(Wayne Duggan) With the addition of 200,000 private sector jobs in March, the U.S. job market is at its strongest point since the financial crisis.
The U.S. oil industry has slammed to a screeching halt in the wake of 2014’s crude oil price collapse. Oil producers are shutting down exploration and production and oilfield services stocks are cutting every expense they can afford. Top companies are boarding up the windows and trying to weather the storm.
Jobs in oil are particularly high-paying jobs, and SLB has been forced to make the difficult decision to cut about 26 percent of its massive workforce.
In January, SLB announced that it plans to cut another 10,000 jobs in addition to the 24,000 jobs it has already cut since November 2014.
Of course, SLB is not alone. Oil industry layoffs during the current downturn have reportedly now eclipsed 250,000.
Even with all the expenses SLB has avoided with staff cuts, the world’s largest oilfield services company still couldn’t avoid a $1 billion loss in Q4 of 2015.
If there’s any silver lining to all of the U.S. oil industry layoffs, there are more jobs available today outside the energy sector for laid off workers than there have been in many years.
HP Inc (HPQ)
The latest attempt to turnaround business at Hewlett Packard involved the split of the company intoHewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and HP Inc (HPQ) in late 2015. HPE and HPQ are hoping that the new structure finally means an end to the string of layoffs at Hewlett Packard in recent years. The company fired 24,600 workers back in 2011 and 29,000 more workers in 2012. Finally, when Hewlett Packard made the decision to split into two companies (HPE for enterprise and software and HPQ for PC and printer manufacturing), the company cut another 30,000 jobs last year.
The issue with Hewlett Packard was never the company’s technology solutions business; it was the shrinking PC and printer businesses. In the most recent quarter, HPQ again posted negative year-over-year earnings growth, and it’s hard to see a catalyst for the re-emergence of the PC and printer businesses in the long-run.
In the case of BA, shareholders at least have reason to believe that Boeing’s layoffs could directly produce a near-term boost to its share price. BA recently announced a plan to cut 4,000 jobs by June 2016 in an effort to raise margins and combat market pricing pressures.
According to Deutsche Bank analyst Miles Walton, BA job cuts almost always result in a good year for shareholders. Since its McDonnell Douglass merger, BA’s stock has outperformed the S&P 500 in eight of the nine years the company has issued layoffs. In the nine years BA has added employees, the stock has lagged the market more than half the time.
BA is going to have to go on quite a run to outperform the S&P this year. The stock is already down about 12% year-to-date.