With Johnson & Johnson announcing 3,000 job cuts on Tuesday and Macy's announcing the same number of cuts earlier this month, 2016 is off to a dismal start for some U.S. workers. But how bad is it? Certainly it's no 2009 yet, when companies announced more than 900,000 job cuts, according to Bloomberg data for public and private North American companies. Last year, nearly 300,000 jobs were cut.
Tech giant Hewlett-Packard took the first two slots for the biggest job cuts last year, due to corporate restructuring.
Indeed, HP's February announcement of 55,000 layoffs were the biggest cuts in North America since Bloomberg first began tracking the data in 2008.
The energy sector absorbed more than 20 percent of the layoffs in 2015, according to Bloomberg data. Since 2008, the technology and hardware equipment industry has had the most most layoffs of any sector due to the shift from traditional hardware and software to mobile and cloud computing. Banks, pounded by the 2008 financial crisis, have also seen large job cuts.
While some of these cuts may be severe, they likely have more to do with specific companies and industries rather than employment at large. New claims for U.S. unemployment benefits have largely remained below 300,000 this past year, an indicator of a strong labor market. Only sustained layoffs across companies and industries would change that. Overall, the U.S. economy added 2.6 million new jobs last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.
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