September job cuts were 17 percent lower than August, 57,221 and 22 percent below last September, 61,219. However, September combined with August and July (63,967), the two biggest job-cut months of 2000, to make the third quarter the highest since the third quarter, 1999, when 173,181 job cuts were announced.
Fourth-quarter job cuts may be even higher, if history is any indication. In four of the last five years, including the record job-cutting year of 1998 (677,795), fourth-quarter job cuts exceeded the third quarter by an average of 40 percent.
Job-cut announcements in 2000 total 392,296, 30 percent fewer than the 556,729 job cuts announced through September, 1999, according to the monthly report issued Thursday by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., an international outplacement firm that tracks job-cut announcements daily.
If we see a drop in holiday spending, we could see more downsizing in the retail sector which already leads all other categories in job cuts, predicted John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Retailers have announced 47,891 job cuts in 2000. It is followed by financial services, 41,930; automotive, 41,160; industrial goods, 35,591; and services, 33,140.
NEW YORK -- The 47,687 job cuts announced in September escalated the third quarter job-cut total to 168,875, the largest quarter in a year. If the fourth quarter follows the pattern of the last five years, it could leave even more workers jobless heading into the new year.