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Planned job cuts surge in April

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Planned job cuts surge in April

61,582 in cuts largest since May 2012.

Falling oil prices contributed to a 68% surge in job cuts last month, as US-based employers announced workforce reductions totaling 61,582 in April, up from 36,594 in March, according to the latest report on monthly layoffs released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The April total was 53% higher than the same month a year ago, when 40,298 planned job cuts were recorded. It represents the highest monthly total since May 2012 (61,887) and the highest April total since 2009 (132,590).

Most of the oil-related layoffs have occurred in the energy sector.

Year to date, employers have announced 201,796 planned job cuts, which marks a 25% increase from the 161,639 layoffs tracked in the first four months of 2014. This is the largest four-month total since 2010.

Driving the increased pace of job cutting in April and for the year is the dramatic decline in oil prices, which is forcing producers and suppliers to cut production. Of the 61,582 job cut announced last month, 20,675 or 34% were directly attributed to oil prices.

For the year, oil prices were blamed for 68,285 job cuts, or about 34% of the 201,796 planned layoffs announced between January 1 and April 30.

“Schlumberger, Baker Hughes and Halliburton have all announced multiple rounds of job cuts in recent months, including April. The largest job cut of the month came from Schlumberger, which announced that it will shed 11,000 workers, in addition to the 9,000 laid off in January,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

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