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Job cuts continue at accelerated pace

New York — As the U.S. economy continues to struggle, the pace of job cuts has accelerated throughout the first eight months of the year, topping more than 1.1 million by the end of August, according to outplacement consultant Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which tracks layoffs on a daily basis.

The 1.1 million job cuts through the end of August are roughly equal to the entire population of Austin, TX.

In the past three months alone, more than 470,000 job cuts were announced by large American companies as the blazing pace of layoffs continues to unsettle the U.S. economy.

By the end of August, a total of 1,123,356 job cuts had been announced, more than 83 percent above the total for all of last year, 613,960.

The August number of 65,956 was a big improvement over July, falling 68 percent from that month's total of 205,975. But even so, the August number was 15 percent higher than the number of layoffs recorded during August 2000, up from 57,221.

"Job seekers are likely to find they are competing not only against more candidates, but against the likelihood of a lot more outsourcing of jobs," said John Challenger, ceo. "There is no evidence reported by any industry that anything that could be called a significant sustainable rebound is on the horizon for this year or even into early next year."

In an indication that the job situation could become progressively worse, Challenger's observations were made before terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon rocked key segments of the U.S. economy, triggering new waves of layoffs, most notably among the airlines and the airplane industries.

"Consumers are said to have more income, including the Bush tax cut, but are spending less," Challenger observed. "That may be the strongest indication that recovery from the current situation may be a longer way off than Wall Street analysts expect."

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