U.S. layoffs reach five-year high

Nov. 5, 2008 at 1:50 PM

NEW YORK, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Job cuts in the United States reached a five-year high in October, a private research group said Wednesday.

Downsizing has eliminated 875,974 jobs for the year, 14 percent higher than the total announced job cuts for 2007, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-headquartered outplacement consultancy, said.

In October, job cuts reached 112,884, a 19 percent increase over September and 79 percent higher than October 2007.

In layoff announcements, the financial sector topped the list with 17,949, followed by the automobile industry, which announced 15,692. In 2008, these sectors have announced a total of 239,760 layoffs, 27 percent of all layoff announcements, the report said.

However, "a year ago, job cuts were concentrated in the financial sector and home-building industries," Chief Executive Officer John Challenger said.

"Job cuts are now rising across the board," he said. "In fact, October represented the biggest job-cut month of the year for several industries, including industrial goods manufacturing, consumer products, pharmaceutical, food and electronics."

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