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Posted October 04, 2012 by

Layoffs Down 19% From 2011 and Lowest Since 1997

Downsizing activity remained relatively flat in September as US-based employers announced plans to cut 33,816 jobs from their payrolls during the month.  That was up 4.9 percent from a 20-month low of 32,239 job cuts in August, according to the latest report released Thursday by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Last month’s total was 71 percent lower than a year ago, when planned job cuts unexpectedly surged to a 29-month high of 115,730.   It was, in fact, the lowest September total since 1997 when only 20,698 were announced.

John Challenger of Challenger, Gray & ChristmasSeptember brings to an end one of the slowest job-cut quarters in over a decade.  Employers announced 102,910 job cuts in the third quarter, down 27 percent from the previous quarter (139,997), and 56 percent lower than the third quarter of 2011 (233,258).  It was the lowest quarterly total since the second quarter of 2000, when planned layoffs numbered 81,568.

Employers have now announced 386,001 planned job cuts in 2012, which is 19 percent fewer than the 479,064 job cuts recorded by this point last year.  One has to go back to 1997 to find fewer job cuts announced through the first nine months of the year.  That year, employers announced 281,496 job cuts through September.

Contributing to the decline in monthly job cut figures is the significant drop-off in the number of layoffs announced by the government sector.  These employers announced just 14,186 job cuts through September, compared to 119,027 by this point in 2011.  (more…)