Job Market on the Mend, Experts Say

After starting the year with the heaviest downsizing in nearly a decade, the number of announced job cuts declined dramatically in the second half of 2009, providing hope for an eventual job-market turnaround.
The turnaround should become more evident in 2010, as job creation finally begins to outpace job losses, according to an outlook released by outplacement and executive coaching consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
However, while hiring is expected to accelerate in the new year, unemployment could remain stubbornly high, as millions of Americans who abandoned the job search out of frustration – and, therefore, not counted among the unemployed – re-enter the labor pool.
The economy is just beginning to pull out of the worst economic downturn in decades. Since the recession began in December 2007, employers have announced nearly 2.5 million job cuts. The heaviest downsizing occurred between July 2008 and June 2009, with more than 1.6 million job cuts announced.
Job cuts appear to have peaked in January 2009, reaching 241,729, the highest monthly total since January 2002. In the months to follow, announced layoffs steadily declined, but the monthly average remained above 130,000 through the first half of the year. Since July 1, however, monthly job-cut announcements have averaged about 69,000. In November, job cuts fell to 50,349, the lowest monthly total since December 2007.



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