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Workforce reductions announced by US-based employers fell in May, according to outplacement company Challenger, Gray and Christmas, with planned job cuts totaling 33,092.

Cuts last month were down 9% from April when there were 36,602 terminations, but 9% higher than the same month a year ago when 30,157 workers were let go.

So far this year, employers have announced a total of 195,895 job cuts -- down 29% from the 275,218 job cuts that occurred through May 2016.

Retail jobs at risk

Retailers continued to announce the most job cuts this year with 55,910 -- 5,777 of them in May.

A lot of that is due to changing consumer behavior in grocery shopping.

“Grocery stores are no longer immune from online shopping.” Challenger pointed out. “Meal delivery services and Amazon are competing with traditional grocers, and Amazon announced it is opening its first ever brick-and mortar store in Seattle. Amazon Go, which mixes online technology and the in-store experience, is something to keep an eye on since it may potentially change the grocery store shopping experience considerably.”

The health care/products industry announced 3,054 job cuts during in May, 55% more than a year earlier. So far in 2017, there have been 14,323 cuts the in health care/products industry.

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Jobless claims

First-time applications for state unemployment benefits rose last week for the second week in a row.

The Department of Labor (DOL) reports initial jobless claims rose 13,000 in the week ending May 27 to a seasonally total of 248,000. In addition, the previous week's level was revised up to show a gain of 2,000.

Still, initial claims have been blow the 300,000 level now for 117 straight weeks.

The four-week moving average, considered to more accurately reflect the state of the job market, came in at 238,000 -- up of 2,500 from the previous week's average, which was revised up by 250.

The complete report may be found on the DOL website.


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