January Announced Layoffs Skyrocket

February 4, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - With the threat of war in Iraq hanging over them, US employers were reluctant to hire and ready to shed 42% more workers in January than in December.

Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported that companies intended to slash 132,222 jobs from their payrolls last month, up from the 92,917 planned layoffs announced in December (See   December Job Cuts Down, ’03 Outlook Dreary  ).

In the last six months, companies have announced plans to cut 746,781 workers from their payrolls. That figure is larger than the annual total for 12 of the last 14 years.    One promising figure in the January report is the significant decline in telecommunications job cuts, which fell to 7,265, the second lowest figure in over 25 months, behind October 2001 (6,956).

January was 46% lower than the 248,475 job cuts announced in January 2002, when the economy was still reeling from the September 11 terrorist attacks, Challenger said.