US Economy

Planned job cuts slow in May as retail continues to lead this year: Challenger report

Key Points
  • Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas reported companies announced plans to cut 31,517 jobs in May, a 13 percent decrease from the previous month.
  • Planned job cuts are typically lower during the summer months, according to CEO John Challenger.
A pedestrian walks along Broad Street in New York.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Companies announced plans to cut 31,517 jobs in May, a 13 percent decrease from April, a private survey reported Thursday.

The 207,977 planned job cuts announced in 2018 is more than 6.2 percent higher than the same period of 2017.

"On average, job cuts are at their lowest in May and June. Companies typically make their
staffing moves at the beginning of the year or in the fourth quarter," CEO John Challenger said in a statement.

May's results held closer to April, which bucked the trend of increasing job cut announcements. Planned cuts hit a high in March, when the most job cut announcements were made in a single month in nearly two years.

Retail leads all sectors in job cuts this year, with 69,316 — far surpassing the next two closest sectors, health and consumer.

The report comes a day before the Labor Department releases its closely watched monthly jobs data. On Wednesday, ADP and Moody's Analytics said U.S. companies created 178,000 private-sector jobs in May, slightly below expectations.