Jeremy Hobson: We just got word that U.S. employers announced about 42,000 job cuts in October. That’s the lowest monthly total since June, according to the job placement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas. But what does that mean for hiring as we await Friday’s big October jobs report from the government?
For answers we turn to CEO John Challenger, who is with us live from Chicago. Good morning.
Challenger: Good morning, Jeremy.
Hobson: So John, could it be that companies have just the right amount of employees now — that they’re not doing many layoffs, but they’re not hiring either?
Challenger: Well that has been the story for much of the last two years. Layoffs have not been heavy since the recession ended other than periodic outbursts, but the job creation has been missing.
Hobson: What about what’s happening in Europe — we’ve got yesterday’s news about this Greece referendum, and today the news that Italy’s borrowing costs have risen above the critical 6 percent threshold. How is all that going to affect the job picture here in the U.S. going forward?
Challenger: Well, certainly in terms of job creation there’s some risk there. Europe is a big market for U.S. employers and when it’s in this kind of bad economic shape, it makes it difficult for U.S. companies to grow in those markets and add jobs.
Hobson: You’ve watched your numbers on layoffs go up and down, and up and down, over the last couple of years. What are you expecting in the next several months?
Challenger: Well, I’m happy to see these numbers today because we’ve had three months were the layoffs seemed to be rising; the economy, it was getting worse. But now all of a sudden, GDP is getting better, we’ve seen personal consumption grow in the last quarter by almost two percent. That’s a good sign for retail jobs coming up this holiday season.
Hobson: John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray and Christmas, thanks so much for talking with us.
Challenger: Thank you.
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