Companies are cutting salaries but holding back on layoffs

More good news on the job front. The Labor Department announced today that the number of people filing for unemployment benefits fell, just slightly, but it's the first time that has happened in 20 weeks.

On a related note, employment consulting firm Challenger Grey & Christmas (CGG) reported that while most companies are still trying to cut costs, they're using salary reductions or freezes instead of layoffs to do it. CGG released the results from its survey on its blog yesterday (scroll down to June 2).

On the downside, 52% of the human-resources execs it surveyed last month had started salary cuts or freezes, up from 27% who did so in January. On the upside, the percentage of employers cutting jobs fell from 56% in January to 43% in the new survey. But according to CGG CEO John Challenger, company execs are not avoiding layoffs out of the goodness of their hearts. "Many have simply cut to the bone [or are reluctant to enact widespread layoffs, knowing that a recovery will mean recruiting and training all new workers. . .It's a lot easier to re-hire and re-train workers when the economy improves."

That's good news for you still with jobs -- your bosses want to hold onto you as long as they can and keep your morale up. That way, you're less likely to look for another job when the recession ends. This is also good news for you job-seekers, says Challenger, because the hiring "could be fast and furious" when the economy heads upward.

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