Job Cuts Plunge 42% in March; Housing Cuts Surge 346% from Q1 2006

Planned job cuts plunged to a eight-month low in March, with the housing-related industries of real estate, construction and mortgage lending announcing nearly as many job cuts in the first three months of 2007 as in all of 2006. 

Employers announced 48,997 cuts in March, 42% fewer than the 84,014 job cuts in February and the lowest level since last July (37,178). March was 25% lower than in the same month a year ago, when 64,975 job cuts were announced, according to the March job-cut report by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. 

Job cuts in housing-related industries (real estate, construction and mortgage lending) surged 346% to 21,245 from 4,764 in the first quarter a year ago. The first-quarter total for these three sectors nearly matches the 2006 total of 22,814.

First-quarter job cuts totaled 195,986, 23% lower than the 255,878 job cuts announced in the first three months of 2006. First-quarter job cuts were 2.5 percent lower than the fourth quarter of 2006. 

  • Financial institutions led all other industries in job cuts in March, with 7,070 announced cuts. Of those, 4,478 or 63 percent were among mortgage lenders. 
  • Pharmaceutical firms announced 14,018 job cuts in the first quarter, more than triple the 4,195 job cuts by these companies in the first three months of 2006. 
  • Media job cuts have increased 93 percent, going from 2,274 in the first quarter of 2006 to 4,391 in the first quarter of this year.

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