Planned job cuts more than double in September
The number of announced job cuts in September more than doubled from the prior month, climbing to the highest level in more than two years, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The Chicago-based personnel consultancy firm said employers announced plans to cut 115,730 jobs last month, up 126% from 51,114 in August. Last month's level is 212% higher than September 2010, and the highest since 132,590 cuts in April 2009. The firm said heavy reductions by the military accounted for many of the September cuts, "signaling what may lie ahead as the federal government seeks across-the-board cuts in spending." "It would be easy to look at the September job-cut figure alongside some of the other less-than-stellar economic news that has been reported lately and draw the conclusion that the economy is indeed headed for a double dip," said John Challenger, chief executive of the company. But nearly 70% of the jobs cuts in September came from Bank of America (BAC) and the U.S. Army, as the banking giant continues to grapple with the fallout of the housing market crisis and the federal government winds down two wars, according to Challenger. BofA announced plans to cut 3,500 jobs in August, and some estimates have the bank's total cuts reaching as high as 30,000. Challenger said "Bank of America is not the only bank still struggling in the wake of the housing collapse. And, the military cutbacks are probably just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to federal spending cuts and layoffs." Challenger, Gray & Christmas said 10.1% of military veterans are unemployed with 16.6% of veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq jobless back here in America. The company expects seasonal hiring on par with a year ago when more than 600,000 employees were added to payrolls between October and December. Earlier Wednesday, the ADP National Employment Report showed the private sector added 91,000 jobs in September. TrimTabs Investment Research estimates the economy added just 64,000 jobs last month. On Friday, the Labor Department reports nonfarm payroll data. President Obama pitched his jobs bill in a familiar speech Tuesday in Mesquite, Texas. Write to Jason Philyaw. Follow him on Twitter: @jrphilyaw.