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Challenger: Planned layoffs up 10% in June

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Challenger:  Planned layoffs up 10% in June

Highest midyear total in 5 years.

Job cuts increased by about 10% in June, as employers announced plans to reduce payrolls by 44,842 workers during the month. Meanwhile, heavier-than-expected downsizing throughout the first half of 2015 pushed the midyear total to its highest level since 2010, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

June job cuts were 9.3% higher than the 41,034 planned layoffs announced in May. They were 43% higher than June 2014, when job cuts totaled just 31,434. This marks the fifth year-over-year increase in job cuts in the first six months of 2015.

Overall, employers announced 287,672 job cuts during the first half of the year. That was up 17 percent from 2014, when the six-month total was 246,034. The midyear total is the highest since 297,677 job cuts were recorded in the first half of 2010.

The first-half surge was due largely to the decline in oil prices.

The pace of job cutting was virtually unchanged between the first and second quarter of year. The 147,458 job cuts announced between April and the end of June was just 5.0% more than the 140,214 planned layoffs in the first three months of 2015. The second-quarter total was up 18% from a year earlier (124,693).

The first-half surge was due largely to the decline in oil prices, which rippled through the energy and industrial goods sectors. All told, the drop in oil prices was blamed for 69,582 job cuts in the first half of 2015. That is second only to the 86,978 job cuts attributed to “restructuring.”

The energy sector has taken the heaviest hit, cutting its workforce by 60,500 between January and June. Nearly 95% (57,168) of those were due to the drop in oil prices. At this point last year, the energy sector had announced just 3,908 job cuts.

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