Pharmacy industry loses 6,000 jobs in September

The pharmaceutical industry shed more than 6,000 jobs nationwide last month, as total layoffs in the sector across the United States reached a high not seen since May, according to new numbers released Wednesday.

The outplacement consultant Challenger, Gray & Christmas said the 6,069 pharmaceutical jobs lost nationwide in September compares with 255 reductions in August.

The pharma sector nationwide has seen 43,334 job losses so far this year. The reductions already total more than for all of 2008, though the average monthly cut of about 4,800 workers is down slightly from a year ago.

Pfizer Inc., which employs nearly 5,000 people at its two Connecticut campuses in Groton and New London, did not respond directly to questions about whether it has reduced staff in the past month.

"We employ approximately 5,000 people in Connecticut and we will continue to maintain a strong presence in the state," the company said in a statement.

Pharma job losses accounted for 16.3 percent of all layoffs across the United States, according to the statistics. Nationwide, more than 37,000 positions were eliminated in all sectors during September, compared with 66,404 U.S. layoffs announced during the same month last year.

According to the report, 626 layoffs occurred in Connecticut-based companies during September.

"The low job-cut numbers we are seeing in almost every sector do not necessarily translate into increased hiring," said John A. Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in a statement. "There is hiring going on in the economy, but it is not enough to make a discernable dent in the number of unemployed."

Only 100 new jobs were planned nationwide in the pharma sector last month.

Layoffs in the pharmaceutical industry were second only to reductions in the government and nonprofit sector during September. Government-related cuts nationwide numbered 11,091 last month and total more than 123,000 so far this year.

Total U.S. job cuts so far this year total about 411,000, compared with more than 1.1 million layoffs announced during the same period last year.

Cost-cutting and restructuring were the top two reasons for layoffs across all sectors so far this year, according to the report.


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