Job cuts announced by U.S.-based employers totaled 397,016 in May, down 40.8% from April’s total of 671,129, the highest monthly total on record. Despite the drop, last month’s total is the second highest monthly total on record since global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. began tracking job cut announcements in January 1993, according to the firm’s monthly report released Thursday.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused 209,147 cuts in May, followed by 119,018 job cuts due to market conditions, and 50,172 announced cuts due to demand downturn.

May’s total is 577.8% higher than the 58,577 job cuts announced in the same month last year. It is 59.8% higher than the 248,475 job cuts tracked in January of 2002, the previous record monthly total prior to April 2020.

So far this year, 1,414,828 job cuts have been announced, 389.5% higher than the 289,010 announced in the first five months of 2019, and the highest January-May total on record. It is 31,995 cuts away from the 1,446,823 cuts tracked in all of 2002, the second highest annual total on record. The current year-to-date total is 542,048 cuts away from the 1,956,876 cuts announced in 2001, the highest annual total on record.

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