Challenger: September Layoffs Down 4.3%

October 1, 2003 ( - Employers apparently cut back a bit on their personnel cutbacks during September.

According to the monthly report from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the number of announced layoffs fell 4.3% during the month to 76,506 from August’s tally of 79,925 (See  August Announced Layoffs Show a Decrease ) – the lowest since May 2003’s 68,623. The August total represented a 6% decrease over July.

However, on a year over year basis, September was 9.2% higher than September 2002 when employers announced they were slashing 70,057 positions. Also, there were 241,548 job cuts announced in the third quarter, 10% below the same quarter last year (269,090).

The third quarter figure is the lowest quarterly number since the October to December period in 2000 when employers announced just over 220,000 job reductions. For the year, employers have announced plans to cut 872,080 jobs, 16% fewer than the 1,040,388 announced through nine months of 2002.  

For the first time this year, industrial goods firms led in monthly job cuts with 19,224, nearly three times more than the 7,172 job cuts announced by computer firms.  Meanwhile, government agencies announced just 4,882 cuts during the month, but still lead all other sectors in year-to-date job cuts, having announced 157,665 through September. The second-anked retail sector has announced 69,310 cuts year to date.

From 1995 to 2002, job cuts announced during the last four months outnumbered summer (May – August) job cuts by 36%.  Job cuts from September through December 1995 to 2002 were also 15% higher than those announced between January and April, according to the Challenger data.