Job Cuts Fall 43% in December, Up 129% from Same Month Last Year, Q4 Cuts Highest Since Q4 2020

Published January 5, 2023

U.S.-based employers announced 43,651 cuts in December, falling 43% from the 76,835 announced in November. It is up 129% from the 19,052 cuts announced in the same month in 2021, according to a report released Thursday from global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

December’s total is the second-highest number of monthly job cuts announced in 2022 and marks the eighth time last year when cuts were higher than the corresponding month a year earlier.

In the fourth quarter, employers announced 154,329 job cuts, the highest quarterly total since the final quarter of 2020, when 222,493 job cut announcements occurred. It is 172% higher than the 56,749 cuts announced in the last quarter of 2021 and 102% higher than the 76,284 cuts announced in the previous quarter.

In 2022, employers announced plans to cut 363,824 jobs, up 13% from the 321,970 cuts announced in 2021. It is the second-lowest recorded total since Challenger began tracking monthly job cut announcements in 1993, with 2021 being the lowest.

Announced Job Cuts from January 2021 - December 2022. Report and data from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.


“The overall economy is still creating jobs, though employers appear to be actively planning for a downturn. Hiring has slowed as companies take a cautious approach entering 2023,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

U.S. industries leading in cuts

Currently, the bulk of cuts remain in the Technology sector. In December, 16,193 cuts occurred at companies in this industry for a total of 97,171 for the year, the leading job-cutting industry in 2022. It is up 649% from the 12,975 that occurred in Technology in 2021.


Announced Technology Job Cuts from 2002 - 2022. Report and data from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.


With the downturn in cryptocurrencies, Fintech firms announced 1,670% more cuts in 2022 than the prior year: 10,476 cuts in 2022 compared to 529 in 2021.

The Automotive industry announced the second-most job cuts in 2022 with 30,912, up 195% from the 10,469 cuts announced in the sector in 2021.

Health Care/Products manufacturers and providers announced 30,626 cuts in 2022, down 4% from the 31,997 announced in 2021.

Of the thirty industries Challenger tracks, eleven have announced more cuts in 2022 than in the same period last year.

“Clearly, interest rate hikes and inflation impacting the housing market are causing companies in Financial, Real Estate, and Construction to lay off workers,” Challenger said.

Financial firms announced 24,437 cuts last year, up 127% from the 10,784 cuts in 2021. Real Estate cuts were up 192% in 2022 to 8,074 from 2,762 in 2021. Construction cuts were up 84% to 7,187 from 3,900 one year prior.

Newsroom & media industry job loss

Meanwhile, the Media sector, which has announced high-profile job cuts as the industry consolidates and major mergers occur, announced 3,774 in 2022, down 5% from the 3,961 that occurred in 2021. Despite the drop, job cuts in News, a sector Challenger tracks as a subset of Media and includes digital, broadcast, and print news, announced 1,808 cuts, up 20% from the 1,511 News job cuts announced the year prior.

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Challenger's Media Coverage

Amazon cutting total of 18,000 workers as tech layoffs mount

By Associated Press

Published on JANUARY 5, 2023

Read full article here.

Overall, tech industry companies cut more than 97,000 jobs in 2022, up 649% from the roughly 13,000 eliminated the previous year, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That far outpaced the automotive sector, which cut 31,000 workers last year, the second-most of any U.S. industry. “The overall economy is still creating jobs, though employers appear to be actively planning for a downturn. Hiring has slowed as companies take a cautious approach entering 2023,” said Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.


U.S. hiring solid while wages cool, giving Fed room to slow hikes


Read full article here.

Just this week, said it plans to cut more than 18,000 employees – the biggest reduction in its history – while the real estate brokerage Compass announced further layoffs. Data from Challenger, Gray & Christmas show job-cut announcements, while down from the prior month, were up 129% from December 2021.

After job cuts, here’s how leaders can boost ‘layoff survivor’ morale and productivity

by Stephanie Dhue and Sharon Epperson

Read full article here.

Among U.S.-based companies, announced layoffs were up 172% in the fourth quarter of 2022 — with more than 154,000 jobs cut, as compared with nearly 57,000 in final quarter of 2021, according to the latest report from Challenger, Gray and Christmas.

The debate swirling inside HR departments: how to lay off workers

By Chip Cutter for The Wall Street Journal

Published on  January 9, 2023

Read full article here.

The era of hybrid work only complicates matters, executives say. Bosses once insisted on delivering bad news face-to-face, a practice that changed in the pandemic. Some executives are now debating whether it is easier for employees to learn of a layoff on Zoom versus in-person, said Andy Challenger, senior vice president at outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. “It almost seems cruel to ask someone to commute into the office just to let them go,” he said… Many managers often flub the conversations by saying, “This is so hard for me,” Mr. Challenger said. That phrase can irritate employees facing a job loss. “That just hits people the wrong way,” he said. “It’s not about you.”

The Washington Post Logo Newspaper

Disney to employees: Work in the office four days a week

By Taylor Telford

published on January 10, 2023

Read full article here.

But as layoffs have mounted, especially among tech companies that have historically been bullish on remote work, the balance of power has been shifting back toward employers, and some are using it to try to get people back together in person. “You’ve seen lots of companies and CEOs saying they want people back more than they are,” said Andy Challenger, senior vice president at Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “I think a lot of companies have been waiting to make these moves.” … Many employers have had hybrid policies in place but have started threatening to enforce them only recently, Challenger said, with some arguing that being lax is unfair to the employees who have been coming in consistently. Over the next year, a more accurate picture will emerge of what “equilibrium” in the work landscape will look like, he said.


The 10 best U.S. jobs of 2023, according to new research—many pay over $100,000

by Morgan Smith

published on  Jan 10 2023

Read full article here.

If you’re hoping to land a new job this year, now is the time to apply, as economists expect a recession to hit in late 2023. “Today is better than it’s going to be six months from now,” Andy Challenger, senior vice president at outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, recently told CNBC. “So I would try to make your moves as soon as possible.”


The Washington Post Logo Newspaper

Happy holidays, you’re laid off: White-collar workers bear brunt of downturn

By Taylor Telford

Published on December 22, 2022

Read full article here.

By November’s end, more than 80,000 tech workers had been laid off, according to an estimate by Challenger, Gray and Christmas. … “We know that there’s a disconnect between employers who want employees back in the office more than employees want to be back,” said Andy Challenger, senior vice president at Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Up until recently, the balance of power had been tilted toward employees, thanks to the white-hot labor market. But the gathering economic storm clouds and layoff announcements have given bosses a bit more leverage, Challenger said. Now, some CEOs might be tempted to use it as a way to either bring employees back to the office or get rid of them. “That seems like a good way to kill two birds with one stone,” Challenger said, adding that layoffs are a “very blunt tool” in the eyes of human resource professionals, who consider it a risky strategy for reducing head count. “In some ways, you lose the people who have the best ability to find new jobs.”


Ex-Google employees bemoan the way they were notified of layoff

Read full article here.

Technology shed the most jobs of any sector last year, eliminating nearly 100,000 positions in 2022, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm. Netflix, Peloton, Twitter and other companies have also announced staff cuts or at least plans to scale back hiring.


Published on January 20, 2023

“We’re seeing the hiring mania of the pandemic being corrected for — not the popping of a bubble,” said Andy Challenger, senior vice president of the career transition firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Here’s how companies should approach mass layoffs


Notify people individually. …This ideally is done face to face, but if that’s not possible, a remote video meeting can work too.

But even keeping things small won’t prevent disgruntlement or demoralization if you don’t also stress that the layoff has nothing to do with a person’s performance. “Leaders must remember the turmoil that will result in their workers’ lives and highlight that the decision has nothing to do with the impacted employees’ talents. Exiting employees … should know they are valued as they are leaving,” Challenger said.

Layoffs are up, first-time jobless claims are down. What gives?

by Mitchell Hartman

Published on Jan 23, 2023

Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported that, in the fourth quarter of 2022, job cut announcements rose sharply to 154,329 — more than doubling from the same period a year earlier. That’s the highest total since the fourth quarter of 2020. For all of 2022, employers announced 13% more #layoffs than in 2021. At the same time, the U.S. unemployment rate fell back to 3.5% in December, a 50-year low. First-time claims for jobless benefits have fallen in recent months, sliding to 190,000 in the week ending Jan. 14 — a level rarely seen since the pandemic hit in 2020. “Filing for #unemployment is a complicated process,” said Andy Challenger, senior vice president at Challenger, Gray. … Andy Challenger points out that laid-off white-collar workers are often sent packing with perks. “Lots of job cut announcements from tech firms are also announcing really generous severance packages and benefits for people as they depart.” In many states, if you take the severance, you forfeit the unemployment. “You see a lower percentage of people at the high end of the income distribution filing for unemployment,” Challenger said, “because they either don’t have the time, the patience or the really deep need to file unemployment claims.”

*From 1989-1992, an outside newsletter tracked job cut announcements.

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