US: Challenger Job-Cut Report

January 5, 2017 06:30 CST

Actual Previous
Announced Layoffs - Level 33,627 26,936

Challenger's layoff count, at 33,627 in December, remains very low and consistent with strong demand for labor. The count, however, is up slightly from unusually low readings of 26,936 in November and 23,622 last December. The average for the fourth quarter, at 30,434, is the lowest of the last two cycles, since second-quarter 2000. December layoff announcements were highest in the auto sector (4,705) followed by government (3,498), and transportation (3,439).

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.