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Job cuts during the first half of the year were the highest since 2009: Challenger

Heidi Chung
A jobs sign hangs above the entrance to the US Chamber of Commerce building in Washington, DC. (KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. job cuts in the first half of this year are at their highest total in a decade, according to a new report from Challenger Gray & Christmas.

The global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm’s report released Wednesday found that U.S. employers announced that they will be cutting 140,577 jobs in the second quarter. Though that figure is down 26% from the first quarter, it is a 34% jump from last year. Those additional job cuts in the second quarter brings the first-half total this year to 330,987, which is a 35% increase from the same period last year.

“The second quarter is historically the slowest period for job cut plans,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “Companies typically have not determined staffing decisions by this point, either because they are in the middle of or are only approaching their fiscal year’s end by June.”

Looking specifically to June, employers cut 41,977 jobs, a 13% jump from a year ago. Challenger Gray noted that marks the eleventh consecutive month in which job cuts were higher than the corresponding month the year earlier.

The retail sector continued to see the largest amount of job cuts this year followed by the industrial goods and automotive sectors. “Job cuts are trending higher overall,” according to Challenger. “Manufacturers are grappling with not only technological changes, but also increased competition, tariffs, changes in consumer behavior, and skills shortages.”

Challenger’s report comes on the heels of a softer-than-expected ADP/Moody’s private sector employment report that was released Wednesday morning. The report revealed that the U.S. private sector employment grew at disappointingly slow pace, with only 102,000 positions added in June. Consensus estimates were for 140,000 private payroll additions during the month.

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.

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