Job Losses Drop but Telecom Takes a Beating

While November job losses dropped from a high in October, the telecom industry took another beating.
While November job losses dropped from a high in October, the telecom industry took another beating.

Job cuts last month dropped 42 percent from a 12-month high of 171,874 in October to 99,452, according to a new report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an international outplacement firm based in Chicago. November's figure was 37 percent lower than the 157,508 job cuts in November of 2002.

The fact that fewer pink slips went out last month is little consolation to the 18,183 telecommunication workers who lost their jobs in November. It was the second time this year that the telecom sector led all industries in job losses. Last year, telecommunications suffered more job losses in seven out of the 12 months.

Job-cut announcements have been on a roller coaster ride this year,'' says John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. ''One month, job cuts increase. The next, they fall. The lack of any discernable trend in corporate downsizing is indicative of the uncertainty associated with the current economy.''

Eleven months into the year, government/non-profit employers remain the largest downsizers, having announced 169,924 job cuts. Telecommunications now ranks second with 102,602.

''One set of economists is saying that a job boom is just over the horizon and another is forecasting that unemployment will average 6.4 percent in 2004. The disparity among various economic reports is just as vexing,'' says Challenger, adding that China, India and the Philippines, instead of in the United States, because of the number of jobs being sent offshore. ''Between technology and globalization, a large majority of United States white-collar jobs will become obsolete and either eliminated or dramatically altered.''

Challenger predicts that any rebound in the job market will be relatively small in the near future, and will basically come in lower-paying job sectors. He adds that he's not expecting a real job boom until 2008.






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