CHICAGO, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- U.S. companies announced 42,759 layoffs in October, a sharp drop from September, which hit a 28-month high, a private consulting firm said Wednesday.
Announced layoffs dropped 63 percent from September to October. Meanwhile, in October, "planned hiring announcements approached 160,000, as several employers revealed their seasonal employment strategies," Challenger, Gray & Christmas said.
By the end of October, job layoff totals for the year reached 521,823, which is 16 percent more than was announced in the first 10 months of 2010.
However, the company said reassuringly, "The 2011 total ... remains well below recession levels. At this point in 2009, planned layoffs totaled 1,192,587."
For 2011, the largest layoff totals so far have come from the government, with 162,373 layoffs. Second on the list is the financial sector with 54,510 job layoffs announced this year.
But the numbers could get worse soon, Chief Executive Officer John Challenger said in a statement.
"Job cuts in government and financial services dropped significantly last month, but the two sectors are not out of the woods, by any means. Most of the government cuts this year were at the state level. We have yet to see the full impact of mandated federal spending cuts," he said.
"Anticipated cuts at the U.S. Post Office alone could result in more than 200,000 job cuts," Challenger said.