Report: Pharma cuts 6,943 jobs in May

Outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports that pharmaceutical layoffs climbed to 34,157 in May, up from 27,214 in April--an increase of 6,943. That's also a major bump from March, when drug companies cut just 308 spots. So far in 2010, pharma has the second-highest layoff total of all industries, trailing only the government/non-profit sector.

May Job Cuts by Industry

Industry 2010 2009
Government/Non-Profit   16,697   93,470 
Pharmaceutical 6,943 34,157
Transportation 3,262 10,095
Financial 2,363 9,431
Entertainment/Leisure 2,271 5,551

Top Five Industries, Year to Date

Industry 2010 2009
Government/Non-Profit   93,470   82,864
Pharmaceutical 34,157 51,034 
Retail 21,875 82,132
Telecommunications 15,257 20,046
Health Care/Products 12,201 23,790

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas

Though Pharma is still one of the pack leaders in layoffs, there is a silver lining. The May 2010 layoff total is 16,875 jobs lower than this time last year, when the industry had already chopped 51,034 positions. And pharma announced hiring plans totaling 1,230 in the last month.

Overall, the pace of downsizing was virtually unchanged in May, as employers announced plans to cut 38,810 jobs from their payrolls during the month, according to the announcement. "Announced job cuts have, for all intents and purposes, returned to pre-recession levels.  What makes the low job-cut totals we have seen this spring particularly remarkable is that we still have not reached what is the slowest downsizing period of the year, which typically occurs during the summer months," says John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

- here's the release

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