Announced job cuts in first quarter lowest since 1995

U.S. employers announced fewer job cuts in the first quarter than in any first quarter since 1995, according to a report released Wednesday by the Challenger, Gray & Christmas outplacement firm.

Employers announced 130,749 job cuts in the first three months of the year — 28 percent fewer than in the same period of 2010, Challenger said. The three-month tally is the lowest first-quarter total since 1995, when employers announced 97,716 job cuts.

In March, employers announced plans to reduce payrolls by 41,528 jobs — down 18 percent from February and 39 percent from a year ago, Challenger said.

In Georgia, Challenger tracked only 168 planned layoffs in March.

Once again, the public sector dominated monthly job cuts across the country, accounting for 46 percent of March layoff announcements, Challenger said. The 19,099 planned job cuts announced by government and non-profit organizations increased 17 percent from February.

If there is any silver lining in the government layoff numbers, it is that they are down 62 percent from a year ago, Challenger said.

“Despite the decline from last year, it is difficult to be optimistic about the outlook for government workers,” Rick Cobb, executive vice president of Challenger, said in a statement. “Most cities and states have only just begun to address their massive budget deficits and we have yet to see how budget cutbacks are going to impact workers at the federal level.”

Cobb said “the good news is that other areas of the economy appear to have stabilized in terms of downsizing activity. … The hope is that a few months of even slightly stronger hiring in the private sector will tip the scales toward accelerated job creation.”

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

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17 comments Add your comment


March 30th, 2011
8:01 am

Should bode well for this week’s unemployment and jobs reports. It’s a good thing that governments are finally downsizing after decades of glutton, but it will be a drag on the economy until it gets realigned. But with unemployment compensation and food stamps, the layed off “workers” should survive. And there are plenty of other social services available. It’s hard to imagine the need in a country with this much wealth and opportunity.

Henry Unger

March 30th, 2011
8:08 am

TnGelding — Thanks. I should have mentioned that the jobless rate for metro Atlanta comes out tomorrow and the U.S. unemployment rate is released Friday.

Who Cares?

March 30th, 2011
8:12 am

Not too surprised by this. Eventually company management gets rid of enough “workers” that any more cuts would have to include part of their management “fraternity”, and we all know they protect each other at all costs. I knew they’d eventually be looking at each other, and that’s where the numbers would start to skid. I agree with TnGelding that government reform is needed and way overdue! There has to be a complete realignment in this country before we’ll ever see the bottom of this thing and head towards a solid recovery.


March 30th, 2011
8:23 am

ADP report in line with expectations:

Private Sector Jobs Rose 201,000 in March Vs. 205,000 Est.: ADP

fairness for all

March 30th, 2011
8:44 am

Well at some point private industry will have cut all they can afford to cut. Unfortunately government jobs weren’t touched the last couple of years due to furloughs and the government stimulus. Those chickens are coming home to roost now though and more cuts will come in state and local governments. Yes indeed–management usually protects it’s own. Mostly low level staff get cut while the layers of management making the real money goes untouched. Just look at the layers of administration in Georgia schools from superintendent down to vice principals, how many there are and salaries. Good article in AJC recently about the judges screaming because they’ll lose their two day a week jobs paying megabucks if the auditors report if followed. The taxpayers can no longer afford these abuses.

Young Teacher

March 30th, 2011
9:20 am

I see the irony in this. First rounds of lay-offs called RIF’s hit my current school system. The last two years I have been let go from two systems for RIF reasons. I am now hit with it again. Third time laid off in three years. It comes with being a “new” teacher in every system. Yeah for everyone else though.

Burning Man

March 30th, 2011
9:32 am

Several of your comments don’t actually reflect the truth. I’m a 20 year State of Georgia worker and I know within my Department we have fewer employees now than in 1999. Our Department has had budget cuts (yes, actually less $) for the last three or four years and every couple of years prior to that. Total $ reduction is over 40% in last 3 years. I’m not crying, just saying that parroting that the gov’t is bloated and never cuts isn’t entirely accurate. I don’t want any pity, just dig a little deeper than what you hear on the radio.


March 30th, 2011
9:42 am

Universities stopped hiring, and layoffs have occurred over the past three years – including this year. State funding for universities is at its lowest level since 1993. The state has gone from funding 75% of the cost of a college degree to less than 51%. No wining here, but salary cuts (furloughs), an increase in the contributions to insurance, etc … public employees work more for less.


March 30th, 2011
9:44 am

Most governments continued to hire until just the last few months. Granted, they might have been cutting old agencies as they added new ones.

Teachng definitely isn’t the place to be. Consider trying to get a position in the training department with a large company; Coke, Ga Power, etc.


March 30th, 2011
10:07 am

TnGelding–you don’t have to talk poorly about government workers. There are just as many if not more bad “workers” in the private sector. Don’t speak out of school about something you don’t know. You are 100% incorrect that most governments have continued to hire until just the law few months. As an example, the City of Atlanta has had a hiring freeze (except for essential personel like a new COO) for a couple of years now. Special approval by the Administration is required. You really don’t know what you’re talking about (and by the way, it’s not so easy to just go get a training position at Coke, GP, etc. . . ).


March 30th, 2011
10:16 am

@ Young Teacher

I feel for you, because the reality is teachers are getting cut more than the administrative part (AP’s, central office staff, etc). Schools systems are still to top heavy.

Glad the government is finally cutting jobs. Unfortunately, They have been threatening the public with essential employees (police, fire, teachers) and still leaving the “fat”. This is the reason the public is fed up with government workers in large, they have layered on so many non-essential jobs over the years on the backs of taxpayers.

AJ, for you to deny what TnGelding is saying is a bit hypocritical. I have parents that worked in state government and it has always been that way, and even my parents will admit it is an accurate assessment.


March 30th, 2011
10:18 am

Nationally government employment grew.

I’ve worked in all sectors, and you’re right. There is good and bad everywhere. The military does the best job of eliminating the non-producers.

I didn’t say it was easy to get a job with the aforementioned large companies. I know from experience how hard it is. I thought I would be able to go to work for Coke right out of the USAF at 21. I realized much later in life that they wouldn’t have hired me in a hundred years, but it was their loss.


March 30th, 2011
10:24 am

As Tn said, just go get a training job at coke or ga power. Its more important to train people to sell a product then to get them a good education, we can just import our Doctors and Engineers from China.


March 30th, 2011
10:29 am

It’s just that teachers are facing layoffs and reductions in benefits. You have to be flexible in this job market.

I heard Forbes say this morning on C-SPAN we want smart students from overseas to come here to college and then stay. What’s wrong with encouraging and promoting our students?


March 30th, 2011
11:06 am

JDK–there is nothing hypocritcal by saying something that is factually true. The “it’s always been that way” is lazy analysis when you talk about the reality of what has been happening over the past 5 years. We are in historically different times. I don’t want to get into the “public workers give up current pay for future benefits vs. private sector make more money now for less future benefits” because that argument never goes anywhere, but it doesn’t make it any less true. If government living was so cushy, everyone would want to do it. They don’t for a reason.

to fairness to all

March 30th, 2011
12:26 pm

You said that government jobs were not touched in the past couple of years… that statement is FALSE. I and thousands of other people lost their job working in Government. People are still cutting everywhere and it’s extremely hard out here. I have been searching for almost a year since I was laid off from a government job. So don’t say they have not been touched and indeed they have!


March 30th, 2011
3:41 pm

“If government living was so cushy, everyone would want to do it. They don’t for a reason.”

No, not cushy – but comfortable! The guarantee of a job and not to get fired or layed off, a government job was the getting to be the only place that could happen, until now. The private sector has been facing recessions and job cuts for decades, and in all that time may parents and their fellow co-workers went unscathed. You had to be absolutely horrible at your job or commit a crime to be fired.

My parents often made light of private, corporporate employees. Lots more pressure to be successful of get fired, long work hours and overtime, being forced to think about retirement and healthcare, etc. Government employees have always been the opposite until recently.

AJ & fairness to all: you need to blame the media for that perception if true. All local, state and fed employees that I know have not been touched.