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Chicago jobs outlook cloudy?

Posted on July 18, 2011

The dismal June jobs report left many thinking that the outlook on Chicago jobs is pessimistic, as evidenced by a survey from an outplacement firm.

The survey shows that New Jersey jobs have also taken hit, along with other major metro areas and states.

The number of planned job cuts announced by U.S.-based employers increased by 4,297 or 11.6 percent to
41,432 in June. Despite the increase, the overall pace of downsizing through
the first half of 2011 is at the lowest level since 2000, according the latest
report on downsizing activity released Wednesday by global outplacement
consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The June increase is the second in as many months. Announced
layoffs in May were up 2.0 percent to 37,135, after falling to a four-month
low of 36,490 in April.

The two consecutive months of increased job cuts did little to impact the
overall slow pace of downsizing. For the quarter ending on June 30, a total of
115,057 job cuts were announced, down 12 percent from 130,749 in the first
quarter and 1.2 percent lower than the second quarter in 2010 (116,494).

Employers have now announced 245,806 planned job cuts this year,
17.4 percent lower than the 297,677 cuts announced in the first half of 2010.
The six month total is the lowest since 2000, when 223,421 job cuts were
tracked between January and June.

“The employment picture remains a bit cloudy. Continued slowness in the
pace of job cuts is certainly promising. However, hiring is coming in spurts and
is not quite robust enough to make a significant dent in unemployment,” said
John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
“We saw relatively strong payroll gains in February, March and April,
only to see much slower growth in May. The next three or four months of
employment and hiring data will be important indicators of whether the
expansion has prematurely hit the brakes or if the dips in job creation are
simply bumps on the road to recovery,” he added.