Survey: Jobs Cuts Down By 42% In November

By Agence France-Presse In a sign of an improving labor market, planned job cuts announced by U.S. companies fell 42% in November from the previous month, a survey showed Dec. 2. The survey by the consulting firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas found that announced layoffs fell from a 12-month high of 171,874 in October to 99,452 in the holiday-shortened month of November. The figure also was 37% lower than the 157,508 job cuts announced by employers in the same month a year ago, according to the survey. The report said employers have announced 1,143,406 job cuts this year, down 17% from the 11-month total of 1,373,906 in 2002. November job cuts were led by the telecommunications sector, which announced 18,183 layoffs. For the year to date, government and non-profit employers remain the largest downsizers, having announced 169,924 job cuts. "Job-cut announcements have been on a roller coaster ride this year. One month job cuts increase; the next, they fall. The lack of any discernable trend in corporate downsizing is indicative of the uncertainty associated with the current economy," said John Challenger, the firm's chief executive. "One set of economists is saying that a job boom is just over the horizon and another is forecasting that unemployment will average 6.4% in 2004. The disparity among various economic reports is just as vexing." Challenger predicted that much of the job creation during this economic cycle will not take place here, but in places like China, India and the Philippines, because of outsourcing and a surging global economy. "Between technology and globalization, a large majority of United States white-collar jobs will become obsolete and either eliminated or dramatically altered," said Challenger. "We will probably not see a true job market boom until the next economic cycle around 2008. Any job market rebound that takes place in the near future will be relatively small and occur in the lower paying industries and occupations." Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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