For decades, sourcing sleuths and savvy recruiters have looked to mass corporate layoffs as a source of job candidates. But that source is no longer what it once was.
In fact, according to outplace consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which tracks layoff announcements, the year-to-date total number of job cuts, as of November 2017, is the lowest on record in 20 years.
From January through November 2017, 386,347 job cuts have been announced, 22 percent fewer than the 493,288 cuts announced for the same period in 2016. It marks the lowest year-to-date total since 376,057 cuts were announced for the first 11 months of 1997.
Subject to Change
A new year may bring change, however.
“Major M&A activity, such as the CVS/Aetna deal and the possibility of Amazon buying generic pharmaceutical manufacturers, could lead to a spate of large-scale job-cut announcements to open 2018, especially at pharmaceutical, retail, and healthcare companies,” said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
New legislation could make a difference as well.
“It remains to be seen whether the recent tax reform bill will have a significant impact on job growth or announced cuts. It may make it easier for companies to combine, which generally leads to eliminating redundancies,” said Challenger.
Pockets of Candidates
Despite fewer overall layoffs, not all industries have been affected equally.
The Challenger firm notes that companies in the pharmaceutical sector have announced 13,254 job cuts from January through November 2017, 48 percent more than the 8,981 cuts announced during the same period in 2016. Meanwhile, retail continues to lead all industries in job cuts, with 74,665 cuts announced for the first 11 months of the year, a 28.8 percent increase from 2016, when the number of cuts reported for the same period was 57,969.
Likewise, the healthcare sector announced 38,145 job cuts from January through November 2017, a 123.9 percent increase from the 17,030 cuts announced for the first 11 months of 2016.
The services sector has announced the third highest number of cuts behind retail and health care from January through November 2017, with 32,836, which is 243 percent more cuts than the 9,584 announced in the same period in 2016.
Consumer products companies announced 59.2 percent more job cuts since last year, with a total of 15,985 announced for the first 11 months of 2017, compared to 10,035 recorded for the same period in 2016.