Tuesday, November 04, 2003

All According to Prediction

As with everything else in this administration, I'm almost always happy to be wrong, but it looks like the much-touted Bush Boom may be the Bush Bust.

NEW YORK (AP) - Job cuts announced by U.S. companies more than doubled in October from the previous month, providing more evidence that the nation's economy is in a period of jobless expansion, according to a report from an outplacement firm.

Chicago-based Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. said Tuesday that in October companies announced plans to eliminate 171,874 positions, compared with 76,506 jobs in September. It was the highest monthly level since October 2002, when 176,010 job cuts were announced.

The surge in October ended a streak of five months when job reductions fell below 100,000 per month. The lowest figure during that time was in June, with 59,715 jobs cut.

Hardest-hit was the automotive industry, which announced plans to eliminate 28,363 jobs in October. That was followed by the retail sector, which plans to cut 21,169 positions, and the telecommunications industry, which said it would slash 21,030 jobs.

"While perhaps shocking to some, the October spike follows a trend of heavy year-end downsizing that has occurred since we began tracking job cuts in 1993," said CEO John A. Challenger. "In 2001 and 2002, October was the largest job-cut month in the fourth quarter."

As I've said a few times, jobs flat in Sept. and October (data out Friday), and then the bloodbath begins. Hope I'm wrong.