U.S. firms are shying away from cutting staff, with March workforce reductions at an 11-year-low, according to the job-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. According to the company, which tallies U.S. job growth numbers on a month-to-month basis, layoffs in March totaled 64,975, down 26% from February's 87,437 and 25% from 86,396 in March 2005. Layoffs for the first quarter as a whole fell by 11% from the fourth quarter to 255,878. Quarterly layoffs were also down 11% from a year ago. "The labor market is quickly getting to the point where we will see upward pressure on wages, as employers attempt to attract more workers and retain the ones they have," said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Telecom companies, thanks to a host of new mergers, saw the most job losses - 11,047, according to Challenger. Manufacturing companies cut 9,668 jobs, the firm adds. It's worth noting that Challenger's numbers don't cover smaller companies, whose numbers would obviously add to overall U.S. job cuts.
A good way to play this is: Administaff Inc. (ASF)- Revenues advanced 21% in 2005, net income increased 56%, to $30 million ($1.12 a share), from $19 million ($0.72). Revenues per worksite employee per month increased 5.8% [YOY] to $1,083, while operating expenses per worksite employee per month declined 3.2%, to $184. Pretax income from 04 has increased 17%, to 47.7%, Qtrly Earnings Growth [YOY] to 207.90%. Debt to Equity of just 0.19.