U.S.-based employers announced plans to cut 140,577 jobs from their payrolls in the second quarter of this year, down 26% from the 190,410 cuts announced in the first quarter. Despite the drop, Q2 cuts are 34% higher than the 104,800 cuts announced in the same quarter last year, according to the latest report on job cuts released Wednesday from global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
Last quarter’s total is the highest for the second quarter since 2015, when 147,458 cuts were recorded. So far this year, employers have announced plans to cut 330,987 jobs, a 35% increase from the 245,179 cuts announced through the first half of last year. This year marks the highest first-half total since 2009, when 896,675 job cuts were announced.
“The second quarter is historically the slowest period for job cut plans. Companies typically have not determined staffing decisions by this point, either because they are in the middle of or are only approaching their fiscal year’s end by June,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
Employers announced 41,977 cuts in June, down 28% from the 58,577 cuts announced in May. Despite the monthly drop, June’s cuts are 13% higher than the 37,202 cuts announced in June of last year. This is the eleventh consecutive month job cuts are higher than the corresponding month the year prior.
“Job cuts are trending higher overall. In addition to Retail, we’ve seen significant cuts in the Industrial Manufacturing and Automotive sectors in recent months,” said Challenger.
Retail continues to lead all sectors in 2019 with 53,248 cuts, 7,187 of which occurred in the second quarter. That is 27% fewer cuts than the 73,066 announced in the first half of 2018.
Companies in the Industrial Goods sector have announced 47,651 cuts, 562% higher than the 7,194 announced through June of 2018. Meanwhile, Automotive makers and suppliers announced plans to cut 32,350 jobs through June, a 190% increase over the 11,165 cuts announced in the first six months of 2018.
“Manufacturers are grappling with not only technological changes, but also increased competition, tariffs, changes in consumer behavior, and skills shortages. The Automotive sector particularly has experienced some setbacks, as consumer demand for traditional vehicles wanes,” said Challenger.
Companies in the Technology sector announced 21,777 job cuts through June, up 266% from the 5,942 cuts announced in the same period last year. Energy sector job cuts are up 185% over last year, with 14,527 cuts so far this year compared to 5,088 announced through June 2018.
Cuts in the Media industry continue to take their toll on news organizations. Through June, Challenger has tracked 7,775 media cuts, over 3,600 of which occurred at news outlets. That’s compared to 6,435 media cuts through June 2018. Last year ultimately saw 15,474 job cuts in the media, with 11,878 occurring in news, according to Challenger tracking.
The biggest blow to the news media last month came from the closing of the Youngstown Vindicator in Ohio, costing 144 employees and an estimated 250 carriers their jobs.
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).Download Full Report