In what may be good news for Friday's employment report, layoff announcements slowed in August to 51,114 from July's 66,414. These data are not seasonally adjusted which clouds month-to-month assessments which are especially sensitive to seasonal change. But a look at year-on-year rates of change shows a slower rate of deterioration this month, to 47% against August 2010's level of 34,768 from 59% against July 2010's 41,676.
The report makes special note that announcements of government layoffs, centered in the military, are the heaviest of any sector this month. Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm that compiles the report, warns that federal layoffs, tied to the need to lower the deficit, are likely to remain heavy this year and through the next several years.