The U.S. Government Cut More Jobs Than Any Other Sector In March


Topline

More than 90,000 people lost their jobs in March — making it the month with the highest number of cuts from U.S.-based employers since January of 2023 — as companies are adopting a “do more with less approach,” according to a new report by outplacement and career services firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Key Facts

U.S.-based employers cut 90,309 jobs in March, the highest of any month since 102,943 jobs were lost in January 2023.

Of those, more than a third were cut from federal government positions, the report said, with 36,044 jobs lost in the sector including 24,000 in the U.S. Army and 10,000 in the Veterans Affairs department.

March’s cuts represent the highest total of government employees laid off in a single month since September of 2011 and made the government the largest single job-cutter in March.

Overall, March’s total number of jobs lost was 7% higher than the 84,638 cuts announced in February, and contributed to a total number of 257,254 job eliminations in the first quarter of 2024.

The technology sector leads the quarter in cuts with 42,442, followed by the government in second place and financial firms in third with 28,715 jobs lost so far this year.

A majority of job losses in the first quarter (66,303) were blamed on cost-cutting, followed by 48,352 lost due to restructuring and another 38,619 announced due to unit and store closures.

Big Number

257,254. That’s how many jobs have been cut this year, according to the Challenger report. Despite March having more single-month job loss than any other month since January of 2023, cuts are actually down overall from last year. By this time in 2023, 270,416 jobs had been lost.

Surprising Fact

More jobs have been cut in the eastern region of the country (which encompasses 12 states including New York, Massachusetts and Washington D.C.) than any other. More than 94,000 cuts have been made in the region so far this year, followed by 92,178 in the West, 37,639 in the Midwest and 33,031 in the South, according to the Challenger report.

Crucial Quote

“Many companies appear to be reverting to a ‘do more with less’ approach,” Andy Challenger, the firm’s senior vice president, said in a statement. “While technology continues to lead all industries so far this year, several industries, including energy and industrial manufacturing, are cutting more jobs this year than last.”

Contra

Despite the layoffs and slow hiring, American unemployment has been below 4% for 25 consecutive months, the longest such streak since the 1960s, according to the Associated Press. Unemployment was 3.7% in December and January, but rose to 3.9%, a two-year high, in February. When the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its monthly jobs report on Friday, economists expect the rate to dip slightly.

Further Reading

MORE FROM FORBESGold Hits Another High-Despite A Strong Stock Market And Economy. Here’s Why.
MORE FROM FORBESFed Says 3 Interest Rate Cuts Likely Still Coming In 2024MORE FROM FORBESUnemployment Rate Spikes To 2-Year HighMORE FROM FORBESLast Month Had Most Job Cuts Of Any February Since 2009



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