January 2024 saw the most layoffs in more than 10 years

TheStreet’s J.D. Durkin brings the latest business headlines from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as markets close for trading Thursday, February 1.

Full Video Transcript Below:

J.D. DURKIN: I’m J.D. Durkin – reporting from the New York Stock Exchange. Here’s what we’re watching on TheStreet today.

Stocks were in the green to close out today’s session. The Dow closed up over 350 points, the Nasdaq closed up 1.3 percent, and the S&P closed 1.2 percent higher. This comes as investors continue to react to the Fed holding interest rates steady while indicating that a March rate cut would be unlikely. Markets are now pricing in a 38 percent chance of a rate cut in March.

Separately, investors are looking ahead to the January jobs report out Friday. Wall Street is expecting the U.S. economy to have added 176,500 jobs last month, with the unemployment rate rising to 3.8 percent.

In other news – we know that layoffs have been top of mind in the business world to start 2024, but now we know just how bad it’s been. According to a new report by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray, and Christmas – layoffs in January increased by 136 percent from the month prior. In total, 82,307 workers were let go by U.S.-based employers in the first month of the year, marking the highest number of January layoffs since 2009.

In addition to questions around interest rates and 2024 being an election year, the report says these layoffs are also driven by “broader economic trends and a strategic shift towards increased automation and AI adoption in various sectors, though in most cases, companies point to cost-cutting as the main driver for layoffs.”

The financial sector saw more layoffs than any other industry with 23,238 workers laid off. That was followed by the tech sector with almost 16,000 layoffs, and the food production industry which had roughly 6,660 workers let go.

When asked why employees were being laid off, restructuring was the number one response given by employers. And if you’re worried about AI coming for your job, keep in mind that artificial intelligence was blamed for less than one percent of the January layoffs.

That’ll do it for your daily briefing. From the New York Stock Exchange, I’m J.D. Durkin with TheStreet.

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