U.S.-based employers announced plans to cut payrolls by 33,825 in August, a 19.4 percent increase from the 28,307 recorded cuts announced in July, according to a report released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
The August job-cut total is 5 percent higher than the same month last year, when 32,188 cuts were recorded. This month’s total marks the first increase in job cuts in the past five months of this year. Job cuts have declined each month of this year following the announcement of 43,310 payroll cuts in March.
So far this year, employers announced 289,132 planned job cuts, down 26.1 percent from the 391,288 cuts announced through the first eight months of 2016.
“Although job cuts have risen this month, they continue to be significantly lower compared to the same time last year,” said John Challenger, Chief Executive Officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
“Although we have seen high layoffs in retail with store closings and some companies filing for bankruptcy, there has also been increased hiring in new areas of the sector as retailers build out their e-commerce platforms. Shipping and technology jobs are expanding and going unfilled. We are seeing a labor market in which skilled technical and logistics/supply chain talent is in high demand,” said Challenger.
Retail continues to lead all sectors this year, with 67,596 announced cuts, 3,607 in August. Retail job cuts are 51.4 percent higher this year than through the same point last year, when 44,643 retail cuts were announced.
The construction industry announced the highest number of job cuts in August, with 4,332. Companies in the financial sector cut 3,414 jobs in August, for an eight-month total of 10,799. The services industry announced 3,039 cuts in August, bringing that sector’s total to 21,061.
“Retail is pivoting, and with the holiday rush just around the corner, a big jump in seasonal jobs is imminent. An increasing number of these jobs will involve new technologies and be more customer-centric, as brick-and-mortar retailers seek to create experiences that consumers cannot find online,” said Challenger.