Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Job Cuts, Seen in Proportion

It is hard to avoid the subject of layoffs in tonight’s news, with the biggest focus on 4,000 job cuts at American Express and 2,400 at eBay and PayPal. There are rumors of similar cuts at AOL and Clear Channel. It is too soon to add up the oil extraction job cuts that are on the way, but those surely add up to more than 20,000. This is a lot of job losses to consider all at once, but it is important to keep the numbers in perspective. Even these totals are only enough to cancel out two days of job creation in the U.S. economy. It is a setback, but not enough to worry about in the context of the U.S. labor market. If people are fearful, it is because five years ago we heard reports of cuts like this week after week. But tonight’s announcements are the exception, drawing so much attention just because it is now so rare to have this many job cuts in one week.