Planned job cuts in May down 4.3% from year ago
The number of announced job cuts in May rose from the prior month yet declined from a year earlier, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The Chicago-based executive outplacement company said employers have disclosed plans to shed about 204,400 jobs so far this year, which is 21% lower than the first five months of 2010. Last month's planned cuts of 37,135 was up 1.8% from April and down 4.3% from 38,810 for May 2010. John Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said recent economic data has been mixed resulting in some labor market volatility. "Despite several signs of weakness in the recovery, the continued slow pace of downsizing outside of the government sector suggests that employers do not see these as long-term problems," he said. "Most employers realize that these types of ups and downs are typical during recoveries. So, it is unlikely that we will see a sudden resurgence in corporate downsizing in the months ahead unless there is a major shock to the economy." Nearly 40% of announced cuts in May came in government and nonprofit jobs with about 14,800 cuts, which is up from April but down 11.6% from a year earlier. These sectors have announced more than 380,500 job cuts since January 2009, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Earlier Wednesday, the ADP National Employment Report showed the private sector added a mere 38,000 jobs in May, well below analysts' estimates and considerably lower than the prior month's 177,000. On Friday, the Labor Department reports nonfarm payroll data, and Capital Economics expect gains of 150,000 for May. Write to Jason Philyaw.