Layoffs Surge To 14-Month High As Inflation Crushes Employers

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Will Kessler Contributor
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The number of people laid off from American companies reached the highest point since January 2023, according to data from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

American employers cut 90,309 employees in March, 7% higher than the 84,638 employees laid off in February and higher than the 82,307 positions cut in January, according to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. The layoffs are in contrast to seemingly strong job gains, which totaled 275,000 in February, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.9%. (RELATED: Home Costs Rising Twice As Fast As Americans’ Incomes)

“Layoffs certainly ticked up to round out the first quarter, though below last year’s levels,” Andy Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., said in the report. “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.”

The total number of workers laid off in the first quarter totaled 257,254, slightly lower than the same quarter last year, due to around 117,163 jobs being cut in January 2023, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Technology cut the most positions of any sector at 42,442 in the first quarter, followed by the 36,044 jobs cut by the government in just March, mostly from Veterans Affairs and the Army, the highest monthly total since September 2011, according to the report. Industrial Goods Manufacturing had a 726% increase in job cuts in the first quarter with 9,214.

Huge revisions to government jobs data have wiped out a large number of initially announced gains, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) overestimating the number of jobs in the economy by an average of 105,00 per month in 2023, equating to around 1.3 million fewer jobs. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has also come out with a projection for the third quarter of 2023, estimating that employment counts, measured through a sum of states, rose by only 186,000, as opposed to the national count of 640,000 put out by the BLS.

Businesses are struggling to adjust to rapidly increasing costs due to inflation, with prices having risen 18.5% since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, most recently rising 3.2% year-over-year. Companies are also feeling a strain from an increase in the cost of credit due to the Federal Reserve placing the federal funds rate in a range of 5.25% and 5.50% to combat high inflation.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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