Fewest U.S. Job Cuts In Six Years!; Planned Cuts Under a Million in 2006: Challenger Report

Planned job cuts in U.S. declined 22% in 2006 to 839,822, about 232,000 fewer than the 1,072,054 cuts in 2005, according to the job-cut report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., the global outplacement consultancy.  It was the first time since 2000 that annual job-cut announcements came in under 1,000,000.

The 2006 job cuts represent the lowest number of job cuts since 2000, when 613,960 job cuts were announced. 

  • Each year from 2001 through 2005 recorded more than one million job cuts, with the record high of 1, 956,876 reached in 2001, the year rocked by recession and the September 11 terrorist attacks.  
  • A total of 6,771,914 were announced during the five-year period, 25% more than the number of job cuts announced during the preceding 12 years of tracking by Challenger.

The year ended on a particularly positive note with 54,643 planned job cuts announced in December, 29% fewer than November’s 76,773 cuts and 49% fewer than the 107,822 job cuts announced in December 2005.  December was the third smallest job-cut month of the year behind May (53,716) and July (37,178). 

Job cuts by Industry:

  • The struggling American automotive industry led all others in terms of job cuts, as it  announced a record 158,766 job cuts in 2006, up 50% from 105,886 in 2005.  
  • The second-ranked industrial goods sector saw job cuts increase slightly to 78,381 in 2006 from 77,981 in 2005.  
  • The other three industries rounding out the top five (government/non-profit, computer and retail) each experienced fewer job cuts than a year ago.
  • Other key industries that experienced significant declines in 2006 include telecommunications (down 34%); transportation (down 75%); consumer products (down 31%); and aerospace/defense (down 47%).
  • Key industries where job cuts rose: media sector (88%); Chemical industry (53%); housing market (50%); and the biggest year-over-year increase belongs to e-commerce, which saw job cuts skyrocket 781% from 748 in 2005 to 6,591 in 2006.

<“Job cuts still have not fallen to levels that were common before the 2001 recession, when we typically saw annual job-cut totals in the 450,000 to 650,000 range,” said Challenger

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