U.S. Layoffs Are Still Climbing - Latest Numbers Here

Today's jobs report showed the U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs last month - but U.S. layoffs are still on the rise...

The number of pink slips passed out in June rose by near double-digit percentage points from May.

u.s. layoffsEmployers announced plans to reduce headcount by 44,842 workers (10%) last month, according to global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That hefty figure pushed the mid-year tally to its highest level since 2010. It also marked the fifth year-over-year first-half job-cut increase.

Job cuts in June were 9.3% higher month over month and 43% higher year over year.

Year to date, employers have slashed 287,672 jobs, up 17% from 2014. That figure represents the highest total since 297,677 people were sent to the unemployment line in the first half of 2010.

The steep plunge in oil prices, and the ripple effects felt throughout the overall economy, was blamed for 2015's first-half job-cut surge. Plummeting oil prices were responsible for 69,582 jobs cuts over the January through June period. "Restructuring" led the way with 86,978 workforce reductions.

The energy sector has indeed felt the brunt of the layoff pain so far this year. Some 60,500 jobs in the industry were whittled away between January and June. At the same point a year ago, the energy sector had announced just 3,908 job cuts.

The retail space also took it on the chin, with 45,230 announced layoffs. That's a whopping 68% year-over-year increase.

"Retailers should be enjoying the benefits of falling oil prices, as consumers have the money they are saving at the gas pump to spend elsewhere," John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a statement. "However, it appears that consumers were hording that cash, at least through the first half of the year. The most recent data suggests that consumers are finally starting to loosen up the purse strings."

Here's a look at a dozen of the most notable U.S. layoffs announced last month.

U.S. Layoffs in June 2015

HSBC Holdings Plc. (NYSE ADR: HSBC) announced on June 9 it would slash nearly one in five jobs and shrink its investment bank by one-third to combat sluggish growth across its expansive empire. In the bank's second big overhaul since the 2008 financial crisis, HSBC will accelerate plans to shed unprofitable units and cut a staggering 50,000 jobs.

General Mills Inc. (NYSE: GIS) reported on June 25 it expects to cut 675 to 725 jobs as it wrestles with sluggish sales. Like other packaged food makers, such as Kellogg Co. (NYSE: K) and Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE: CPB), General Mills has slashed costs to offset slowing sales growth. Net sales rose barely 1% last year, and the Minneapolis-based company expects core sales to grow at a "low single-digit rate" this year.

Hershey Co. (NYSE: HSY) said on June 19 it is cutting 300 jobs and planning other cost cuts amid a sales slowdown in China. The Pennsylvania-based candy giant said it expects to record about $65 million to $75 million in pre-tax savings through the moves, which it dubbed a "productivity initiative." Hershey didn't specify where the job cuts would occur, but said they wouldn't affect its manufacturing business.

GlaxoSmithKline Plc. (NYSE ADR: GSK) said on June 17 it will lay off 350 employees from its two facilities in Parsippany, N.J., by the end of 2015. The layoffs are the result of a joint venture by GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis AG (NYSE ADR: NVS). The joint venture is aimed at consolidating the companies' consumer healthcare businesses.

Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) announced on June 15 it will close 175 stores in North America and lay off 250 employees. The company said the layoffs will mainly affect employees at its headquarters in San Francisco and New York. As of January, Gap employed about 141,000 people globally, according to financial filings.

News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA), Dow Jones & Co. subsidiary and publisher of The Wall Street Journal, reported on June 18 it expects to cut more than 100 jobs. Among reasons cited for the layoffs, Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker noted the rapid spread of free news and content.

Zoetis Inc. (NYSE: ZTS), spun off from Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) in 2013, will lay off 165 workers from its global headquarters in Florham Park, N.J., by the end of 2016. The layoffs, announced June 17, are part of a restructuring that will lay off between 2,000 to 2,500 employees worldwide by early 2017.

Anthem Inc. (NYSE: ANTM) announced on June 29 it will lay off 57 workers in Louisville, Ky., where the Indianapolis-based insurer operates Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. "Anthem constantly reviews its workforce to serve members efficiently and effectively, while keeping its products affordable," the company said.

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Johnson Controls Inc. (NYSE: JCI) reported on June 10 it is laying off 310 employees at five New Jersey locations. The multibillion-dollar Milwaukee-based global company, which sells industrial products, said it's considering shifting its focus to its other divisions, such as its air-conditioning operations, and breaking away from manufacturing interior car parts.

Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU) announced on June 9 it plans to cut 250 corporate and regional employees and close two offices. The reductions are projected to save the coal mining company up to $45 million annually.

PetSmart Inc. (Nasdaq: PETM) confirmed on June 15 it is laying off 15% of its staff at its Phoenix headquarters. This is the second round of layoffs there in less than a year. Last September, PetSmart laid off 176 employees in "support group and field leadership positions." In December, a consortium led by BC Partners announced the acquisition of PetSmart. The company employs some 53,000 people at more than 1,400 stores in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) reported on June 16 it laid off 51 Virginia state employees, cutting ties with the last of the employees who chose to stick with the state - but be managed by Northrop Grumman - when Virginia signed a multibilliondollar IT contract with the company in 2006. Some 500 employees were affected by that deal, with about half moving to Northrop Grumman and half remaining Virginia employees in name, though their salaries and benefits were reimbursed by the company.

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