Published April 4, 2024

U.S.-based employers announced 90,309 cuts in March, up 7% from the 84,638 cuts announced in February, and virtually the same as (+0.7%) the 89,703 cuts announced in the same month last year. It is the highest monthly total since 102,943 cuts occurred in January 2023, according to a report released Thursday from global outplacement and leadership development and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

In the first quarter, companies announced plans to cut 257,254 jobs, down 5% from the 270,416 cuts announced in the same quarter last year. It is up 120% from the 117,163 cuts which occurred in the final quarter of 2023.

March 2024 Challenger Job Cuts Report Chart; Layoffs by month January 2021 - March 2024

Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

“Layoffs certainly ticked up to round out the first quarter, though below last year’s levels. Many companies appear to be reverting to a ‘do more with less’ approach. While Technology continues to lead all industries so far this year, several industries, including Energy and Industrial Manufacturing, are cutting more jobs this year than last,” said Andy Challenger, workplace and labor expert and Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Industries Cutting The Most Jobs

Technology leads all industries in job cut announcements this year with 42,442, down 59% from the 102,391 cuts announced in the first quarter last year. In March, Technology companies announced 14,224 cuts.

March 2024 Challenger Job Cuts Report Chart; Layoffs by month January 2022 - March 2024

Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

The Government announced 36,044 job eliminations in March, including 10,000 cuts from the Veterans Affairs and 24,000 cuts to the United States Army. This is the highest monthly total for the sector since September 2011, when Government entities cut 54,182, primarily on an announcement to cut 50,000 positions in the U.S. Army. This sector has cut a total of 15,584 cuts between 2021 and 2023 after cutting 78,323 cuts in 2020.

Financial firms cut the third-most jobs in the first quarter with 28,715, down 6% from the 30,635 cuts announced in the first quarter of 2023. The Services sector announced slightly fewer jobs than during the same time last year: 16,014 in Q1 2024 compared to 16,612 cuts in Q1 2023.

Transportation companies have announced 15,746 cuts, up 483% from the 2,701 announced through March 2023.

Industrial Goods Manufacturing have announced 9,214 cuts so far in 2024, a 726% increase over the 1,115 cuts announced during the same period last year.

The Apparel industry has announced 1,702% more cuts than last year (4,756 vs 264), Energy cuts are up 1,114% (4,747 vs 391), Education announcements are up 756% (9,800 vs 1145).

Meanwhile, cuts in the Real Estate industry are down 72%, Healthcare/Products Manufacturer cuts are down 50%, Retail cuts are down 43%, and Automotive sector announcements are down 39%.

Media Cuts

The Media industry shed 2,246 cuts last month, for a total of 6,931 in the first quarter. This is down 33% from the 10,320 cuts announced in the sector during the first quarter of 2023.

Of the Media cuts tracked, 343 occurred in digital, broadcast, and print News last month, for a total of 2,127 in Q1. This is up 48% from the 1,438 cuts announced in News in the first quarter of 2023.

“News organizations are still grappling with business models based on ads and subscribers. Generative AI is absolutely a technology these companies are attempting to implement without losing journalistic integrity and credibility from readers,“ said Challenger.

Why Are Companies Cutting?

The leading reason for job cuts in the first quarter was “Cost-Cutting,” which accounted for 66,302 of the reductions, followed by “Restructuring,” which led to 48,352 cuts this year. Another 38,619 were due to business, unit, or store closures. Market Conditions were responsible for 23,329 cuts, while 7,591 were linked to Bankruptcy.

Hiring Plans

U.S. employers announced plans to add 36,795 positions in the first quarter, a 48% decrease from the 70,638 hiring plans announced during the same period last year. This is the lowest number of announced hiring plans since 2016, when employers planned to hire 26,898 workers in the first quarter. The Energy sector led all industries with plans to hire 5,800 workers, followed by the Technology sector, which plans to add 2,237 positions.

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

Contact Challenger for Media Inquiries

Download Full Report with Tables