The Challenger Job-cut report is released monthly by Challenger, Gray, and Christmas, Inc, and contains information on corporate and government layoffs.
The current report, released January 5, 2012, highlights a 6-month low in job reductions. 41,785 jobs were reported cut by government and corporations in the month of December, the lowest number since June 2011. The December 2011 cuts are higher than the 32,004 job cuts announced in December 2010, but is still a relatively low number for the past few years.
The total number of job cuts for the year was 606,082, higher than the 529,973 jobs cut in 2010 (which was still a 13-year low). Most of the job cuts for 2011 were related to the financial and government sectors, with companies like Bank of America releasing thousands of employees and the drawdown in the US military, particularly the US Army. 41% of jobs cut in 2011 were related to the government and financial sectors, and a record high of 183,064 government jobs were cut.
Government jobs in the Challenger report technically include those in military service, which may see significant cutbacks in the coming years, so a reduction in government jobs may not necessarily mean a reduction in government bureaucracy. The report does not separate military personnel from government bureaucratic positions.
Job growth is still relatively slow, with employers nervous about government policies and unwilling to expand operations, as well as needing to cut back on costs. Another drag on employment numbers is the lack of employees with the right skills for the proper jobs. Also, without a definite income, workers are reluctant to move and bear the cost of two mortgages.
However, the Challenger report is somewhat optimistic about job opportunities, stating that about two million workers quit jobs that have good potential to be refilled, as those jobs were not lost due to cost-cutting measures. Also, employers are filling about 4 million jobs a month.