"Heaviest Job Cuts Behind Us"

Published: Aug 26, 2009

Good news: the worst job cuts of the year may be behind us. Bad news: that may be because the cuts behind us were so severe they'll be difficult to top. According to John A. Challenger, Chief Executive of global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas (CG&C), there are "more and more signs that the economy is beginning to turn around. While it is too soon to expect a massive hiring binge that will move some of the nearly 20 million jobless Americans back onto payrolls, the pace of job cuts is likely to continue its downward trend."<p>The positive outlook from Challenger comes as we approach Labor Day—a holiday that often precedes periods of substantial downsizing in the economy as companies attempt to cut costs to meet earning and profitability targets by year's end. Not that that won't be happening this year: Challenger predicts that "year-end job cuts are likely to increase from the levels recorded during the summer months, which typically see fewer job cuts, but we will probably not return to the levels reached between January and April."<p>The overall picture, then: not exactly rosy, but not quite as bad as it could be. January to April, after all, saw 711,100 job cuts announced—the heaviest toll on record for that period. So far, there are no signs that the remainder of the year will continue that record-breaking run. Whether or not the number of job losses to come not being quite as bad as the number that have already occurred is reason enough to break open the bubbly is another matter, however.<p>Challenger also offers some advice for anyone who might be seeking employment right now, be they unemployed or thinking about getting out of their current position. "The first step is to shore up and expand your professional network," he says. "Start reaching out to people you have met through industry meetings or professional associations and let them know that you are interested in new opportunities."<p><i><b>--Posted by Phil Stott, Vault Staff Writer</b></i>