Announced Job Cuts Rise in August, Says Challenger Gray

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Employers based in the United States announced plans to cut payrolls by 33,825 in August, an increase from 32,188, or 5%, from the same period a year ago, according to a report released by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas. This month’s total is the first increase in job cuts in the past five months.

The August job-cut number is an increase of 19.4% from the 28,307 recorded cuts announced in July, according to Challenger Gray.

So far this year, employers announced 289,132 planned job cuts, down 26.1% from the 391,288 reductions announced through the first eight months of 2016.

“Although job cuts have risen this month, they continue to be significantly lower compared to the same time last year,” said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger Gray, in a statement.

The construction industry announced the highest number of job cuts in August, with 4,332. Retail, which leads all sectors this year with 67,596 announced cuts, had 3,607 in August. Retail job reductions are 51.4% higher this year than through the same point in 2016, when 44,643 retail cuts were announced.

Among other areas, companies in the financial sector slashed 3,414 jobs in August, for an eight-month total of 10,799. The services industry announced 3,039 cuts in August, bringing that sector’s total to 21,061.

CEO John Challenger sees some optimism in the retail sector. “Retail is pivoting, and with the holiday rush just around the corner, a big jump in seasonal jobs is imminent,” he said. “An increasing number of these jobs will involve new technologies and be more customer-centric, as brick-and-mortar retailers seek to create experiences that consumers cannot find online.”