US Layoffs Near 30-Year Low As Firms 'Spread Thin' Amid COVID-19 Variants - Survey
Umer Jamshaid Published December 02, 2021 | 10:53 PM
US corporate layoffs are near three-decade lows, with employers stretching themselves to retain employees amid the protracted labor crisis caused by the COVID-19 and its multiple variants, jobs market surveyor Challenger, Gray & Christmas said in a report Thursday
WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 02nd December, 2021) US corporate layoffs are near three-decade lows, with employers stretching themselves to retain employees amid the protracted labor crisis caused by the COVID-19 and its multiple variants, jobs market surveyor Challenger, Gray & Christmas said in a report Thursday.
"With the Omicron variant emerging and the unknowns that come with its spread, coupled with the ongoing difficulty hiring and retaining workers, it's no surprise job cuts are at record lows," Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of the firm, said in the November survey of the US corporate jobs sector.
Job cuts by US-based employers plummeted 34.8% in November to 14,875 from an October count of 22,822, Challenger, Gray & Christmas said in its latest monthly survey. That was the lowest for layoffs in a month since the 14,086 cuts recorded in May of 1993, the firm added.
On Wednesday, the first case of the coronavirus Omicron variant was reported in California and concerned a fully vaccinated resident who had returned from traveling to South Africa, where the variant was discovered about a week ago.
Leong Hoe Nam, a Singapore-based infectious diseases doctor, said Omicron will likely "dominate and overwhelm" the world in 3-6 months. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Thursday the variant could slow the country's economic recovery from the pandemic. However, South African health officials said the cases have been mild and they were surprised at the pronounced reactions in the United States and other primarily Western countries.
Challenger, Gray & Christmas said in its survey that employers were also in a limbo over legal challenges to the Biden administration's mandate that required companies with at least 100 employees to ensure their workers were either vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested regularly.
The firm said vaccine refusal accounted for 7,227 job cuts so far this year, with 384 occurring last month alone.
"Employers are spread thin, planning best- and worst-case scenarios in terms of COVID, while also contending with staff shortages and high demand," Challenger said.
Nearly two years into the COVID-19 crisis, restoring job growth remains one of the main concerns of US policymakers. The United States lost more than 21 million jobs between March and April 2020, at the height of business lockdowns forced by the coronavirus. At last count, officials said some 5 million of those jobs have not returned.
The report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas came ahead of Friday's scheduled release of the US non-farm payrolls report for November by the Labor Department, which is expected to say that some 545,000 government and corporate jobs were added last month versus October's 531,000.
Earlier on Thursday, the Labor Department reported that US jobless claims came in at 222,000 for last week, some 28,000 above the previous week's pandemic low, as the employment market appeared to consolidate from a stretch of dynamic recovery.