August Announced Layoffs Show a Decrease

September 2, 2003 ( - In another sign that the domestic labor market may finally be firming up, the number of announced job cuts fell 6% in August over the month before.

According to the regular report by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., employers said they planned to put 79,925 people on the street – down from the 85,117 announced the month before. Challenger said August was the fourth consecutive month with fewer than 100,000 announced job cuts, a trend that has not occurred since 2000.

The August 2003 job cuts were 32% lower than the 118,067 staff reductions announced the same month a year ago. Things also looked rosy when measured on a year-to-date basis. Challenger said there were 795,574 job cuts through the first eight months of the year – down 138,986 or 15% from the 934,560 job cuts announced through August 2002.

In a blast from the past, telecommunications was the top job-cutting sector for the first time since December 2002, announcing 18,739 planned cuts in August 2003.  It was the highest number of telecom cuts since 33,801 job cuts were announced in November 2002.