Layoff Announcements Jumped in August as Companies Reduced Expenses

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Key Takeaways

  • Layoff announcements soared in August as companies moved to reduce expenses, according to a study by Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
  • Businesses said they would lay off more than 75,000 employees in August, greater than two and a half times the number of workers cut in the same month a year ago.
  • Warehousing had the most layoff announcements in August, mainly because of the bankruptcy of Yellow Corp.

Layoff announcements soared in August as businesses stepped up their cost-cutting measures, according to research by outplacement and executive coaching consultant Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The study released Thursday said that U.S.-based employers announced they would be eliminating 75,151 jobs in August, a 217% jump from July and 267% more than in August 2022.

Challenger noted that so far this year, firms planned to reduce their workforces by 557,057, a rise of 210% from the same period in 2022 and the most cuts since that time span during the first pandemic year of 2020.

Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said that the increase in cuts wasn’t surprising because of “technological disruption and companies taking a cost-savings approach on the economy.” He said the labor market “is resetting after the pandemic and post-pandemic hiring frenzy.” He added that job openings are declining, and workers are more reluctant to quit now.

Of the 30 sectors it analyzes, the consulting firm said that only five—automotive, government, entertainment/leisure, industrial goods, and utilities—haven't had layoffs this year. 

In August, warehousing was the industry with the most job cuts: 32,123, mainly because of the bankruptcy of Yellow Corp. It was followed by healthcare/products (-7,688), retail (-6,262), and telecommunications (-5,273).

Technology, which for months had been the sector that led in layoff announcements, had 3,198 job reductions in August, the fewest since June 2022.

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  1. Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "Job-Cut Announcements Jump in August; YTD up 210%."

  2. Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "Challenger Report August 2023," Page 5.