Layoffs Decline Slightly in U.S., Retailers Still Lead in Cuts

By Roy Maurer Jun 2, 2017

Announced layoffs from U.S. employers ticked down slightly in May from the previous month, as planned job cuts totaled 33,092, according to the latest report from global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Retailers are still shedding the most jobs—5,777 in May—and lead all other sectors for the year with 55,910.

Job cuts for the month were 9 percent lower than the 36,602 job cuts announced in April, and 9 percent higher than the same month last year, when employers shed 30,157 jobs.

Employers have announced a total of 195,895 job cuts so far this year, down 29 percent from the 275,218 job cuts that occurred last year through May 2016.

[SHRM members-only how-to guide: How to Conduct a Layoff or Reduction in Force]

John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas said he's starting to see the same changing consumer forces which impacted the shift away from brick and mortar shopping establishments make an effect on grocery stores.

"Grocery stores are no longer immune from online shopping," he said. "Meal delivery services and Amazon are competing with traditional grocers, and Amazon announced it is opening its first ever brick-and mortar store in Seattle. Amazon Go, which mixes online technology and the in-store experience, is something to keep an eye on since it may potentially change the grocery store shopping experience considerably."

In addition to retail, the health care (14,323), services (12,345) telecom (10,815) and industrial goods (9,343) sectors rounded out the top five industries experiencing job cuts this year.

California (24,351) has seen the most job cuts so far this year, followed by Texas (20,014), Ohio (18,983), Indiana (16,666) and New York (11,069).

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