January planned job cuts are down nearly 3% from last year: Challenger

  • Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas says companies announced plans to cut 44,653 jobs in January.
  • It says the number is down nearly 3 percent from the same month last year.
  • Layoff plans in January were highest in retail.
People walk along Wall Street in New York.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Companies announced plans to cut 44,653 jobs in January, a decrease of nearly 3 percent from last year, a private survey reported Thursday.

The number represents an increase of about 38 percent from the previous month, when 32,423 cuts were announced.

"The good news for those who are finding themselves separated from their previous companies is that employers are scrambling to find talent," CEO John Challenger said in a statement.

Challenger said seven companies announced plans in 2018 to add more than 37,000 jobs.

"It remains to be seen what impact the passage of tax legislation will have on companies' staffing plans," Challenger said. "We've seen a number of companies announce one-time bonuses or a raise to their minimum wages. Other companies are planning new investments, and several have pledged new jobs."

Retailers announced the most cuts in January — representing more than a third of the total number with 15,378. That number is down 32 percent, however, from last year.

The Challenger report comes a day before the Labor Department releases its January jobs data. On Wednesday, ADP and Moody's Analytics said U.S. companies hired 234,000 employees in January.