There was a dismal period during the recession and the slow recovery that followed when employers announced one big layoff after the next.
Now, such announcements have become a rarity, especially in Arizona.
Only five Arizona employers issued public layoff announcements over the first half of 2017 — fewer than one a month — reported outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Meanwhile, hiring announcements in Arizona are on the upswing, according to a separate report.
The five layoff announcements in Arizona over the first half of 2017 involved a total of 814 jobs.
Of these, 500 were at Banner Health, where CEO Peter Fine told the Arizona Republic in May that upper-management jobs were among those trimmed as the hospital giant cuts expenses in the wake of tighter insurance reimbursement policies and other industry pressures.
Despite that reduction, Banner generally has been on an upward hiring trajectory in recent years, climbing from around 29,000 Arizona jobs in 2012 to more than 43,000 earlier this year. Banner is the largest non-government employer in Arizona, according to this year’s listing of largest statewide employers by The Republic .
The second-largest Arizona layoff announcement so far this year cited by Challenger, Gray & Christmas involved 150 reductions at Zenefits, which provides human-resources services in Tempe. The other three consisted of 78 job reductions at SCA Tissue in Flagstaff, 56 at Marriott International in Scottsdale and 30 at La Frontera Arizona in Tucson.
Like Banner Health, Marriott is another large private-sector employer in Arizona, placing 24th on this year’s list.
Nationally, employers announced 227,000 job reductions during the first half, down from nearly 314,000 over the first six months of 2016.
Arizona’s unemployment rate in May, the most recent month for which data are available, stood at 5.1 percent, down from 5.3 percent one year earlier, even though the state added more than 48,000 net new jobs, reported the Office of Economic Opportunity.
The U.S. unemployment rate in May was 4.3 percent, down from 4.7 percent one year earlier.