Decline In Awkward Conversations Due To Layoffs Offset By Increase In Awkward Conversations Due To Job Interviews

Only a million-and-a-half people got shit-canned in January. Luckily for them, there are more than twice as many job openings right now.
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Only a million-and-a-half people got shit-canned in January. Luckily for them, there are more than twice as many job openings right now.

There were 1.51 million people let go in the month, down from 1.57 million in December and the least in data going back 12 years, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The number of positions waiting to be filled climbed by 81,000 to 3.69 million after slumping by 177,000 in December….

“The fact that the firings are abating shows just how tight the labor-force components are for business,” said Russell Price, a senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit and the top-ranked payroll forecaster in the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “Businesses are becoming increasingly confident in the economic outlook.”

So if you've recentlyfound yourself on the wrong side of a bank's cost-cutting program, head on down to the mall and start looking for help-wanted signs.

Retail sector job openings increased by 34,000 in January after declining the prior month. Job openings in manufacturing and construction rose modestly. There were also a small increase in government job openings.

Vacancies declined in education and health services, and leisure and hospitality.

Job Openings Increase as U.S. Labor Market Improves [Bloomberg]
U.S. job openings rise in January on retail bounce bank [Reuters]
Employers Report Positive Hiring Plans [WSJ Real Time Economics blog]

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Layoffs Watch '12: Barclays

Cuts are said to have gone down with more a-comin'. Barclays PLC is cutting about 50 employees from its equities business, the latest effort by the British bank to reduce costs at its investment-banking arm. A week ago, the U.K. lender announced internally that about 10% of the jobs at its equities business across Europe, Africa and the Middle East would be lost, a person familiar with the matter said Friday. During the first half of the year, Barclays's equities and prime services business, which employs about 500 people, saw revenue fall 12% on the year to £973 million ($1.57 billion). The business has suffered as market volumes have dried up in recent quarters...The work-force reduction could be a taste of things to come for Barclays's investment bank. At the beginning of 2009, former Barclays Chief Executive Bob Diamond hired more than 400 bankers, mainly in equities and research, as part of a drive to turn the predominately debt-focused bank into a multi-asset powerhouse. Following Mr. Diamond's departure in the wake of a rate-fixing probe, new CEO Antony Jenkins has started a review of the bank's businesses to assess their profitability and whether and how they affect the lender's reputation. This, combined with tougher regulatory requirements, is expected to result in Barclays shrinking its investment bank, analysts say. Barclays To Cut 50 Equities Jobs [WSJ]