Job cuts announced by U.S.-based employers jumped in July to 262,649, the third-largest monthly total ever behind April’s 671,129 and May’s 397,016, according to a monthly report released Thursday by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

July’s total is 54% higher than the 170,219 job cuts announced in June, and 576% higher than the July 2019 total of 38,845. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the highest monthly total of job cuts was 186,350 in February 2009.

Last month’s cuts bring the yearly total so far to 1,847,696, up 212% from the 592,556 cuts at this time last year. The current year-to-date total is 109,180 cuts away from the 1,956,876 cuts announced in 2001, the highest annual total on record. Challenger began tracking job cut announcements in January 1993.

The reason cited for 77,092 of the announced cuts is market conditions. COVID-19 caused 63,517 cuts in July, followed by 60,831 job cuts due to demand downturn, and 17,069 cuts due to voluntary severance/buyouts. COVID-19 is the reason for 1,074,904 cuts so far this year.

“The lapse in extended unemployment benefits for millions of Americans will significantly impact the economy, as we see more employers announce they are cutting jobs permanently,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

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