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This Year's Pace of Layoffs Is Fastest of Decade

June 11, 1996|From Reuters

NEW YORK — American businesses cut 230,350 jobs in the first five months of the year, the fastest rate of the decade, according to a survey released Monday by an international outplacement firm.

But layoffs in May fell sharply from a year earlier, as staff cuts at several large corporations apparently boosted profits and certain industries face labor shortages, said Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Companies cut 34% more jobs from January through May than the 171,924 trimmed in the year-ago period, it said.

Job cuts this year are running 6.5% ahead of 1993, the largest downsizing year of the decade, the New York-based firm said. Companies cut 216,209 jobs in the first five months of 1993, and 615,186 for the full year.

In May, employers cut 30,845 jobs, up slightly from 30,810 in April but down from 58,530 a year ago.

"Although the pace of layoffs is way ahead of last year, we are not seeing the many large downsizings in a one-month period that we did before," said John Challenger, executive vice president of Challenger Gray.

"Several of the larger companies that previously laid off thousands of workers are hiring in big numbers, which indicates that their downsizing strategy is working for these companies."

Sears, Roebuck & Co., International Business Machines Corp., AT&T Corp., Boeing Co. and Xerox Corp. have announced 249,836 layoffs since 1993, Challenger said.

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