Labor-market observers have recently been applauding a visible decline in the number of permanent staff cuts announced by major U.S. companies. But Dan Lacy, editor of the newsletter Workplace Trends, which tracks such announcements, is skeptical.
Lacy concedes that the number of cuts announced last quarter was about half of the 221,000 unveiled in 1991's fourth quarter. But he notes that the first-quarter tally was virtually identical to the number announced in 1991's first quarter. "Until we see a significant decline on a year-to-year basis," he says, "it's premature to conclude that the downsizing trend is losing steam."