US job cuts increased 20% in May to 80,089 from 66,995 in April, up 287% year-over-year: Challenger, Gray & Christmas

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June 2, 2023 (press release) –

U.S.-based employers announced 80,089 cuts in May, a 20% increase from the 66,995 cuts announced one month prior. It is 287% higher than the 20,712 cuts announced in the same month in 2022, according to a report released Thursday from global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

So far this year, companies have announced plans to cut 417,500 jobs, a 315% increase from the 100,694 cuts announced in the same period last year. It is the highest January-May total since 2020, when 1,414,828 cuts were recorded. With the exception of 2020, it is the highest total in the first five months of the year since 2009, when 822,282 cuts were tracked through May.

“Consumer confidence is down to a six-month low and job openings are flattening. Companies appear to be putting the brakes on hiring in anticipation of a slowdown,” said Andrew Challenger, labor expert and Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Which Industries Are Cutting?
With the exception of Education, Government, Industrial Manufacturing, and Utilities, every industry has seen an increase in layoffs this year. The Technology sector announced the most cuts in May with 22,887, for a total of 136,831 this year, up 2,939% from the 4,503 cuts announced in the same period last year. The Tech sector has now announced the most cuts for the sector since 2001, when 168,395 cuts were announced for the entire year.

Retailers announced the second-most cuts in May with 9,053. Retail has announced 45,168 cuts so far this year, up 942% from the 4,335 announced through May 2022. The Automotive sector announced 8,308 job cuts last month for a total of 18,017 this year, a 235% increase from the 5,380 cuts announced in the same period last year. Financial firms have announced 36,937 cuts through May, up 320% from the 8,788 cuts through the same period in 2022. Health Care/Products, which includes health products manufacturers and hospitals, announced 33,085 cuts, up 81% from the 18,301 announced in the sector in the first five months of last year.

Media & News Cuts
The Media industry has announced 17,436 cuts so far in 2023, the highest year-to-date (YTD) on record. The second-highest YTD for the sector occurred in 2020, when 16,750 cuts were announced through May. After 2020, the next highest YTD occurred in 2001, when 15,984 Media cuts were announced in the first five months of the year. News, which Challenger tracks as a subset of Media and includes broadcast, digital, and print, has announced 1,972 cuts so far this year, surpassing the 1,808 announced in all of 2022.

May Hiring Plans
In May, employers announced plans to hire 7,884 workers, the lowest monthly total since November 2020, when 6,527 new positions were announced. So far this year, companies have announced plans to add 101,833 positions, down 83% from the 612,686 hires announced through May 2022. 

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Contact Colleen Madden Blumenfeld for more data or to set up an interview with SVP Andy Challenger.

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