April Sees Planned Job Cuts Spike

May 4, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Amid a string of strong employment reports that has prompted many job market analysts to hail a budding economic recovery, a new report Tuesday brought word of a sudden 6.1% spike in planned job cuts during April.

Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said April planned job cuts were up to 72,184, off the 10-month low of 68,034 in March.

Over the long term, however, signs were still positive, according to Challenger. Through April, employers have announced 335,024 job cuts, 33% lower than the same period a year earlier (502,194). The 12-month moving average, which irons out short-term volatility, fell 6.5% to 89,105 in April from 95,289 in March.

Despite the general downsizing decline, employers have still announced more than one million (1,069,256) job cuts over the last 12 months.  Since January, 2001, when the economic slump began, 4,995,149 job cuts have been announced, Challenger said.

Government and non-profit employers led all other industries in April with 15,926 job cuts, a figure that placed this sector among the top five job cutters of 2004 for the first time this year. Government and non profit sector job cuts now total 34,889 through April, ranking fourth behind industrial goods, 37,441; consumer products, 38,657; and financial, 40,534.

Recent employment measures have pointed to stirring signs of life in the domestic job market. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) reported a stunning 308,000 non-farm payroll gain in March – the largest jump in four years and just a tick under three times the 103,000-job hike Wall Street economists had predicted (See Job Market Roars to LIfe in March ).