U.S. Layoffs in January 2018 Rose 38% to 44,653; Retail Industry Affected Most

U.S. Layoffs January 2018

The U.S. layoffs in 2018’s first month totaled 44,653, 37.7% more than December’s 32,423, according to a report released by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. The retail industry led the layoff list with 15,378 job cuts reported for January 2018, showing that the U.S. “retail apocalypse” is still going strong. Texas led in U.S. layoffs by state with 8,951 job cuts announced last month. Even though the January 2018 layoffs were higher compared to that of the prior month, they were 2.8% lower than January 2017’s 45,934 job cuts.

U.S. Layoffs in January 2018: Top Five Industries

Industry January 2018 January 2017
Retail 15,378 22,491
Consumer 7,158 316
Health Care/Products 6,531 2,250
Services 3,212 1,691
Transportation 1,472 328

Layoffs By Industry

Industry Total Layoffs
Aerospace/Defense 295
Automotive 703
Chemical 65
Commodities 153
Computer 756
Construction 69
Consumer Products 7,158
Education 135
Electronics 571
Energy 1,129
Entertainment/Leisure 440
Financial 637
Food 1,286
Government 328
Health Care/Products 6,531
Industrial Goods 964
Insurance 428
Media 855
Non-Profit 36
Pharmaceutical 976
Real Estate 55
Retail 15,378
Services 3,212
Telecommunications 951
Transportation 1,472
Utility 70
TOTAL 44,653

“Retail, Consumer Products, and Services are all sectors ripe for automation,” said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. “This may spell a loss of jobs in the short term, but could create better, higher-paying jobs going forward.”

U.S. Layoffs in January 2018: Top Five Locations

State Total Layoffs
Texas 8,951
Ohio 7,215
California 6,579
New York 2,811
Pennsylvania 2,350

Layoffs by Region and States

East Total Layoffs
New York 2,811
Pennsylvania 2,350
Massachusetts 972
Connecticut 601
Rhode Island 477
Maryland 378
New Jersey 102
TOTAL 7,691
Midwest Total Layoffs
Ohio 7,215
Missouri 1,152
Illinois 1,072
Indiana 969
Michigan 828
Wisconsin 676
Iowa 382
Minnesota 331
Nebraska 228
Kansas 161
TOTAL 13,014
West Total Layoffs
Texas 8,951
California 6,579
Arizona 644
Alaska 592
Washington 515
Oklahoma 246
Oregon 208
Colorado 197
Idaho 135
Nevada 100
New Mexico 12
TOTAL 18,179
South Total Layoffs
Florida 1,247
Arkansas 1,058
N. Carolina 670
Georgia 590
Virginia 450
Alabama 405
S. Carolina 357
Kentucky 328
Tennessee 294
Louisiana 270
Mississippi 100
TOTAL 5,769


Retail Industry Downfall to Continue in 2018

A shift of consumers toward online shopping is the main reason for the retail apocalypse in 2018, as well as the previous year. Retail store closures in 2017 led to the total of 66,500 job cuts. According to the December job report from the U.S. Department of Labor, general merchandise stores had a maximum number of job cuts, impacting about 90,300 employees. Clothing and drug stores lost 28,600 and 18,400 jobs, respectively.


December is usually the month with the greatest amount of shopping and discounts, as well as the most active for hiring. However, December 2017 actually added the lowest number of jobs, with 55% fewer positions reported compared to the same period in prior years.

Some top retailers like Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) are raising hourly wages to find the workers they need. Many states are also increasing their minimum wages, which is good for workers, but not for low-budget retailers. Automation and apps that help shoppers find items in stores are convenient for customers but are costing many jobs in the retail sector.

In 2017, about 7,000 stores closings were announced. According to commercial real estate broker Cushman & Wakefield’s forecast, the retail store closures in 2018 is expected to cross 12,000 locations and see another 25 major retailers file for bankruptcy. Some of the major chains like Gap Inc (NYSE:GSP), The Gymboree Corp, and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA) have already planned to shut a combined over 3,600 stores this year.

Compared to the highest store closings recorded last year, even higher stores closing is expected in 2018 which will contribute toward retail layoffs in 2018.



2018 January Job Cuts Report: Cuts Jump 38 Percent; Retail, Consumer Leads,” Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., last accessed February 17, 2018.

Jobs everywhere! Except at stores,” CNN, January 5, 2018.

Retail Apocalypse: 12,000 Store Closings Expected In 2018, Following 9,000 In 2017,Technocracy News & Trends, January 2, 2018.


Categories: Job Cuts, News