Another Bloody Monday? Job Loss Figures Make It Unlikely

We are one month away from the one year anniversary of Bloody Monday. On January 26th, 2009, 65,400 job cuts were announced, according to a CNN article, “Bloody Monday: Over 65,400 Jobs Lost.” Up until that point, an alarming 200,000 jobs cuts had been announced nationwide for the year but on this one day the total job losses jumped by 33%, thus earning the day its gory title.

Almost everyone knows someone who lost their job in 2009, or maybe you lost your own. It was a tough, tough year for workers in nearly every industry. According to Global outplacement and executive coaching consultancy Challenger, Gray and Christmas, since the recession began in December 2007, employers have announced nearly 2.5 million job cuts. As we near 2010, is there more reason to hope for more paychecks getting handed out next year?

There are signs that the situation is getting better. Challenger, Gray and Christmas released their 2010 job market outlook with a report titled, “It May Be Hard to See, But Job Market Will Be on the Mend in the New Year.”

In the report, Challenger explains how job losses have slowed in the second half of 2009 and they point out one particularly interesting fact. In a recession, job cuts are usually heaviest at the end of the year. But, instead of seeing increased job loss right now, we’re seeing a fewer job cuts.

Looking ahead, Challenger says, “The turnaround should become more evident in 2010, as job creation finally begins to outpace job losses.” Job cuts seem to have peaked in January 2009, reaching 241,729, the highest monthly total since January 2002.  Bloody Monday job loss contributed heavily to that number. Since July 1, monthly job-cut announcements have averaged about 69,000. In November, job cuts fell to 50,349, the lowest monthly total since December 2007. 

While fewer layoffs is good news, what about people getting hired and back to work? There are some small gains. The number of temporary employees hired in October and November rose by an average of 48,000 each month, according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Still, the number of people working part-time who would prefer to work full time stayed the same at 9.2 million. So, these part-time workers are perhaps barely getting by, hoping that more work will come.

The brightest light in the employment scene throughout the recession may be the healthcare industry. Since the recession began, health care has added 613,000 jobs. It is an area that should continue to grow, too. The latest job projections from the BLS tell us that positions for registered nurses in private physician’s offices will increase by 48% by 2018.

So, until the one year anniversary of Bloody Monday comes, we won’t be sure about how far we’ve progressed in our recovery from the recession. But, all signs point to a better last week of January in 2010 than 2009.

Best wishes to everyone this holiday season.

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