PhotoAfter falling in July to the lowest total since late 2016, the number of job cuts has snapped back.

Outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports employers across the country announced plans to trim their payrolls by 33,825 in August -- a surge of 19.4% from the previous month and 5% higher than August of last year.

Until August, cutbacks had fallen every month since March, for a total of 289,132 terminations -- down 26.1% from the first eight months of 2016.

A mixed tale in retail

“Although we have seen high layoffs in retail with store closings and some companies filing for bankruptcy, there has also been increased hiring in new areas of the sector as retailers build out their e-commerce platforms,” said Challenger, Gray & Christmas CEO John Challenger. “Shipping and technology jobs are expanding and going unfilled. We are seeing a labor market in which skilled technical and logistics/supply chain talent is in high demand.”

Retail continues to lead all sectors this year, with 67,596 announced cuts -- 3,607 of them in August. Retail job cuts are up 51.4% this year than through the same point in 2016.

"Retail is pivoting, and with the holiday rush just around the corner, a big jump in seasonal jobs is imminent,” Challenger noted, adding “An increasing number of these jobs will involve new technologies and be more customer-centric, as brick-and-mortar retailers seek to create experiences that consumers cannot find online.”

The construction industry announced the highest number of pink slips in August, with 4,332, followed by the financial sector (-3,414), for an eight-month total of 10,799. The services industry announced 3,039 cuts in August, bringing its total for the year to 21,061.


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