25 Biggest Layoffs in the Last Year

January 10, 2018 by John Harrington

Source: Thinkstock
The U.S. labor market has been in a sustained recovery. The nation has added jobs for 87 straight months — the longest streak on record, according to the Labor Department, and the unemployment rate has declined to 4.1%, the lowest rate since 2000.

For most American workers, these are good times. Jobless claims are at their lowest level since 1973. Job openings reached a record 6 million at one point in 2017. And 18 states are boosting the minimum wage in 2018. Yet even in flush economic times, there are some casualties in the labor force, and 2017 was no exception.

24/7 Wall St., working with global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., compiled a list of employers that announced the largest job cuts in 2017.

Click here to see the employers with the biggest layoffs in last year.

The job-chopping axe swung more often in retail than in any other industry last year. Companies in the sector that is under siege by the e-commerce revolution had announced 76,084 job cuts in 2017, a 28.2% increase from a year earlier, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Of the 25 companies announcing job reductions, nine were retailers, and half of the top 10 largest job cuts were in the retail sector. The layoffs resulted from businesses either closing or taking cost-cutting measures.

Regardless of the industry, the two main reasons businesses laid off large numbers of employees were companies shutting down or making cost cuts.

Among the companies paring workforces last year were some of the great names in American business — Westinghouse, General Electric, Macy’s, and Hershey.

The public sector also implemented cost cuts that resulted in layoffs in education and government. Private defense contractors such as Boeing trimmed jobs in 2017.

24/7 Wall St. used data provided by Challenger, Gray & Christmas to compile a list of the 25 biggest layoff announcements in 2017. Challenger, Gray & Christmas’ sources for layoff announcements included filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, WARN notices (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act), company press releases, and media reports.

These are the 25 employers who trimmed payrolls the most in 2017.

Source: josefkubes / iStock

1. General Electric Company
> Number of announced layoffs: 12,000
> Date: December 8
> Industry: Industrial
> Reason: Restructuring

Source: Joe Tabacca / Shutterstock.com

2. Macy’s Incorporated
> Number of announced layoffs: 10,000
> Date: January 4
> Industry: Retail
> Reason: Demand downturn

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Source: Cognizant Technology Solution / Wikimedia Commons

3. Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation
> Number of announced layoffs: 6,000
> Date: March 21
> Industry: Services
> Reason: Cost-cutting

Source: Wikimedia Commons

4. J.C. Penney Company
> Number of announced layoffs: 5,550
> Date: February 5
> Industry: Retail
> Reason: Cost-cutting

Source: William M / Wikimedia Commons

5. HHGregg Incorporated
> Number of announced layoffs: 5,000
> Date: April 4
> Industry: Retail
> Reason: Closing

Source: Wikimedia Commons

6. State Farm
> Number of announced layoffs: 4,200
> Date: May 6
> Industry: Insurance
> Reason: Closing

Source: World Economic Forum / Flickr

7. Fluor Corporation
> Number of announced layoffs: 4,003
> Date: August 1
> Industry: Construction
> Reason: Closing

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Source: Phillip Pessar / Flickr

8. The Limited
> Number of announced layoffs: 4,000
> Date: January 9
> Industry: Retail
> Reason: Closing

Source: Paul Sableman / Flickr

9. Eli Lilly and Company
> Number of announced layoffs: 3,500
> Date: September 7
> Industry: Pharmaceutical
> Reason: Restructuring

Source: Windyshadow32 / Wikimedia Commons

10. Wet Seal Inc.
> Number of announced layoffs: 3,000
> Date: January 27
> Industry: Retail
> Reason: Closing

Source: Gerd Fahrenhorst / Wikimedia Commons

11. Weatherford International Plc
> Number of announced layoffs: 3,000
> Date: February 2
> Industry: Energy
> Reason: Restructuring

Source: Wikimedia Commons

12. Fidelity Investments
> Number of announced layoffs: 3,000
> Date: February 28
> Industry: Financial
> Reason: Cost-cutting

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Source: Dollar Express

13. Dollar Express
> Number of announced layoffs: 2,800
> Date: April 3
> Industry: Retail
> Reason: Acquisition/merger

Source: Thinkstock

14. General Motors Company
> Number of announced layoffs: 2,700
> Date: April 23
> Industry: Automotive
> Reason: Cost-cutting

Source: mrkathika / Flickr

15. The Hershey Company
> Number of announced layoffs: 2,697
> Date: February 28
> Industry: Food
> Reason: Cost-cutting

Source: dcschools.com

16. Dallas County Schools
> Number of announced layoffs: 2,456
> Date: December 6
> Industry: Education
> Reason: Cost-cutting

Source: jeepersmedia / Flickr

17. Lowe’s Companies
> Number of announced layoffs: 2,400
> Date: January 16
> Industry: Retail
> Reason: Restructuring

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Source: Mike Peel / Wikimedia Commons

18. U.S. State Department
> Number of announced layoffs: 2,300
> Date: April 30
> Industry: Government
> Reason: Cost-cutting

Source: jat306 / Thinkstock

19. PHH Corporation
> Number of announced layoffs: 2,250
> Date: August 11
> Industry: Financial
> Reason: Cost-cutting

Source: shani heckman / Flickr

20. Yahoo/AOL
> Number of announced layoffs: 2,100
> Date: June 15
> Industry: Technology
> Reason: Acquisition/merger

Source: The Boeing Co.

21. Boeing Company
> Number of announced layoffs: 1,800
> Date: March 3
> Industry: Aerospace/defense
> Reason: Buyout

Source: Armin Kübelbeck, CC-BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons

22. Merck & Company
> Number of announced layoffs: 1,800
> Date: October 21
> Industry: Pharmaceutical
> Reason: Cost-cutting

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

23. Marsh Supermarkets
> Number of announced layoffs: 1,535
> Date: May 1
> Industry: Retail
> Reason: Bankruptcy

Source: Wikimedia Commons

24. Westinghouse Electric Company
> Number of announced layoffs: 1,500
> Date: September 20
> Industry: Construction
> Reason: Restructuring

Source: pexels.com

25. Nike Inc.
> Number of announced layoffs: 1,400
> Date: June 15
> Industry: Retail
> Reason: Cost-cutting