Saturday, January 20, 2018
Business

Mass layoffs in 2016 by Tampa Bay firms drop sharply after years of heavy job cuts

TAMPA — Macy's decision this week to close its University Square Mall store in Tampa and let go of 80 employees at the Fowler Avenue store triggered the first state "mass layoff" notice of 2017 for this metro area. Public notice of larger-scale layoffs are required under the WARN or Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification rules.

If there's any silver lining to spotlighting big job cuts, the pace and volume of such layoffs may be easing in the Tampa Bay market after several years of high and consistent job losses reported under the WARN notices.

Between 2012 and 2015, WARN job layoff notices in Tampa Bay were surprisingly similar, ranging from a low of 2,371 in 2014 to a high of 2,650 in 2013, according to Florida WARN data.

But in 2016, regional layoffs under the WARN notice fell sharply to 1,681. That's a 34 percent decrease in from reported layoffs in 2015 and the first significant drop in mass area layoffs in the past five years.

A one-year decline does not guarantee a new era of lower job cuts. But it may be a hopeful sign of a workplace more interested in hiring than large-scale firing.

In 2016, the biggest reported job cuts under WARN rules was announced by Ohio-based Convergys, which said it would cut 375 jobs at one of its call center programs operating on E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. In 2015, the biggest WARN cuts by far were by Tampa International Airport concessionaire HMS Host. In 2014 it was the closing of an Express Scripts facility in Tampa and the loss of 422 jobs. In 2013, Chase Mortgage cut 435 jobs in Tampa, and in 2012, 608 agricultural jobs were listed as ending at Trapnell Road Farm in Plant City.

In some cases, workers targeted by WARN notices for cuts are re-employed in other positions. Those hires are not made public.

Contact Robert Trigaux at [email protected] Follow @venturetampabay.

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