The UK and US jobs markets are falling in the same way, although the UK is three months behind the US experience.
A survey by US and UK HR professionals groups shows one in three US employers cut jobs in the final quarter of 2008, similar to the proportion of UK employers planning job cuts in the first quarter of 2009.
However, the comparison of Labour Market Outlook surveys conducted in the UK by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and in the US by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggests fewer first-quarter US job cuts – with one in five employers planning to cut jobs.
If the pattern continues, this might suggest that the worst of the current UK jobs cull could be over by Easter, according to the report’s authors.
Both surveys show that the manufacturing sector is shedding staff at a higher rate than the rest of the economy, followed by private sector services. Both surveys also indicate that managers and professionals are being hit relatively hard.
Gerwyn Davies, CIPD public policy adviser, said: “Our comparison of the US and UK studies highlights a marked degree of transatlantic trauma affecting the jobs market. In proportionate terms, the 2.6 million jobs lost in the US economy in 2008 is in line with the CIPD’s expectation that the UK economy will shed at least 600,000 in 2009.
“And judging by the similarity of experience in both countries there is clearly some way to go before the jobs fallout from the recession comes to an end in either country,” he added.
This week, the manufacturing employers’ group EEF found the economic slump in UK manufacturing could result in a further 140,000 job losses this year as output continues to fall.