2019 Job Losses at 4-Year High as Tech, Mining Fire More Workers 

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The outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas on Thursday released its job-cuts report for November, showing that a total of 44,569 planned U.S. job cuts were announced in the month. That was a decrease of 11.3% compared with announced October cuts. Compared with cuts announced in November 2018, this year’s total is 16% lower, and it continues a three-month streak in which totals were lower than in the year-ago month. Monthly totals were higher in the other eight months of this year.

November’s total reduced the year-over-year percentage increase in job cuts from 16.6% in October to 13.1%. Employers announced 494,775 job cuts in the first 11 months of 2018, compared with 559,713 so far in 2019. The year-to-date cuts already have surpassed those announced in all of 2018 and are the highest since 543,935 job losses were announced in 2015.

The tech industry announced 7,292 job cuts in November, more than double the number of cuts in November 2018 but just under half as many as the 15,898 announced in October of this year.

For the year to date, the hardest hit sector on a percentage basis is mining, where job cuts of 6,521 are more than 1,100% higher than in 2018. The tech sector has lost about 380% more jobs this year than last (63,447 to 13,222), and the government sector has announced cuts totaling 13,364, up about 270% year over year.

Andrew Challenger, vice-president of the outplacement firm, said, “The Tech sector is undergoing major changes due to an evolving landscape. New technologies are changing the way people work and often make workplaces more efficient. In addition to potential staffing changes, there may be differences within the leadership and board ranks regarding exactly which path a company will take. In fact, we have tracked the highest number of chief executive officer changes in the Tech sector on record this year.”

Through October, 181 tech sector CEOs have left their jobs, nearly 50% more than left their jobs in the first 10 months of 2018 and nearly 20% more than left the jobs in all of 2018. This year’s total of departing tech CEOs already tops the record total of 163 executives who left the corner office in 2006.

Companies have announced plans to hire 564,781 seasonal workers, not including Amazon, which last year hired 100,000 seasonal workers. Including those temporary positions, in the first 10 months of the year, employers have announced plans to hire 1.18 million new workers

Job losses for the year to date in the automotive sector total 47,518, a year-over-year increase of 67%. In the industrial goods sector, which includes manufacturing workers, job losses total 68,141 so far this year, up 173% compared with losses in the first 11 months of 2018.

For the year to date, California (97,010), New York (58,130) and Massachusetts (36,336) have lost the most jobs. Among U.S. cities, these have lost the most jobs.

The top three reasons given for job cuts this year are restructuring (132,401 jobs cut), the business is closing (123,036) and bankruptcy (56,613). Companies did not provide a reason for more than 69,000 lost jobs.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor is expected to report that U.S. employers added 180,000 jobs in November, an increase of 40% compared with 128,000 jobs added in October. ADP reported Wednesday that the U.S. economy added 67,000 jobs in November, about 9% below a revised total of 140,000 reported new jobs in October. According to ADP, the mining, construction and manufacturing sectors each lost 6,000 jobs in November, while the education and health care sectors added 39,000.

Month-by-Month Totals 2019 2018
January 52,988 44,625
February 76,835 35,369
March 60,587 60,357
April 40,023 36,081
May 58,577 31,517
June 41,977 37,202
July 38,845 27,122
August 53,480 38,472
September 41,557 55,285
October 50,275 75,644
November 44,569 53,073
December 43,884
TOTAL 559,713 538,659