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Job-cut announcements rise
Outplacement firm says monthly pace of cut announcements far worse than in '90-'91 recession.
May 2, 2002: 9:58 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The pace of job-cut announcements in the United States rose in April, according to a leading outplacement firm, another indication that the labor market still is weak following the nation's first recession in a decade.

U.S. businesses announced plans to cut 112,649 jobs in April, up 10 percent from 102,315 announcements in March, according to the Chicago-based firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. It was the 16th time in the past 17 months that announcements exceeded 100,000.

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The monthly average in 2002 is about 140,000, the firm said, far greater than the 26,000 average recorded during the height of the 1990-91 recession.

"Companies are far from finished when it comes to thinning out their ranks," CEO John Challenger said.

But the 555,783 cut announcements in the first four months this year were below the 572,370 announced in the first four months of 2001, a year that saw a record 1.9 million announcements, according to Challenger.

The report comes a day before the Labor Department is scheduled to report on April unemployment. Economists surveyed by expect the unemployment rate to rise to 5.8 percent from 5.7 percent in March.

Companies slashed more than a million jobs during the recession that likely began in March 2001. Thought that recession is probably over, the labor market probably will remain weak until companies are convinced of a recovery, and most economists think the unemployment rate will rise to 6 percent this year.

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The struggling telecommunications industry continued to lead all other sectors in slashing jobs, Challenger said, with 38,176 cuts announced in April, up 75 percent from 21,831 in March. So far this year, 120,698 telecom job cuts have been announced, about 22 percent of the year's total.

Automotive firms have cut 75,051 jobs this year, the second-highest industry total.  Top of page