December job cuts fall to 15-year low: Challenger

Job Cut Report
Dave and Les Jacob | Getty Images

U.S.-based firms laid off 23,622 employees in December — the fewest since 2000 — according to global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

"A strong economy, coupled with what appears to be a growing reluctance to announce layoffs during the holidays, contributed to December experiencing the lowest number of monthly job cuts in more than 15 years," Challenger said in a release. "The December decline was significant enough to prevent 2015 job cuts from reaching a six-year high."

The number of layoffs in December was 24 percent lower than the amount of people losing their jobs in November and 28 percent below the layoffs number from December 2014.

"It used to be that companies would not hesitate to announce job cuts around the holidays. In fact, the heaviest job-cut period of the year was often in the closing months. However, that appears to have changed in the wake of the Great Recession," said John A. Challenger, CEO of the jobs outplacement firm.

"Whatever the reason, the apparent improvement in job security around the end of the year is good news for the nation's workers," he said. "In 2015, the December decline may provide little solace for those workers impacted by heavy downsizing through the first half of year."

However, the firm also noted that company layoffs rose 24 percent in 2015 on a year-over-year basis.

Employment data released Wednesday by payrolls firm ADP showed U.S. private companies created 257,000 jobs in December, well above the 192,000 jobs expected. The Labor Department's employment report for December is due Friday.