Published on: Jan 30, 2019 

The Numbers

Employers at U.S.-based companies announced plans to cut 52,988 jobs from their payrolls in January, 20.7 percent higher than the 43,884 announced in December, according to a report released Thursday from global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

January’s total is 18.7 percent higher than the 44,653 cuts announced in the same month last year. While it is lower than the average of 86,347 cuts announced during the month of January since 1993, it is higher than 20 of the last 24 monthly totals.

Challenger Analysis

“Employers are continuing the trend of reducing staff that we saw in the fourth quarter of last year, as several industries pivot to emerging technologies. Companies are battling economic uncertainty and, while consumer confidence was high, consumer spending missed estimates at major retailers during the holiday season,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

In fact, Retail leads all sectors in job cuts in January with 22,327. That is 45 percent higher than the 15,378 cuts announced in this sector last January. Most are related to Gymboree’s plan to liquidate remaining stores in the U.S. and Canada, costing a reported 10,000 jobs.

Upcoming Hiring Plans

Meanwhile, home improvement retailer Lowe’s announced it would hire 50,000 seasonal workers for the spring, as well as 10,000 permanent roles and 6,000 managers.

“Retail is going through a transformation that may cost many jobs, but is also creating many jobs. The new retail position is much more than giving change and stocking shelves. Retail workers must be tech-savvy,” said Challenger.

Financial firms announced the second-highest number of planned cuts with 4,230, followed by the Automotive sector, which announced 3,949, and Entertainment/Leisure companies that announced 3,533 planned cuts.

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Contact Colleen Madden Blumenfeld for more data or to set up an interview with SVP Andy Challenger.

Contact Challenger for Media Inquiries



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).


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