Technology layoffs soared in the month of August, with job cuts rising by roughly three times the level of the previous month for the computer and telecom industries, according to a report released Thursday by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
The telecom industry, meanwhile, posted 2,620 job cuts in August, up from 803 the previous month, according to the report.
Cisco’s planned reduction of 4,000 positions contributes to a significant portion of the technology layoffs announced in August, but companies including Symantec, Salesforce, Level 3 Communications and others say they are paring their staff as well.
It’s important to note, however, that the report deals only with announced layoffs. The totals could be even higher because some companies, such as IBM, tend to stay mum about such moves. IBM’s recent layoffs, for example, came to light from documents it filed with the State of California.
In a previous report, Challenger, Gray & Christmas attributed the rise in layoffs to shifting trends within the tech industry, forcing companies to realign their priorities and work forces. These trends “are making it necessary for companies to alter business strategies, streamline operations and restructure their organizations,” said John Challenger, CEO of the outplacement firm.
Bigger Bite for IT Job Cuts Last Year
Although the August IT job cuts look horrific when compared with the previous month, the situation is actually improving when compared with the first eight months of the year, or with the same period last year.
In the computer industry, the number of jobs eliminated is down 30 percent to 26,180 year to date, compared with the same period a year ago.
Telecom industry job cuts have also substantially lessened this year compared to last year, according to the report. To date, 8,637 telecom jobs have gone away, compared with 18,987 jobs during the same eight month period last year.
The monthly reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics continue to show steady gains in computer-related jobs – particularly in consulting. And helping to offset layoff news are reports of companies hiring, such as Red Hat, Seagate and Citrix.