Special Report

This Is the Industry Laying Off the Most Americans

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Layoffs have been rare recently. The U.S. unemployment rate in April was close to the lowest level on record. The Employment Situation Report for April from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the country added 428,000 nonfarm payroll jobs, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.6%. This is almost back to the pre-pandemic jobless rate of 3.5% in February of 2020. The BLS also recently reported that in March job openings hit an extremely high 11.5 million. (These are states with the most job openings.)

Despite this strong labor market, some industries have laid off people, and the industry laying off the most Americans is health care/products. (Some health care professions are among the best paying jobs in America.)

Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm, tracks layoffs by month across 19 industries. In April, the most recent month reported, announced job cuts by U.S.-based employers rose 14% to 24,286. For the first four months of the year, announced layoffs dropped 52% from the same period in 2021 to 79,982. 

Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, remarked, “Job cut plans appear to be on the rise, particularly as companies assess market conditions, inflationary risks, and capital spending. Despite this, job openings are still at record highs. Workers who are being cut will have lots of opportunities and will likely land quickly.” 

To find the industry laying off the most Americans, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Challenger, Gray & Christmas Job Cuts report and ranked industries by the number of announced job cuts so far this year – January through April 2022. 

Job cuts varied widely among the 19 industries the firm tracks and ranged from a few hundred in the first four months to over 10,000. The industry with the highest number of job cuts over the first four months was health care/products, at 15,928, which was up from 8,881 in the same period of 2021. The industry includes hospitals, health care products manufacturers, and other care-related companies.

Click here to see the industry laying off the most Americans

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29. Chemical
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 0
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 113

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28. Mining
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 161
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 175

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27. Telecommunications
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 190
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 24,639

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26. Construction
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 333
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 161

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25. Electronics
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 355
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 1,398

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24. FinTech
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 440
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 428

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23. Technology
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 459
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 3,045

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22. Apparel
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 461
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 555

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21. Energy
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 501
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 7,961

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20. Pharmaceutical
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 797
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 188

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19. Utility
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 857
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 301

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18. Insurance
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 870
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 5,031

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17. Aerospace/Defense
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 914
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 32,006

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16. Media
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 915
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 2,824

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15. Transportation
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 1,232
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 4,126

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14. Non-profit
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 1,238
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 359

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13. Real Estate
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 1,475
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 625

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12. Industrial Goods
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 2,130
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 2,083

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11. Automotive
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 2,462
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 2,940

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10. Education
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 2,855
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 5,070

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9. Food
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 3,764
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 6,518

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8. Retail
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 3,830
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 12,541

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7. Consumer Products
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 3,893
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 1,962

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6. Government
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 4,809
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 3,698

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5. Warehousing
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 5,353
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 9,272

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4. Entertainment/Leisure
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 6,667
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 11,149

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3. Services
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 8,418
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 15,193

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2. Financial
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 8,675
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 4,357

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1. Health Care/Products
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2022: 15,928
> Total layoffs, Jan.-Apr. 2021: 8,881

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