CHICAGO, May 4 (UPI) -- Employers planned to cut payrolls at a slower pace in April, the lowest level so far this year, a Chicago outplacement firm reported Wednesday.
Planned layoffs of 36,490 employees was 12 percent less than the 41,528 job cuts announced in March, the latest Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. report on planned layoff indicated.
The April layoff total was down 5 percent from April 2010 and was the lowest monthly total of this year, the report said.
Year-to-date, employers announced 167,239 job cuts, 24 percent fewer than the 219,509 layoffs by the same point last year, Challenger, Gray & Christmas said.
Hiring is on the rise as well, the report indicated. So far this year, employers announced plans to add 172,590 new workers, an increase of 149 percent over same period in 2010.
"The slow pace of downsizing suggests employers remain optimistic about business conditions going forward, despite higher energy costs, government deficits and slipping confidence among consumers." Challenger Gray & Christmas Chief Executive Officer John A. Challenger said. "The optimism is evident not only in the lower job-cut figures, but also in announced hiring plans, which have outpaced layoffs through April."
Payroll data compiled by Automatic Data Processing indicated employment in the U.S. private sector grew by 179,000 in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, MarketWatch.com reported. The figure was a less than March's increase of 201,000.