US: Challenger Job-Cut Report

Thu Feb 05 06:30:00 CST 2015

Actual Previous
Announced Layoffs - Level 53,041 32,640

In perhaps the first warning of serious trouble from the oil patch, Challenger's layoff count starts off the year with an elevated reading, at 53,041 for the highest reading since February 2013 and the highest January reading since 2012. Readings in December and November were much lower, at 32,640 and 35,940.

The energy sector represented roughly 40 percent of January's cuts, at 20,193. Cuts in the energy sector were minimal in the fourth-quarter, averaging only 1,330 per month. The sector seeing the second largest number of cuts in January is retail, at 6,699 in downsizing following the holidays.

This monthly report counts and categorizes announcements of corporate layoffs based on mass layoff data from state departments of labor. The job-cut report must be analyzed with caution. It doesn't distinguish between layoffs scheduled for the short-term or the long term, or whether job cuts are handled through attrition or actual layoffs. Also, the job-cut report does not include jobs eliminated in small batches over a longer time period. Unlike most economic data, this series is not adjusted for seasonal variation.

The job-cut report is basically a rehash of the weekly jobless claims report but provides additional insight into where layoffs are occurring. There is industry and geographic (states) detail that is not available with weekly jobless claims.