U.S.-based employers will layoff the lowest number of employees since November 2016, the Challenger Job Cut Report released Thursday finds. The pace of downsizing fell 27.1% to 27,122 from the 37,202 cuts announced in June.
The pace is of layoffs is down 4.2% from the same time last year, when 28,307 cuts were announced. The total of cuts was previously the lowest of the year last month, falling below the previous low of 31,517 recorded in May.
“The economy is at near-full employment. Nearly 90 percent of companies recently polled by Challenger are either actively hiring or in retention mode. Companies are not letting go of their workforces right now,” said John Challenger, Chief Executive Officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
To date, employers have announced 272,301 cuts for the year, which is still 6.7% higher than the 255,307 announced through this point last year.
Retailers again lead in job cuts, with 75,763 announced to date this year, an 18.4% gain over the 63,989 Retail jobs cut through this point last year. The seven-month total for Retail job cuts is 321 cuts away from the full-year total in 2017.
“Retail cuts have been inching up the last four years, as online shopping causes disruptions to business as usual. We’re starting to see layoffs in this sector that rival recession years,” said Challenger.
Health Care companies trail Retailers in cuts with 28,484, a gain of 32% from the 21,554 cuts announced in this sector in the first 7 months of last year.
“Health Care providers are undergoing cost-cutting measures and targeting labor costs, all while dealing with skills shortages. Hospitals especially face challenges in balancing cost-saving measures with quality-of-care issues,” said Challenger.
The Services sector cut 24,168 jobs this year to date, while Consumer Products manufacturers cut 22,210 through July. That’s still a whopping 238.7% more than the 6,558 cuts announced through July 2017.
According to Challenger, the Trump Administration’s steel tariffs have cost a total of 70 jobs during the last 2 months. However, automotive manufacturers, who are particularly vulnerable to trade war fears, round out the top 5 job-cutting industries this year with 11,696.
That’s a 13.5% decline from the 13,521 announced through July 2017.
“We simply do not yet know what impact the tariffs on steel, as well as other proposed tariffs, may have on jobs,” Challenger added. “We’re seeing a trickle of job cuts related to these tariffs, but it is not yet torrential.”