percent from the 36,977 retail-sector job cuts announced in the first four months of 2016.
*Challenger revised Energy sector cuts in Texas down 1,000 in April 2016
Computer firms announced 840 job cuts during the month, 95 percent lower than the 17,015 cuts in that sector in April 2016. To date, computer firms have cut 5,734 cuts, 83 percent lower than the 34,017 cuts announced in the first four months of 2016.
Meanwhile, the energy sector, which at this point last year had shed 67,660 jobs, has announced 8,725 to date, an 87 percent decrease. Just 459 cuts were announced in the energy sector last month.
The telecommunications sector has announced 10,269 jobs through April this year, a 70 percent increase from the 6,023 cuts through this point last year.
“The FCC is expected to lift a ban on merger talks in the telecom industry which will likely result in companies paring down to make themselves more attractive in these deals. We could see even more cuts in the coming months from this sector,” said Challenger.
“The economy seems to be in a holding pattern. The government jobs report saw lower-than-expected job creation in March with 98,000 jobs added, and consumer spending has been sluggish in the first quarter. Companies may be waiting for the outcome of President Trump’s tax reform before making any major decisions,” said Challenger.