A report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in July, shows that layoff rates for 2012 remained relatively static, and still down overall in comparison to data from 2009. But with high-profile layoffs on the horizon for government, education and many private sector companies such as Hewlett Packard and Best Buy, it remains to be seen whether the data will hold steady for the remainder of the year.
BLS data—summarized in the Job Openings and Labor Turnover report—shows that the number of layoffs and discharges for May 2012 was down slightly from the June 2009 figures: 1.9 million vs. 2.1 million.
Little has changed over the past year. The data reveals that the number of layoffs and discharges remained constant throughout the 12 month period ending in May 2012, and while the seasonally adjusted rate showed an increase in government layoffs, other sectors were unchanged.
This report is encouraging for the U.S. marketplace, coming at a time when several high-profile layoffs have been reported in the media. At the end of May, tech company Hewlett Packard announced it would be laying off approximately 27,000 employees: some 8 percent of the company’s total workforce.
On July 10—the same day as the BLS report was released—J.C. Penney announced it had laid off another 350 employees from its corporate headquarters in Plano, TX. The latest round of cuts brings the overall layoffs to almost 25 percent of corporate staff, reducing the headcount from a high of 5,000+ to 3,100. The retailer says these latest cuts represent the “final round” in its restructuring efforts.
Another retailer recommending restructuring is Best Buy. The electronics giant plans to eliminate 600 Geek Squad positions, and another 1,800 general staffers for a total of 2,400 layoffs. Over the past year, Best Buy shares have dropped by a third, and in its July 6 announcement, the company said the recent layoffs—amounting to about 1.5 percent of the overall workforce—were in addition to the layoffs associated with it’s recent store closures.
With some analysts predicting a grim retail forecast for the rest of the year, and the bleak outlook for education in many states, it may be difficult for the layoff rates to continue to hold steady in the second half of 2012.
For more information, please visit us at www.laborlawcenter.com or call (800) 745-9970