Although the U.S. labor market has been on the mend for some time now, most of the new jobs have been relatively low paying service jobs. These are the kind of low-paying jobs that turn over relatively rapidly, and these kind of positions also see a good bit of seasonal variation. That’s why it’s not too surprising that a new report published Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas highlights that U.S.-based employers announced plans to lay off 58,877 employees in September, a marked 43% increase from August.
The total number of jobs cut made in September was third worst month of the year for layoffs, with only July (105,696) and April (61,582) reporting higher totals. Of note the almost 59,000 job cuts was a worrisome 93% higher than the 30,477 planned layoffs in September a year ago.
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More on third quarter and 2015 to date job cuts
There were a total 205,759 layoffs announced in the third quarter, representing the most job cuts in a quarter since the third quarter of 2009 (240,233).
The total number of planned layoffs in the third quarter was 43% higher than the second quarter’s 181,213 job cuts. It was also 75% higher than the third quarter of 2014 which saw 117,374 planned job cuts.
U.S. employers have already announced 493,431 planned layoffs for the year, 36% more than the 363,408 cuts seen from January through September of 2014. The running year-to-date total is about 2% higher than 2014’s year-end total of 483,171.
Of note, year-to-date job cuts have already surpassed last year’s total and are on track to end the year as the highest annual total in six years.
Even though layoffs through the first half of the year were centered in the energy industry, the Challenger, Gray & Christmas report notes that downsizing activity is also increasing in the public sector and the IT sector.Information technology/computer industry saw the biggest job cuts in September, as beleaguered Hewlett-Packard announced new plans for a RIF of as many as 30,000. Overall, IT suffered 32,500 job cuts during the month. Of note, that represents the highest one-month total since IBM announced 60,000 job cuts all the way back in 1993.
Computer-related companies have committed to 58,874 job cuts so far this year, already almost matching the 59,528 job cuts seen in the industry throughout 2014.
Energy sector suffered most layoffs in 2015
Not surprisingly, the energy sector has seen the most job cuts this year (72,708 job cuts). The good news is that the large majority of the layoffs in the energy took place in the first six months of the year, with a mere 12,208 job cuts reported in the third quarter.
“While oil cuts have slowed, the issues that helped drive oil prices down in the first place are still impacting the economy. We continued to see the ripple effect of low demand last month when heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar announced plans to reduce its workforce over the next year- and-a-half,” noted John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.