November Job Cuts Pushed Higher by GM Firings

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The outplacement firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas on Thursday released its job-cuts report for November, showing that a total of 53,073 planned U.S. job cuts were announced last month, an increase of 28% compared with November 2017. The announced cuts were 29.8% below October’s total of more than 75,000, the highest of the year to date and the most since July 2015.

General Motors’ announcement that it plans cuts of up to 14,000 employees was last month’s big story, along with an announcement from Bayer that the Germany-based firm would cut up to 12,000 workers following the completion of its acquisition of Monsanto. Challenger will wait until Bayer specifies how many of those jobs will be lost in the United States before adding the cuts to the total.

All told, the health care industry reported plans in November to eliminate 4,300 jobs, the second highest total for the month. The industry with the third-highest number of announcements last month was retail, reporting that 3,769 jobs will be lost. For the first 10 months of 2018, the retail industry has reported plans to cut 96,504 jobs, the most of any industry and well ahead of the second-place telecom industry, which has announced 59,518 cuts.

For the first 10 months of the year, employers have slashed 494,775 jobs, compared to a total of 386,347 in the first 10 months of last year, a year-over-year increase of 28%.

Andrew Challenger, vice president of the outplacement firm, said:

Announcements like GM’s will not be the last, as companies adapt to shifting consumer behavior. We’ve already seen major plans in the U.S. from Verizon, Wells Fargo, and Toys”R”Us for exactly those reasons.

Monthly job cut announcements averaged under 35,000 in all of 2017 and just under 44,000 in 2016. In 2018, cuts are averaging nearly 45,000 per month, with the last four months averaging over 55,000. This upward trend is indicative of a potential economic shift and could spell a downturn.

The industry with the third-highest number of job losses in so far in 2018 was financial services. Firms have said they will cut 41,351 jobs this year. For the year to date, financial services job losses total 41,036, more than 167% higher than in the same period a year ago.

New hiring announcements totaled 15,422 in November, and for the year to date, Challenger has tracked just over 1 million new job announcements, including 714,000 seasonal jobs. In all of 2017, employers added 1.1 million jobs.

For the year to date, California (91,622), New York (74,512) and New Jersey (42,138) have lost the most jobs.

The top three reasons given for the 2018 job cuts are restructuring (177,441 jobs cut), the business is closing (136,605 jobs lost), or voluntary severance (46,100). Corporate cost-cutting initiatives have cost 44,042 jobs so far this year.

On Friday the U.S. Department of Labor is expected to report that U.S. employers added 190,000 jobs in November, well below the October total of 250,000 new jobs. ADP’s employment report, which was delayed one day, will be announced later this morning and is expected to show 175,000 jobs added in November, down from 227,000 in October.