planned layoffs

Planned Layoffs Fall With Renewed Hopes For Recovery In Unemployment Sector

Businesses announced 42,474 planned job cuts this month, down 0.7 percent from 42,759 in October, according to the report from consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

November’s job cuts were down 12.8% from the same time a year ago when 48,711 layoffs were announced. With just one month left in the year, employers have announced 564,297 cuts for 2011, exceeding 2010′s total of 529,973.

Cuts in the government sector accounted for 44% of November’s layoffs, the eighth time this year the sector has led all others in monthly job cuts.

“Over the past six months, we definitely have seen a shift away from the heavy government job cuts at the state and local level toward increased job cuts at the federal level,” John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a statement.

“Even if Congress finds a way to delay the automatic military spending cuts triggered by the failure of the deficit reduction super committee, there is still immense pressure to cut costs. The draw-downs in Afghanistan and Iraq are likely to result in further personnel reductions,” said Challenger.

The other sector still at risk for heavy downsizing activity is the financial services industry. Financial firms announced just 1,681 job cuts in November, bringing the year-to-date total for the sector to 56,191. That is up 162 percent from 21,430 financial cuts by this point a year ago. “Job cuts in the financial sector are still well below the recession high of 260,110, which was the year-end total in 2008. However, even as other sectors begin to enjoy the fruits of the recovery, these firms remain on very thin ice. The ongoing threat from the European financial looms large over Wall Street, while retail banks continue to struggle in the wake of the housing market collapse,” said Challenger.

According to the National Retail Federation, brick-and-mortar retail stores saw a 7% increase in Black Friday sales, which hit a record high$11.4 billion. Meanwhile, IBM reported that the average amount of money spent per consumer on Cyber Monday increased a whopping 33%.

In October, Challenger tracked hiring plans totaling 159,177, 84% of which (or 133,940) were announced by retailers. In November, employers announced plans to add 63,527. Most of these (55,000) were the result of seasonal workers being hired by shipping giant UPS.

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