October Job Cuts Jump 41%

Chicago — Nov. 1

Planned job cuts by U.S.-based employers rose 41 percent in October to 47,724, as a spate of layoff announcements in the wake of weak quarterly earnings reports helped push downsizing activity to its highest level in five months.

Despite last month’s sharp increase, layoffs for the year are still well below last year’s pace, according to the report on monthly job cuts by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. Through 10 months, employers announced 433,725 job cuts, 17 percent fewer than the 521,823 cuts announced between January and October 2011.

The automotive sector led the surge in October job cuts, announcing plans to shed 11,615 workers. The October total is more than the 10,405 job cuts announced by this sector over the previous nine months. The new year-to-date-total of 22,020 is more than double the 10,593 job cuts announced by the automotive sector in all of 2011.

The bulk of last month’s automotive job cuts were by the Ford Motor Co., which announced a plant closing in Belgium that will affect 9,500 workers. Another 1,400 Ford workers in the United Kingdom are also being laid off. Both workforce reductions were the direct result of the ongoing European economic crisis.

The slowdown in consumer and business spending was a common theme among several of the top job-cutting sectors in October. The second-ranked consumer products industry announced 5,250 job cuts last month, up from 1,917 in September. The electronics industry plans to cut 4,491 jobs in the coming weeks and months. And the fifth-ranked industrial goods sector announced 3,539 job cuts.

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.