Layoffs could reach 1 million this year

The desk of a laid-off worker

TEXT OF STORY

Renita Jablonski: Summer is almost over and it was sticky and uncomfortable for a lot of U.S. workers. Outplacement firm Challenger Gray and Christmas reports this morning it tracked more than 88,000 layoffs in August. That's down 14 percent from July, but the cuts were still large enough to make this the worst summer for job cuts since 2002. Marketplace's Steven Henn reports.


Steven Henn: Summer is usually a slow time for layoffs and a good time for workers. Not this year.

John Challenger: Very difficult summer -- over 377,000 job cuts.

And John Challenger, who runs the outplacement firm Challenger Gray and Christmas, says the worst is still to come.

Challenger: So, it's likely we are going to see heavy layoffs coming up in this post Labor Day period.

Challenger says right now he expects just about a million job cuts this year. That's up a third from 2007. So far financial services firms have shed the most jobs, followed by car makers and governments hit hard by falling property tax revenue. Retail layoffs are also surging. But there was one bright spot. The number of layoffs at financial services firms was down dramatically in August.

Challenger: That suggests we have moved past the bottom and may be nearing the end of the blood-letting in that sector.

And that's good news. On the other hand, it could mean there's no one in the financial services sector left to fire.

In Washington, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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