Job cuts announced by U.S. employers reached their highest level in four years in July, in large part because of massive workforce reductions by the U.S. Army, according to a new report.
The global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas said employers announced plans to shed 105,696 workers from their payrolls in July, 146% more than the 44,842 job cuts in June. The last time more than 100,000 job cuts were announced in a single month was September 2011, when they reached 115,730.
The July surge brings the year-to-date job cut total to 393,368, up 34% on the same period of 2014 and the highest seven-month total since 2009, when 978,048 job cuts were announced amid the recession.
More than half of the July job cuts were the result of the U.S. Army’s troop and civilian workforce reductions, which will eliminate 57,000 from government payrolls over the next two years.
“When the military makes cuts, they tend to be deep,” Challenger said, noting that with wars in Afghanistan and Iraq winding down and pressure to cut government spending, the military has been vulnerable to reductions.
The technology sector also announced several major workforce reductions in July. Microsoft closed its recently acquired Nokia division, resulting in 7,800 job losses, while Qualcomm and Intel announced plans to shed 4,500 and 3,180 workers, respectively.
However, job cuts announced by computer firms are running 47% lower than those announced by this point last year.
According to Mark Hamrick, Washington, D.C. bureau chief for Bankrate.com, most economists expect the U.S. jobs market to remain stable this year. “The problem has been subpar hiring in this recovery, not job cuts,” he told MarketWatch.