In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, economies worldwide experienced severe disruption, with the United States being no exception. As financial rescue interventions recede, the US grapples with persistent inflation and uncertainties about an impending downturn due to central banks’ solution to combat inflation: higher interest rates.
Throughout 2022, companies reduced spending and new hires, proceeding with caution. Nationwide, over 1.5 million people were laid off or fired in July 2023, mirroring the previous month’s figures but marking a nearly 4% increase from the same period last year.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics compiled by Stacker was used to rank major industries by their number of layoffs in July 2023. The analysis employed seasonally adjusted data, which remains preliminary at this stage and may be subject to revision.
Health Care and Social Assistance
The health care and social assistance sector reported 126,000 layoffs in July 2023, a decrease of 23,000 from the previous month and 14,000 less than in July 2022. Despite this decrease, the sector faces challenges as an aging population demands more services. The pandemic has exhausted healthcare workers and accelerated the shift from in-hospital care to home care for elderly patients. The industry is now at a critical point, struggling to attract enough new nurses to care for Americans.
The retail trade sector reported 161,000 layoffs in July 2023, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous month but an increase of 22,000 compared to July 2022. The retail trade sector, one of the country’s largest employers, has experienced challenging working conditions throughout the pandemic. Major retailers like Walmart and Nordstrom have announced workforce reductions this year.
Accommodation and Food Services
The accommodation and food services sector reported 167,000 layoffs in July 2023, an increase of 35,000 from the previous month and 24,000 compared to July 2022. Despite initial struggles during the pandemic, the sector has rebounded as people resume their normal habits. However, record inflation has tempered some of that recovery, leaving less disposable income for dining out or travel.
The construction sector reported 171,000 layoffs in July 2023, an increase of 49,000 from the previous month and 8,000 compared to July 2022. The rapid increase in interest rates to curb inflation has slowed the real estate market, subsequently affecting home construction.
Professional and Business Services
The professional and business services sector reported the highest number of layoffs, with 362,000 in July 2023, a decrease of 61,000 from the previous month but an increase of 21,000 compared to July 2022. Despite high demand and job vacancies in recent years, the sector is now facing potential difficulties due to interest rate hikes and bank failures.
In summary, despite efforts to revive the economy in the wake of the pandemic, several industries are still grappling with high layoff rates. The situation is being closely monitored, and further updates will be provided as more data becomes available.