Even though the February U.S. employment report was stronger than expected – a gain of 311,000 jobs – the unemployment rate rose to a higher-than-forecast 3.6%, as the first part of the new year saw certain job sectors experience more layoffs than other areas.
To determine the industries laying off the most workers, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on layoffs and discharges from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Program. Industries were ranked based on the number of layoffs and discharges in January 2023 as a percentage of all employees in the industry. Data on quits and hires also came from JOLTS. Average annual wage is based on average weekly wage estimates for January 2023 from the BLS Current Employment Statistics program. All data is seasonally adjusted.
Companies in the areas of housing – construction and real estate and rental and leasing – were among the five hardest-hit areas for layoffs in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The housing sector has been slammed by rising mortgage rates that surged to 20-year highs in 2022. There is no letup so far in 2023. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage climbed for its sixth straight week ending March 9 to an average of 6.73%. (Also see, cities that will add the most jobs by 2060, according to economists.)
Leisure and hospitality and food services are among the top-10 sectors laying off workers. These sectors, however, were also the two with the highest hiring rate, at above 7%, speaking to the employment churn in those industries. (These are the 18 worst paying jobs for women.)
The finance and insurance group is well down the list in 17th position, with just 0.3% layoff and discharge rate, but that may change. The banking sector experienced a jolt earlier in March with the failure of two financial institutions, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, and job losses and further upheaval is likely.