Are Layoffs Threatening the U.S. Economic Recovery?

By Hal M. Bundrick

NEW YORK (MainStreet) December saw the fewest announced job cuts in 13 years, but January seems to be making up for lost ground. Last year, layoffs were down about 3% from 2012, according to global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. But with 2014 barely underway, many high-profile job layoffs have already been announced.

Retail and technology companies seem to be resorting to the most right-sizing.

Intel has already announced that it will trim 5% of its workforce by the end of the year, totaling some 5,380 workers, while setting aside $200 million for restructuring charges. Hewlett-Packard has admitted that it will be cutting 5,000 jobs on top of the 29,000 layoffs announced last year. The company says it's all a part of an ongoing restructuring program to reduce headcount by 10%.

Dell is on the head reduction radar as well. The Register, a British technology publication, is citing "inside sources" as saying the Austin-based computer company will announce the release of 17,000 or more employees next month. The company has denied any such plans.

Meanwhile, IBM has allocated $1 billion for a "workforce rebalancing charge" in the first quarter, according to CFO Martin Schroeter. This is on top of the $1 billion charge the company took last year to implement massive job cuts.

January is a traditional time for retailers to realign their operations, with 44% of annual store closings since 2010 occurring in the first quarter, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. JC Penney, Macy's and Target have already announced wide-ranging layoffs and store closings.

If you liked this article you might like

10 Best Gift Ideas for Executives

10 Best Laptop Bags for Women

The Most Wanted Toys for 2016 Holiday Season

Holiday Gift Guide: From Sweaters to Winter Boots

Holiday Buying Guide: Best New Tech Gifts