Biggest U.S. Layoffs in 2017: Macy’s, J C Penney, hhgregg Top List, Retail Job Cuts Dominate

Biggest U.S. layoffs in 2017

It’s no secret that 2017 has been an awful year for “big box” retailers and layoffs in general. Some of the top U.S. layoffs have come as a result of giant companies suffering this year, leading to hundreds of thousands of retail job cuts, IT layoffs, and thousands of store closings. Spurred on by a new wave of technology, IT companies are finding it hard to keep up with the demands of the cloud and other tech innovations while retailers struggle to contend with encroaching online sales from companies like, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP), hhgregg, Inc. (OTCMKTS:HGGGQ), and Macy’s Inc (NYSE:M) are just a few of the larger companies in the U.S. that have been punished by the shifting retail landscape, making the “biggest U.S. layoffs in 2017” list.

10 Biggest U.S. Layoffs in 2017

Macy’s to Lay Off More Than 10,000, Close 68 Stores

Macy’s alone is responsible for more than 10,000 job cuts as the company finds itself displaced by online shopping. The Macy’s layoffs are coupled with massive Macy’s store closures, with 68 shuttering in 2017.

The retail giant has been on the receiving end of poor earnings reports and declining sales for a number of years now. What was once a powerhouse in the holiday season and able to rake in massive amounts of revenue is now finding its clout dwindling as shoppers turn towards online options rather than brave Black Friday crowds for those in-store deals.

Macy’s, like many of the other sources of the biggest U.S. layoffs in 2017, has yet to find a way to properly adapt to the changing times. While the company hopes that the cuts will help streamline its business and bring it closer to the black, ultimately the company is hemorrhaging jobs and has yet to find a suitable solution to stem the tide.


J C Penney’s 2017 Layoff Plan Affects 5,000 Jobs, Includes 138 Store Closings Nationwide

Another legacy name in the retail business, J C Penney has also become the victim of poor sales and has therefore added to the growing number of retail layoffs.

The company cut about 5,000 jobs and shuttered 138 stores across the U.S. The locations equate to about 14% of the total store locations, but only account for roughly five percent of the company’s total sales.

“JCPenney is in the process of identifying relocation opportunities within the company for esteemed leaders,” the company said in a written statement. “Additionally, JCPenney will provide outplacement support services for those eligible associates who will be leaving the company.”

hhgregg Files for Bankruptcy, Cuts 5,000 Workers Nationwide and Closes All Stores

hhgregg was perhaps the hardest hit among the retail giants in 2017, first declaring for bankruptcy and then forced into total liquidation after the company was unable to find a buyer.

The hhgregg closing meant that all of its 220 stores were closed and its 5,000 employees across the country were left without a job.

The hhgregg bankruptcy is unique in that it represents the total collapse of what was once a retail powerhouse, whereas other companies have managed to find buyers and stay afloat, albeit with massive cuts and restructuring.

State Farm to Close 11 Offices, More than 4,000 Face Job Loss, Displacement

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is suffering from an altogether different technological threat: electronics-based impaired driving.

The insurer is undergoing massive cuts across the country as a result of more auto insurance claims, spurred on by distracted drivers paying more attention to their texts than the wheel.

With State Farm closing offices across the country from 2018 to 2021, around 4,200 workers will be without a job.

The Limited Is Closing All Stores, Slashing 4,000 Jobs 

L Brands Inc (NYSE:LB), owner of women’s apparel chain The Limited, shut down all of its 250 stores across the U.S. and slashing 4,000 jobs. The company’s online presence will remain.

This marks another example of a massive retailer looking to cut logistics costs and instead shift its focus towards online, hoping to curb the loss of revenue by staking a claim in the e-commerce market.

Wet Seal to Close All of its 171 Stores; About 3,000 Layoffs Expected

Wet Seal Inc is another retailer falling on tough times in 2017.

The Wet Seal closing will encompass the remaining 171 stores after it a had closed two-thirds of its locations and laid off 3,700 workers two years ago as it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The company is now defunct, with 3,000 workers without jobs.

Lowe’s Cos. to Lay Off 2,400 Workers as it Loses to Home Improvement Competitor Home Depot

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) found itself having to cut 2,400 workers as it struggles to keep up with the leader in the market, Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD). While the company has made some inroads towards recovery since the housing collapse, the Lowe’s layoffs demonstrate that it still has challenges to overcome.

Hershey Lays Off 2,700 as a Part of 2017 Restructuring Program

Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY) is finding that the candy business is also changing beneath its feet. The company is looking to reconfigure its strategy, hoping to target Americans who have begun to shift towards healthier snacks.

The Hershey job cuts amount to about 2,700.

HP Enterprise to Lay Off 5,000

HP Inc (NYSE:HPQ) represents a company from another industry under threat by an entirely different type of technology.

The HP layoffs come as a result of the massive shift towards cloud computing has left HP in the dust compared to more innovative tech companies. One of the largest mass U.S. IT layoffs in 2017, the 5,000 cuts coming out of HP amount to about 10% of the company’s total staff.

Eli Lilly to Cut 2,000 U.S. Jobs in 2017

Eli Lilly and Co (NYSE:LLY) will be shedding 2,000 jobs in the U.S. as it seeks to save about $500.0 million annually.

The company is hoping that its focus on developing new medicines will help justify the cuts and return the company into the black.

The Eli Lily U.S. job cuts come in addition to another roughly 1,500 abroad.



Eli Lilly to eliminate 3,500 jobs globally,” USA Today, September 7, 2017.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Is Said to Plan About 5,000 Job Cuts,” Bloomberg, September 21, 2017.

Hershey restructuring could cut 15 percent of workforce,” Chicago Tribune, March 1, 2017.

JCPenney to close 138 stores, lay off 5,000 workers,” United Press International, March 18, 2017.

Wet Seal is reportedly closing all its stores,” USA Today, January 27, 2017.

Macy’s is closing 68 stores, cutting 10,000 jobs,” CNN, January 4, 2017.

The Limited is closing all of its 250 stores,” The Washington Post, January 6, 2017.

12 Companies Laying Off the Most Workers in 2017,” 24/7 Wall St, August 24, 2017.