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US layoffs surge 7% to reach 14-month high amid govt, tech cutbacks

Tech industry continued to outpace other sectors in jobs cuts through the first quarter of this year

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Reuters

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U.S. layoff announcements rose 7% in March to the highest since January 2023, led by technology and government-sector job eliminations, though cuts announced year to date are down 5% from a year ago amid a still-strong job market, a report out on Thursday showed.

Job cut announcements increased to 90,309 in March from 84,638 in February, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said. On a yearly basis, the level increased slightly by 0.7% from the 89,703 cuts announced in March 2023.
 
The technology industry continued to outpace other sectors in jobs cuts through the first quarter of this year, announcing 14,224 in March and 42,442 since the year began. The U.S.government was the top job cutter last month, accounting for 36,044 announced layoffs, the highest since September 2011 and occurring largely within Veterans Affairs and the United States Army.


Through the first three months of the year, companies have announced 257,254 layoffs, down from 270,416 in last year's first quarter, another indication of a job market that continues to hold up in the face of high interest rates. A report from payroll processor ADP on Wednesday indicated a greater-than-expected 184,000 private-sector jobs were created last month, and the government on Friday is expected to report about 200,000 payroll jobs overall were added in March.
 
Employers most frequently cited cost-cutting and restructuring efforts as reasons for job eliminations, Challenger said.
 
“Many companies appear to be reverting to a ‘do more with less’ approach. 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,” said Andy Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

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First Published: Apr 04 2024 | 5:19 PM IST

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