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Announced job cuts highest in more than a year

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Announced job cuts highest in more than a year

Still, overall pace of downsizing has slowed.

Job cuts climbed to the highest level in more than a year, as US-based employers announced plans to reduce payrolls by 52,961 in May, according to the report Thursday from global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

May job cuts were up 31% from 40,298 announced layoffs in April. It was the second consecutive increase in monthly job cuts and the largest one-month total since February 2013, when 55,356 job cuts were recorded.

"We do not expect a second-half surge in downsizing unless there is a sudden and severe shock to the economy.”

Last month’s total was 46% higher than the 36,398 job cuts announced in May 2013.
To date, employers have announced a total of 214,600 planned job cuts in 2014, which is 2.3% fewer than the 219,560 job cuts tracked in the first five months of 2013.

The heaviest downsizing in May occurred in the technology sector, where computer firms announced plans to cut payrolls by 18,799. Hewlett-Packard, which has announced several large-scale workforce reductions in recent years, revealed plans to cut as many 16,000 workers in its ongoing efforts to “reengineer the workforce to be more competitive.”

The May total for the computer industry was the largest since May 2012, when cuts reached 27,754, due primarily to another large job-cut announcement from Hewlett-Packard.

The computer industry now leads all others in year-to-date job cuts, with 29,863. The retail sector trails closely with 25,696 job cuts announced in 2014. Retail job cuts are down slightly from a year ago when these employers announced 32,683 job cuts from January through May.

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