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Job cuts tend to spike in December, warns career transitioning firm

Job cuts tend to spike in December, warns career transitioning firm
Job cuts tend to spike in December, warns career transitioning firm

December is a time to take stock of the year and plan, but for many companies, it’s also a time to make strategic shifts like cutting jobs. According to Chicago-based career transitioning firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, not everyone finds it a season to be jolly. 

December and January are the two months a year when companies make structural changes heading into the new financial year. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, specific jobs are more likely to end up on the chopping block. 

Tech industry 

Challenger, Gray & Christmas noted an influx of layoffs in the tech industry last year, and it hasn’t stopped. 

In 2023, layoffs affected 255,966 employees in 142 tech companies, an increase of more than 90,000 compared to 2022. However, according to Layoffs.fyi, more companies were involved in retrenchments last year. 

“The industry was hiring at such a rapid pace for two years that as the economy started to come down a little bit, cool a little bit, they started to do layoffs quickly,” says Andy Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Some industries are hit harder, but Challenger says: “We’ve seen a very clear cooling trend in the labor market this year with an increase in layoffs across every sector we track.”

Other sectors are still in the thick of a layoff storm. The media industry reported more than 19,000 job cuts between January and September. That’s an increase of 550% compared to the same period last year. 

A hard time for employees

Retail, health care, product manufacturers, and financial firms are some of the industries more vulnerable to job cuts this year. 

But finding a new company to work for can be more challenging than most people imagine. The US labor department has seen that continued jobless claims have been rising and hit 1.93 million in the week ended Nov. 18. 

According to the experts, it’s the highest rate in about two years. This could indicate hiring is slowing and people are staying unemployed longer.

Advice to staff

Challenger says it’s an excellent time to network now. It can help boost workers’ chances of securing a new job should they get laid off.

“When a post gets put online and there’s 1,000 resumes in five minutes, it’s really hard to stand out. But if you can meet somebody at a company you want to work for and ask for a referral, you get put to the top of that pile,” he says. “That’s a great way to give yourself more opportunities.”

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand.

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