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CEO Turnover Rises, Supply Chain Pressures Ease, Jobless Rates Hold Steady in Most States

CEO Turnover Rises, Supply Chain Pressures Ease, Jobless Rates Hold Steady in Most States

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CEO Turnover Rises

CEO departures at U.S. companies totaled 147 in April, rising 6% from the prior month and increasing 20% from a year earlier as numerous industries dealt with a volatile economy, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The firm said April’s total was the highest for that month since Challenger began tracking CEO exits in 2002, following 20-year highs also hit this year for February and March. Challenger reported that 565 CEOs left their posts in this year’s January-April period, up 9% from a year earlier and the highest tally on record for the first four months.

“Companies have a lot to consider as we head to the second half of the year, as recession and inflation concerns continue,” Senior Vice President Andrew Challenger said in a statement May 18, noting many industries are laying off workers and exploring the use of new technologies including artificial intelligence. “This environment is conducive to new leadership.”

The outplacement firm said the government-nonprofit category led April CEO turnovers with 39 and brought its four-month total to 124, rising 5% from the same time in 2022. Next came healthcare with 24 for the month and 45 for January-April, just below the 46 a year earlier, the firm said.

Technology, which accounts for the most worker layoffs so far in 2023, had the third-most CEO exits in April at 20, bringing its four-month total to 70, up 49% from a year earlier. Most companies across industries are not giving reasons for CEO departures, though Challenger said there are often multiple factors at play including economic headwinds.

Among the latest big C-suite changes, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said Friday he plans to resign from the financial service giant’s top post within the next year. On the same day, restaurant chain TGI Friday’s announced that Ray Blanchette has stepped down as CEO. Twitter’s billionaire owner Elon Musk this month appointed NBCUniversal executive Linda Yaccarino to replace himself as chief executive.

Supply Chain Pressures Ease

Indicators of pressure on U.S. supply chains fell in April to their lowest since March 2021, indicating progress in the fight against inflation amid slowing consumer demand, according to the latest tracking by research firm Oxford Economics.

The firm tracks stress on supply systems based on factors including cargo volumes, production and distribution logjams, and pricing for materials and labor. All of these factors can influence demand for industrial real estate tied to manufacturing, storage and other distribution logistics.

Oxford Economics researchers said transportation components in its tracking are moving closer to pre-pandemic levels, and port container volumes are now down 30% from year-earlier levels. “Container shipping rates have resumed declines, and we expect to see a retreat in volumes as the economy weakens, which will add downward pressure on shipping costs,” Oxford researchers said in a May 18 report.

Oxford Economics expects the strong U.S. dollar to take further pressure off domestic supply chains “by tempering demand for manufactured goods.”

Supply chain pressures created by the pandemic have been easing for the past year, recently creating a downside for some companies involved in logistics operations. The Commerce Department reported Friday that U.S. revenues for transportation and warehousing services totaled $328.8 billion in this year’s first quarter, up 0.8% from a year earlier but a drop of 7.7% from the fourth quarter of 2022.

Jobless Rates Hold Steady in Most States

April unemployment rates were essentially unchanged from a month earlier in 36 states and changed little from a year earlier in 24 states, the Labor Department reported Friday.

State numbers generally reflect national trends showing the U.S. jobless rate holding steady over the past several months, remaining at a 50-year low of 3.4% in April amid a resilient though slowing hiring climate.

South Dakota had the nation’s lowest April unemployment rate at 1.9%, followed by Nebraska’s 2%, with New Hampshire and North Dakota each at 2.1%. Nevada had the highest jobless rate at 5.4%, with the District of Columbia at 5% and California at 4.5%. 

Compared with a year earlier, 16 states posted jobless rate decreases, 10 states had increases, and there was little change statistically in 24 states and the District of Columbia. April’s non-farm payroll employment was essentially unchanged in 44 states, increased in five states and declined in one state.

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