Worried About Your Job? What Sectors Are at Risk
Retail, Airlines, Autos
High-end specialty stores, online retailers and big box discounters across the country are also cutting staff—largely targeting store managers—in a bid to reduce costs as the soaring price of gas and groceries forces consumers to pare back spending.
"The retail industry is at risk because consumers are hit so hard with higher mortgages and gas prices, says Challenger. "It's going to be a tough season on retailers. We expect to see more losses in this area later this year."
Since its peak in March 2007, employment in the retail trade is down by 211,000 jobs, the Labor Department reports.
Business consultants and temporary employees are having a tough time of their own finding work as the economic downturn wears on.
The same is true for accountants and corporate lawyers, many of whom have been forced to lower their hourly rates.
Professional employer organizations, which provide outsourcing of payroll, worker's compensation, human resources and employee benefit administration, are also cutting back.
Between January and July of 2008, the Labor Department notes employment in temporary help services alone declined by 185,000.
Computer systems designers and those engaged in information technology, however, appear to be better positioned.
It may comprise a smaller percentage of the labor force, but the manufacturing sector is still putting up big layoff numbers.
The Labor Department reports manufacturing companies have shed some 383,000 jobs over the last 12 months, largely from companies engaged in transportation equipment, wood products, and textile mills.
In its most recent report of extended mass layoffs, the government also notes the manufacturing industry accounted for 22 percent of private nonfarm extended layoffs (with separations lasting at least 31 days) in the second quarter of 2008, up from 20 percent a year earlier.
Record fuel prices are taking a heavy toll on profits at most airlines, as well, with many smaller carriers closing down or filing for bankruptcy protection, including Frontier Airlines and ATA Airlines.
Layoffs have been across the board, from pilots, to stewards to baggage handlers, and some analysts predict the pace of job cutting could pick up, particularly among larger U.S. carriers, during the second half of 2008.
So far this year, Challenge Gray & Christmas reports job losses in the airline industry have reached 7,594, though it notes job cuts will likely fall well short of the record level seen in 2001, following Sept. 11, when airline companies laid off nearly 106,000 workers.
Though tied to the manufacturing sector, the auto industry is worth calling out.
So far this year, the nation leading automakers have reduced their ranks by nearly 10,000 employees, according to Challenger, Grey & Christmas, with many more being announced by motor vehicle and parts dealers.
"This is a tough area for the economy right now," says Challenger. "People aren't buying cars, particularly sports utility vehicles, and there are a lot of job cuts going on among auto workers and engineers."