–2011 Announced Layoffs 606,082 vs 529,973 In 2010

By Kevin Kastner

WASHINGTON (MNI) – There were 41,785 layoff intentions announced in
December, down slightly from 42,474 in November, but up from the recent
low of 32,004 job cuts announced in December 2010, job placement firm
Challenger, Gray and Christmas, Inc. said in a report released Thursday.

The data are not seasonally adjusted.

Layoffs in December were led by the financial sector, which
reported 7,433 job reductions in the month.

For 2011 as a whole, there were 606,082 layoffs announced, up from
529,973 in 2010, which was the lowest yearly total in 13 years.

Of the 606,082 layoffs announced in the past year, a record high
183,064 came from the government sector and 63,624 of them came from the
financial sector. Combined, these accounted for 247,228 layoffs, or
roughly 41% of the year total. Much of those layoffs came in October.

“Unfortunately, these sectors are likely to continue to struggle in
2012,” said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray
& Christmas.

“Washington is under immense pressure to cut spending and it looks
like every deal to extend tax cuts, raise the debt ceiling and pass the
budget will come with measures to cut spending, which can be expected to
result in more job cuts,” he added.

In other data released, hiring intentions fell sharply to 14,074 in
December from 63,527 in November and 159,177 in October. Those two
months were led by pre-holiday hiring.

Hiring plans for the current month were ahead of the 10,575 plans
in December 2010. Likewise, hiring plans totaled 537,572 in 2011, up
from 402,638 in 2010.

However, further hiring growth will depend on the private sector
and not the government, Challenger noted.

“In the end, there may be little government can do to jumpstart job
growth,” Challenger said. He added that it “really comes down to demand
and, right now, consumers and businesses around the world simply are not

** Market News International Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **