Planned Layoffs Increase Two Months in a Row at U.S. Firms

Posted by on July 6, 2011 in Business Management, Business News [ 0 Comments ]

While some in Washington, D.C. may try to tell you differently, the U.S. job market is not as hot as the weather in much of the country this summer.

According to a report from the consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., job trimming was up 5.3 percent from 39,358 in June of 2010. June of this year saw 41,432 scheduled job cuts, an 11.6 percent increase from the previous year.

The national unemployment rate, meantime, remains around 9.1 percent, leaving many companies striving for more success to wonder whether they need to shake things up in the workplace.

The recent numbers are interesting; especially given the fact that downsizing in the first of 2011 was at its lowest level in a decade.

According to CEO John Challenger, “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. 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.”

As the numbers show, the government and non-profit sector continue to witness the greatest downsizing, accounting for 10,176 announced cuts last month.

For the first six months of 2011, job cuts totaled 245,806, a decrease of 17.4 percent from 297,677 cuts in the first half of 2010. The six-month total was the lowest since 2000 when 223,421 job cuts were reported between January and June.

How Can Your Business Avoid Layoffs?

With many companies still dealing with whether or not to let people go, how can your small business stay financially sound and yet avoid letting employees go when the economy is still struggling?

The big key is hiring.

  • Are you hiring too quickly and filling positions just to have a body in a seat? Ask yourself if that workload can be dispersed among your current employees so that you save on a salary, benefits etc.
  • Have you looked to alternatives to layoffs like pay cuts or freezes on pay raises? While these topics are never popular among employees, taking a pay cut or not getting a planned raise will sit better with employees when given the alternative of being let go.
  • Can you weather the storm until things improve? Maybe those planned expansions of the company or moving to a bigger and more expensive office can be put on hold for months or even years?
  • Is your business too heavy in the managerial area?
  • Given that the company’s largest salaries typically work from top to bottom, can you get by with a little less managerial leadership in order to avoid mass layoffs for the general employees? Perhaps now is the time to rearrange management and disperse some of the assigning of duties to others who are just as capable but making lesser money?

In the event that you’ve tried different tactics but still find yourself needing to go the layoff route, do it with as much compassion as possible.

Layoffs are never fun, but the impact can be a little less severe if those being cut free understand the reasoning behind the decisions. Allowing those let go to be eligible for rehire when things improve financially will also lessen the blow.

If layoffs are possible in your company’s immediate plans, review all your options and make it your business to do everything you can for the employees who helped you succeed in the first place.

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