Job Losses in 2019 Highest in 4 Years as Manufacturing and Auto Industries Falter 

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The outplacement firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas on Thursday released its job-cuts report for September, showing that a total of 41,557 planned U.S. job cuts were announced last month, a decrease of 22.3% compared with announced August cuts. Compared with cuts announced in September 2018, this year’s total is 24.8% lower and is the second-lowest total recorded this year, behind only April’s announced 40,023 cuts.

Job losses in the manufacturing and automotive sectors are nearly double the number of losses for the first nine months of 2018. For the year to date, manufacturers have announced 60,943 job cuts, up 194% compared to the 20,699 announced in 2018. Job losses at automotive firms have also jumped by 194%, from 13,963 last year to 41,060.

September’s low total did not dent the total number of announced for the year to date. For the first nine months of 2019, employers have shaved 464,869 jobs, 27.9% more than were cut in the same period last year, when 366,058 jobs were lost. The nine-month total is the highest since 2015, when 493,431 job cuts were announced.

For the year to date, the retail sector leads all industries with total announced job cuts of 65,358. The good news is that the total is nearly 20,000 fewer than were announced in the first nine months of 2018.

Andrew Challenger, vice president of the outplacement firm, said, “Employers held off on making any large-scale employment decisions in September. Most likely, companies will monitor consumer behavior, government regulation or deregulation, and market conditions during the final quarter of the year in order to make staffing decisions for next year.”

Hiring for seasonal jobs appears to be on track for a lower year-over-year total than the 714,000 jobs added last year. To date, companies have announced just under 433,000 seasonal jobs. Amazon, which hired 100,000 seasonal workers last year, has not announced any expected hiring for this year, and neither has Macy’s, which hired 80,000 workers for the 2018 holiday shopping season. J.C. Penney hired 39,000 seasonal workers last year and has yet to announce any hiring for this year.

Job losses in the energy industry nearly doubled month over month from 1,531 in August to 2,972 in September. For the first nine months of the year, the sector has lost 22,767 jobs, an increase of nearly 250% year over year.

Challenger has combined its computer, electronics and telecommunications categories into a new technology category. For the year to date, the technology industry has lost 40,257 jobs, an increase of nearly 73% compared with 2018.

For the year to date, California (71,604), New York (50,483) and Massachusetts (34,777) have lost the most jobs. A recent 24/7 Wall St. analysis shows that the 25 U.S. cities losing the most jobs include Anchorage, Alaska, and Youngstown, Ohio.

Challenger’s top three reasons for job cuts this year are the business is closing (101,147 jobs lost), restructuring (101,138 jobs cut) and bankruptcy (51,002). Companies did not provide a reason for nearly 58,000 lost jobs.

On Friday the U.S. Department of Labor is expected to report that U.S. employers added 145,000 jobs in September, an increase of 11.5% month over month. ADP reported Wednesday that the U.S. economy added 135,000 jobs in September, well below a revised total of 157,000 reported new jobs in August.


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