US companies begin to reveal large-scale layoff plans

Global companies are beginning to announce large-scale layoff plans, which could imply an economic downturn is approaching, according to a new report.

U.S.-based companies announced 53,073 layoffs in November, an increase of more than 50 percent compared with the same period last year, global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. said Thursday.

The larger job cuts come amid a weeks-long brutal selloff in global stocks driven by concerns the U.S. economy could be headed for a recession. Nonetheless, the U.S. economy continued to add more jobs last month than it lost.

The jump in U.S. layoffs last month was led by General Motors, which announced it would cut 14,800 employees in the U.S. and Canada as it seeks to cut costs.

“Announcements like GM’s will not be the last, as companies adapt to shifting consumer behavior. We’ve already seen major plans in the U.S. from Verizon, Wells Fargo, and Toys”R”Us for exactly those reasons,” Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a statement.

Overseas companies made big cuts last month as well. Japanese tech and energy firm Toshiba said it will cut roughly 7,000 employees, while German pharmaceutical producer Bayer announced it would eliminate 12,000 jobs following its merger with Monsanto.

Cuts

Through the first 11 months of this year U.S.-based companies have announced nearly half a million job cuts, an increase of more than a quarter compared with the same period last year. The 11-month total is the highest since 2015, Challenger, Gray & Christmas said.

Retail continues to lead all sectors in job cut announcements this year with 96,504, according to the report. The retail sector has been shedding jobs for years as consumers shift to online shopping and industry behemoths like Amazon undercut smaller competitors.

Telecommunications and financial services filled out the top three industries with the most job losses this year. Telecommunications shed 59,518 jobs and financial firms 41,351. Similar to the retail industry, consumers are banking more online, reducing the need for tellers and other bank staff.

Despite the increase in layoff announcements, the U.S. job market continues to grow as small- and mid-sized companies hire more staff. The U.S. private sector added 179,000 jobs last month, according to a report Thursday by Automatic Data Processing Inc.

Contact Todd Prince at 702-383-0386 or tprince@reviewjournal.com. Follow @toddprincetv on Twitter.

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