Job cuts on track to be the lowest in 17 years

October 2, 2014, 2:58 PM UTC
Job Seekers Attend Career Fair
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 12: Wendy Larsen (L) speaks to candidates at a job fair on June 12, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. According to the Department of Labor's latest jobs report unemployment is at 6.3%, the lowest since 2008 when massive layoffs swept through the country. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Photo by Scott Olson—Getty Images

The job market is getting better — and not just by the number of jobs added. Employers are also cutting fewer workers.

Monthly job cuts fell to their lowest level in 14 years in September, and 2014 is on track to be the lowest job-cut year since 1997. A total of about 30,500 job cuts were announced last month, 24% less than in August, according to a new report by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray and Christmas.

Weekly unemployment claims also dropped to a new pre-recession low, according to the Labor Department release Thursday. Seasonally-adjusted initial claims were 287,000 for the week through Sept. 27, down almost 10% year-over-year and falling below economists predictions.

That’s all good news, since the economy only gained back the total number of jobs lost in the recession in May. There’s still progress to be made in order to keep up with demand for job creation — not just replace the positions initially lost — as new graduates and others enter the job market for the first time.

Job gains have been on a tear, as well. Nearly 213,000 private-sector jobs were added last month, according to the most recent numbers released by ADP Wednesday. That’s the sixth straight month of private-sector job gains over 200,000.

“Job security is being helped by the fact that corporate profits remain near record highs,” John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a statement. “So, we may see some ebb and flow in the rate of hiring, but employers, at this point, are reluctant to make any over-correction in workforce levels.”

The low number of job cuts is expected to continue through the fourth quarter. The last quarter typically has the fewest job cuts compared to other times of year, which has been the case, on average, over the past five years.

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